I love when customer send pictures of their finished staircase. The barley twisted balusters shown below were added to a stairway of a customer of mine. She really wanted as much barley twist showing as possible. As such, the square bases are short and besides the twist there is no other ornamentation. She needed pin top balusters with a 5/8″ pin to match the existing holes in the handrail. So that is what we produced. She has a website displaying her really fine art work. Check it out: http://sandrahendler.com
Designing the tapered balusters for this job was a process of working from an original image sent by the customer to what we have here. The first image below is the original sent by the home owner.
The first drawing I made was elongated to make them modern code ready. The originals were apparently too short for todays height standard.
In the second iteration, the homeowner asked me to make the balusters pin tops instead of the square top balusters. The top bead was eliminated as well. The baluster shank, though was “barrel” shaped. That is, the main part of the baluster was cylindrical with a short taper near the top.
In the final design, the balusters are strictly tapered to a one inch “pin”. Normally a 1 3/4″ pin top baluster has a 3/4″ pin top. These, however, have a 1″ pin top. The thicker 1″ pin enabled us to use two balusters per tread instead of three balusters per tread. With a ten inch deep tread we were able to maintain a maximum 4 inches between the balusters.
I saw a similar “huge” newel to this one (below) on the internet and thought I would make a computer model of it. I had to guess at the size of the original newel. I modeled this one with a 12″ diameter base tapering to about 8 1/2″ at the top. The original had a cap like this one and also had the handrail attaching below the cap though it could attach to the cap as easily. I like the way the large round stair tread creates a platform for the base of the newel.
This one would have to be built as a hollow octagon or a 12 sided hollow. It simply too huge to glue up as a solid. Being hollow, though, has some advantages. A threaded rod (all-thread) could be inserted through a top plate all the way through the base tread and fastened really securely to the tread. The cap would hide the top of the all-thread and make for a tight and attractive newel. Let me know if you are interested in the HUGE newel.
By the way the balusters are 2 1/4″ at the base and taper to 1″. They compliment the newel very nicely, I think.
These are the lighthouse balusters we occasionally make to go with the lighthouse newel N110. They mimic the shape of the lighthouse newel pretty well and, I think, complete the maritime theme of the newels.
We have made alternating balusters with these and barley twisted every other balusters to make a unique stairway.
You should be able to see the profile similarity between the lighthouse newel and the balusters.
These rope twisted balusters were turned for a local millworks manufacturer. They are simple but nice, I think, for the exterior balcony they will be installed to. They measure 2 1/4″ in width and are only 28″ long (if memory serves me right). The wood species is Spanish Cedar (which holds up quite well outdoors)
This set of stair balusters were made for a customer in New York. They are 2 1/4″ wide at the base and as such are larger than the more common 1 3/4″. In fact, the image below has a standard 1 3/4″ baluster shown on the right side to show the difference. They will alternate on the stairway – rope twist and plain in a two baluster per tread arrangement. The customer will paint these white.
These are stair newel and baluster renderings I made for a customer in GA. We were trying to find a baluster to match the large Pennsylvanian (N108) newel that we make that my customer would like. She wanted something simple but ultimately did not prefer the simple taper ed baluster. She opted for a 1 3/4″ tapered baluster with a square base and a little detail above the base. She was considering painting the handrails balusters and newels black so I made the rendering to reflect her tastes. The model was made in Sketchup and rendered in Twilight. Bothe image are posted below.
Architectural Turnings was contacted to reproduce newels and balusters based on a photograph of an old stairway. I’m not sure where the magazine images were taken but the design is really nice. The craftsmen 100 – 200 years ago were people to admire not to say anything about this fine design. The local contractor specified the diameter of the newels and balusters he desired and we made the best drawings we could based his input and the photos. Some of the detail was not included in the final profile but I think the results were quite good. Click on the images for a larger view:
The first image is a line drawing of our proposed “interpretation” of the magazine image.
The images below are the result of what we did. The balusters and newels were crafted in maple. The newels are 4″ at the squares – the balusters measure 1 3/4″ at the squares. The stairway will use two balusters per retread unlike the photos above.