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Tapered Balusters

Tapered Balusters

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.

tapered original
tapered original

The first drawing I made was elongated to make them modern code ready.  The originals were apparently too short for todays height standard.

square top balusters
square top balusters

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.

tapered balusters 2
tapered balusters 2

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.

tapered balusters
tapered balusters
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Large White Oak Newels

Large White Oak Newels

These large white oak newels were made for a customer in Tennessee.  I had a previous post for this particular job outlining the design process.  See White Oak Reproduction Newel.  The newels are shipping today – May 23 , 2016.  Not shown in this post is the split newels that was also made.  (the split newels will be attached to walls to join the handrail to.  More often than not a simple oval or round rosette is used.)

The newels came out quite nice, I think, and should enhance the beauty of the stairway and home.  They measure 7″ X 44″ and 7″ X 62″ high.  The caps (four of the eight) shown below will fit the Walnut Creek Planing handrail 6710 and will be joined to the handrail fittings on site by the installers.  See installing newel caps for the geometry of how to install newel caps.

Large White Oak Newel
Large White Oak Newel
newel caps
newel caps

Below is a rendering I made to match the image I received of the original newel

white oak reproduction newel
white oak reproduction newel
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Large Tapered Octagon Newels

Large Tapered Octagon Newels

The Large Tapered Octagon Newels were made for a customer in Connecticut.  I don’t remember if the newels were going to be a part of the Griswold Inn or for the owners of the Griswold Inn’s personal home (visit their web site – looks like a beautiful place to visit).

These are made of poplar and will be painted.  The largest measures 9″ wide X 54″ high.  The others are 5 1/2″ and 4″ wide.  Because there is a turned ring in the mid section of the octagon, the newels had to be made in three sections.   The newel caps for these were made in Sapele, an African import similar to mahogany but browner in color.

Tapered Octagon Newel
Tapered Octagon Newel
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White Oak Reproduction Newel

White Oak Reproduction Newel

I recently received a request from a former customer to create 7 white oak reproduction newels based on an image she had found.  The image is of a large over-the-post newel made from mahogany, I think.  She apparently loved the lines of the newel and so I endeavored to reproduce it first in CAD (computer aided design).  The next step was to model it in Sketchup.  Lastly the Sketchup model was rendered in the Twilight rendering engine.

We modified the base to be square.  The original appears to have a “bowed” fronted base which I’ve never seen before.  The challenge to reproduce the image was that is was not a high resolution image and so some of the detail had to be guessed at.  So below is t he original image followed by the rendered model in White Oak.  The model came out nicely and the real newel should look pretty close to it.

original mahogany newel
original mahogany newel

 

white oak reproduction newel
white oak reproduction newel
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Rake Newels

Rake Newels

We don’t often get orders for rake newels but I have an image of some really nice ones that a customer ordered some time back.  Rake newels are used to strengthen a long section of stairs or balcony to eliminate that wobbly handrail that occurs when too long a span is a attempted.  The rake newels in the image are designed to attach in to the bottom of the rail in the same manner as a baluster would. Although the profile of the rake in this example is different than the larger N108 newels (top image) I think they still compliment each other nicely.  The top image is white oak.  The bottom image is red oak.

rake newels
rake newels
square top rake newels
square top rake newels

poplar newels

poplar newels rake newels

 

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Cypress Square Newels with Ball Top

Cypress Square Newels with Ball Top

These quare cypress newels with a ball top aren’t that hot- I know.  They were made for a local customer to match the existing newels in his home.  It’s hard to reproduce something unless you have the original something in your hand.  In this case, I didn’t realize at first that the home was in Baton Rouge.  The contractor only sent me a picture and asked me to reproduce the ball top based on the picture.  He assured me that the newels were not going to be that close to the originals and so any slight variance wouldn’t be that noticeable.  So I proceeded to make them based on the picture alone.  Well that did’t work too well.  As it turns out the new newels were close to the old and the grainy image I had received left a lot to be desired.  The contractor had confidence in my “artistic” interpretation.  Bottom line is we had to make them a second time.  Fortunately we were able to cut the tops of and reuse the square shaft.  They were happy.

Square base newels with round top
Square base newels with round top

 

original ball top
original ball top

 

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Soft Maple Lighthouse Newels

Soft Maple Lighthouse Newels

The lighthouse newels were crafted for a customer in Mobile, AL.  They have been popular in coastal areas with customers that are interested in a maritime theme.  One of the first sets we made were for a beautiful home on the Mississippi coast.  This particular customer owned four racing sail boats.  Their home was filled with many old artifacts from old ships.  It was like entering into a Jules Verne novel.

Other lighthouse newels have made their way to the Carolinas,  Cape Cod in Massachusetts, and Key West, FL.  They are typically painted to simulate a painted lighthouse. These measure 7″ wide at the base and ship out at 54″ high.  The handrail joins the newel just below the rim under the light quarters.

soft maple lighthouse newels
soft maple lighthouse newels

Another possibility is the lighthouse with a round bottom.  The split lighthouse newel below was made for a customer in Massachusetts has the round bottom.  The split newel is used to a apply to a wall with the handrail going it.  These were made in poplar to be painted.

split lighthouse newel round bottom
split lighthouse newel round bottom

 

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New Newel 3D Model

3D Newel Model

This newel is actually a modification of a stock newel we make – the N103 (the Texan as per my newel site stair-newels.com).  I have a customer that wanted to emulate a newel she found on Houzz.  My N103 is very similar to that newel so that is where we started.  The first modification we made was to create a round base.  Since the newel would be used under a volute, a round base was a good place to begin.  The top of the Houzz newel was wider so we widened the top to receive a custom newel cap that would receive the Crown Heritage volute made for their 6310 handrail.  The Houzz image, my standard N103 newel and the proposed modification are below:

Standard N103 Newel
Standard N103 Newel

 

Modified N103 Newel

Modified N103 Newel
Modified N103 Newel

 

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Stair newel / Baluster Rendering

 

Stair Newel / Baluster Rendering

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.

stair detail
stair detail 1 3/4″ baluster tapered with sq base

 

2 1/4" tapered baluster
2 1/4″ tapered baluster

 

 

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Old School Alternating Balusters and Newels

Alternating Balusters

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:

antique balusters
antique balusters

 

antique newel
antique newel

 

The first image is a line drawing of our proposed “interpretation” of the magazine image.

baluster- newel line drawing
baluster- newel line drawing

 

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.

barley twist maple balusters
barley twist maple balusters

 

maple barley twist newel
maple barley twist newel
maple balusters and newels
maple balusters and newels