Arts & Crafts Cherry Balustrade
I only do a few staircases each year. This one was fairly involved (mostly because of the newel post trim in the A&C style). It took an entire day just cutting and installing the newel trim (most posts have 16 pieces of trim…this rail system has 10 newel posts).
I posted some pics of the rail and of the newel trim assembly setup, etc. I got to use my new saw and homemade stand so I posted another photo of that. Some of these pics have already been posted in other threads (thought it might be nice to put them in one place).
Here are a couple more pics:
Nice look! I have a few questions:
Do you ever have the miters open up over time where the grain of the trim is 90 degrees to the grain of the post? Do you glue the trim to the posts or pin or what?
Do you make the posts hollow and then beef them up at rail connections to provide enough wood for long term solid holding?
Do you have problems with the caps fitting the posts over time?
I have built many like this, but have not had the chance to revisit to see how things aged. I have also rebuilt many 100 yr old +/- posts that suffered from open corners, lost caps, etc.
Acorn,Here's what I did:--"Do you ever have the miters open up over time where the grain of the trim is 90 degrees to the grain of the post? Do you glue the trim to the posts or pin or what?"I oversized each trim set just a skosh (by 1/32" or so). I used a 23 ga. micropinner and glued and pinned three sides of each 4-sided trim set together on the table. I use Titebond III. After I decide the two most visible sides, I glue and micro pin those sides tight to the newel. The other two sides (with the small expansion/contraction space are just pinned with one 23 ga. pin and all the corners are glued and pinned.--"Do you make the posts hollow and then beef them up at rail connections to provide enough wood for long term solid holding?"I glue and bolt each rail section to the newel with two angled 2-1/2" torx lags (GRK). I use a 1/2" Forsner bit to make a countersink for the lag heads & a 3/16" pilot for the screw shaft. Sometimes I drill a 1" hole in the opposite side of the newel and use an impact driver with a very long bit to run screws from inside the newel into the rail. Some holes are covered by the next rail section, some are plugged with a 1" cherry plug.I did not add backing to these hollow posts...but I think I will next time. I would like to see how these hold up.The newel boxes came with the cap already applied.Hope that helps,Basswood
Edited 2/25/2007 9:06 am ET by basswood
Why don't you post some pics of your work? I love the Mahogany door you built for me about 5 years ago.John
J.R. Lazaro Builders, Inc.
Thanks, John for the request and the pic of your door. That is still one of my favorite designs.
I'm having e-mail problems now where my attachments are breaking up into hundreds of e-mails - I recently sent two pics to a customer and she rec'd 220 e-mails, all gibberish.
We are also finally moving into our own building, 8,800 s/f of virginal woodshop, so I'm running low on time for extracurricular activities. However, the website is updated, but still low on pics.
Basswood: Very nice work. I can appreciate the extra time you have shown that was necessary for those pictures.
Stan,Funny how those little pieces of trim add up.I do my first curved stair project next month...just the first few stairs are curved and it will be carpeted. Those factors will help reduce the degree of difficulty and give me some experience too.Thanks for the compliment,Brian
I built a red oak newell from scratch quite similar to what you have done, but not quite as ornate. I wish I would have used cherry, it really looks awesome. Would you be able to post a close-up or two of the newells? I would love to see the grain on those puppies! They look great!
Dustin,I can get some more pics in a couple of weeks (I get to go back up to that house soon to take care of the final punch list).Thanks for your interest in the work...my next stair project involves wood posts & rails with iron balusters (a first for me).Still having fun!
Here is another picture for you (not really a close-up though). I was back there this week to install some misc. trim.
Sweet! That whole rail is beautiful! What's the finish on there? Even thought the shot isn't really close, the figure is prominent in the cherry.
That is work to be proud of, for sure. Thanks for the pic.
Glad you liked it...just made it back to that house today (hung some odd sized bifold doors that were backordered--finally)...and got a few more shots.
We can get those newels already assembled here, is that not an option in your area?
Seems like it would have saved you alot of time with all the banding trim you had to fabricate.
But it would take some of the fun out of it.
Stilletto,You are right about buying trimmed posts. I don't know what the pre-trimmed newels sell for (I will check on it). I figure the trim material and labor to be around $75 per post (on top of the cost of a basic box newel).If the cost was comparable, and I had the time...I would do it myself. Once you are set up for it, all goes well.
Cherry is one of my favorite woods.
I really like working with cherry too. Glad you like the project.
Great looking work. I remember an earlier thread you posted looking down on your new saw rig set up from those landings.
I would like to know where to by a cherry newell like you built for $75.00. Don't under price your work. Woodworkers and carpenters in general have to stick together and make customers realize a proffesional is different than somebody working out of the back of a Vega.
Keep up the good work and posts.
Chuck Slive, work, build, ...better with wood
Thanks for the kind words.On price, I meant that if the plain hollow square newel was already built, the trim would add another $75...the entire box plus trim would be more like two or three times as much.
Nice work Basswood. I guess I'm following you around from forum to forum this evening. Storming pretty good over your way?
To get just a bit OT - not sure if you ever deal with Root River Hardwoods out of Preston & Albert Lea, but they are now selling box newels very similar to the ones you posted that are made in China :(. I've voiced my opinion on this to them several times, to no avail.
Have a good weekend,
Mike,We got a foot of snow Friday night and about another 4 inches Saturday night. Hard to tell with all the drifting. Time to go shovel out again...not that I'm going anywhere. Yesterday the mail truck took out our mail box. Poor guy said he would get us a replacement Monday.Looks like a good day to hang out by the wood stove...I have a bunch of cherry cut offs to burn. : )Root River has Chinese newels? Hmmm. Pretrimmed box newels would likely suffer from the problems Acorn was wondering about. Better to trim them yourself. Do you know what Root River gets for their Chinese newels? Recently I read a thread that discussed kitchen cabinets from China. Next will be panelized houses made in China. I guess we should never get too complacent...the world is a changin'.I'll go take out my frustations with a snow shovel (and will make a big snow pile for the kids to play on).Goin' snowmobilin'?Brian
My next job is a stairway tear out rebuild
I am looking at something similar in White Oak.
Probably will make myself.
why give the stair parts companies all the fun and $$???
Keep it Up!
I don't feel safe in this world no more
I don't want to die in a nuclear war
I want to sail away to a distant shore and make like an ape man
Mister T,It goes without saying...but I'll say it anyway...make sure that the newel boxes and newel base boxes are very square. Base boxes can be made 3-sided and slid on sideways, before you add the forth side. If you preassemble the base boxes and slide them over the top...make sure they fit over the top before you set the newel (don't ask). If you slide the base box over the top...make sure an 18 ga. pin is not poking through on the inside...it will put a scratch all the way down the newel (don't ask).Did I say, make sure they are square? Over sizing the base boxes by 1/32" is important for both assembly and future movement.Have fun (FYI--plan on it taking a few days longer than you think...but that goes without saying),Cheers,Bass
Really a great look. Just what I am looking for in a Prairie style I have coming up. We are planning to use hickory. Hope I can find enough good stuff to make it look that good.