Newel Post advice please...

10 Aug 2006
Reaction score
United Kingdom
Hi all,

I've looking to add a newel, spindles and handrail to a house I've just bought and am looking for a bit of advice.
Basically the newel etc have been removed in the past leaving the staircase open to the living room on one side (wall on the other side). It's a closed string type of staircase and it looks to me as if the original newel has been cut-off at an angle so it is now flush with the top of the string.

Would it be OK to add a newel by fastening it (coachbolts or similar) to the front face of what's left of the existing newel?
I realise that the new newel will now be further away from the 1st step but I'm thinking it will be the easiest solution.

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You could cut the new newel to match the angle on the original and join via dowel screws and glue.Assuming you will paint the finished ?
In all probability the original newel was a structural part of the staircase with the stringer tenoned into it. That means that you need to be careful what you do. Drill the bottom end of the new newel post to take a large diameter dowel - something like a broomstick handle or curtain pole may be suitable, bit it should be hardwood. Cut the angled end of the newel post off which should leave you with, in effect, a drilling jig to bore the top of the existing newel with. Drill that using the jig. Even if your original drilling was a bit off using the offcut jig it should all line-up. The glue the dowel, knock-in and fix tyhe ne newet post on top. The ends of the dowel will need to be chamfered or rounded over so that it slides in easily

Some pointers: the diameter of the drill and that of the dowel MUST be exactly the same with the dowel forming a nice tight fit in the hole. The very smallest dowel size I'd be looking for is about 1-1/2in (38mm). For straightness your drill must be an auger bit - spade bits run out of line, Forstner bits don't cut deep enough. You need a good 12 to 18in of dowel in the joint to make this work - the longer the better. The angled joint between the two pieces must have a near perfect surface - good enough to glue.

This isn't easy, but I have done it a couple of times, so I know it can be done. Asking for a clear lacquer finish, however, is probably one step too far IMHO because the joint will be untidy and may need to be hidden by something like a "veneer" or 6mm MDF. Were a customer to ask for that I'd say theat there were no guarantees
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Was planning on a varnished newel.
Thanks for the tip though..
More detailed description from Job, but you could hide the join by cladding with timber, a bit of fancy topped skirting?. Would then allow you to varnish.

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