Newel Post!

So in the middle of ordering the next batch of laminate for the main room, I decided I wanted to open up the staircase a bit. I can’t remember the blog I got the idea from right now – and my Google-fu is failing me, but it wasn’t entirely an original idea. Well, right after removing the ugly siding on the inside of the stair at the bottom, I realized that that igly siding was how it was secured. My bottom two steps now had no support aside from the riser on the outside! Eeep!

Fortunately, I was able to work around it by bracing them on the newel post I put in, which wasn’t purchased, it was (so far) custom built from project lumber. Why? Two reasons – the newel posts I could buy were all expensive as sin, and I didn’t like the looks of any of them.

So, I started with the core, which is four 1×3’s, 5 feet long, formed into a square. My new pneumatic nailer made this almost absurdly easy, by the way – I strongly recommend a pneumatic nailer for any sort of home improvement project that involves nailing things. A big thank you to Scott Zekanis for loaning me a framing nailer to secure the core to the floor piece – I wasn’t comfortable with 16ga brads doing that job.

So, anyway… After putting in the core, I cut and placed the bottom finish pieces. It’s not the final design by any means, but here’s what it looks like (currently) from inside the main entertainment room:

newel1-1It looks a little tall from this angle, and I may have to shorten it a bit later, but in real life it’s not as tall as this makes it look.The two pieces of wood to the right that look like they’re not doing anything? Heh… they’re bracing the bottom of the stair casing. Since it doesn’t go all the way to the floor any longer. And all that. Yeah. Moving right along…

Here’s a closeup of the top of the lower finish pieces. Yes, there’s about a 3/8″ gap between the finish pieces and the core – I’ll take care of that when I do the finishing bits.

newel1-3The second tread from the bottom will wrap all the way around the newel, coming out from it about an inch, with the bottom tread being a full step out from the newel towards the opposite wall. It will look quite nice. Finally, a view from directly in front of the staircase:

newel1-4This side of the bottom finish piece doesn’t extend all the way to the floor because it doesn’t have to. The second riser will go over it and extend out so it’s edge is flush with where the drywall will go, letting the newel protrude out about 1/2 to 3/4 inch from the drywall. This is intentional, I didn’t decide to do it that way because I dorked up somewhere else. The small piece sitting on the 2×4 I put in place initially to simply steady the core of the newel while I was securing it to the tread braces, and since it will be entirely hidden I saw no reason to pull it back up.

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