It's time for Stage 2 of our Refinished Stairwell project. Yesterday, we shared How to Install Stair Treads & Risers in quite a bit of detail. Fun stuff, I know. Today, we're moving onto how to build a custom newel post.
Since our stairwell is a bit nontraditional, Justin decided to
Before we jump into the How To portion of this post, let's level set with some vocabulary. Justin was a cabinet maker for a few years, so he learned his tricks of the trade during that time. So the vocab lesson for today is rails, stiles and panels.
Step one was to cut the stiles and rail pieces of each side of the newel post. Starting with the rail piece, Justin cut a tenon (aka. the nobby thing at the end) on his table saw. The tenon's will be used to connect with the stile pieces.
For the rail & stiles we used pine.
For the rail pieces, using his table saw, Justin cut a dado (the groove along the length of the board), wide enough for the tenon and panel to slide into (1/4").
Here's a quick snapshot to show how the rail and stiles should fit together.
Then he cut the panel to size for the height of our newel post. We chose to use MDF because it paints better than wood, and is pretty cost efficient.
He then rabbeted (aka. the edging you see around the piece) the panel out so it fits snugly in the groove in the stiles and rails. Be sure to only rabbet out the back side of the panel.
Note: You could also use 1/4" MDF and skip this step entirely. Our lumber store only carried 1/2" MDF, so we had to thin the edges down to fit.
Place space balls into the dado to keep the panel centered and snug over time.
Then glue together all the pieces! Taking your panel, glue and secure your Stiles in place, then your Rails. Clamp tight and use 5/8" brad nails to secure.
Taking the panels you've just built, attach them to (in our situation) the wall. Taking each panel, glue and nail in place using wood glue and 1-1/4" brad nails.
And here's how our stairwell looks with Stage 2 complete. It doesn't look like much yet, but next week we'll be sharing the next stage for this stairwell. painting, trim, the handrail and bannisters, and boy does it look good! Can't wait to share!
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