How to Build a Newel Post

What You'll Need
Wood Clamps
Table Saw
Rotary Tool
Wood Glue

A newel post is serves as an accent piece to a stairway. It anchors the railing to the stairs and can be found at the top and bottom of a stair case. Exterior newel posts can be made from cement that is painted to match your home, while interior newel posts are made from a variety of different woods. They can also be made from wrought iron. Constructing a wooden newel post is a moderately difficult DIY project that requires some woodworking knowledge. Follow these steps to construct a wooden newel post for your home.

Step 1 - Choose Your Wood

Wood newel posts are typically made out of soft woods such as pine, poplar, and hemlock. They can also be made of oak or maple. Choose a wood that complements the décor of your home. If the stairs are an exposed wood, consider using the same wood and finish.

Step 2 - Build the Base

Start by building the base for the newel post. Since a newel post is traditionally found at the bottom of the steps, you will want to construct a base of about 2 to 3-inches high. Make the base in two separate pieces. These two pieces will surround your completed newel post.

Step 3 - Assemble the Panels

Measure the wood to your desired size for the four walls and the top. If you want to create a design or v-groove the edges of the panels, do so before assembling the post. Take the four lengths that will compose the sides of the post and mark the angle necessary to properly join the edges against the end with a pencil. Use your table saw to create the edges. Use wood glue to join the pieces. Clamp them together. Leave it overnight for the glue to dry.

Step 4 - Finish the Top

Cut and detail the top. Use the rotary tool for any etching or v-edging that you'd like to include. You can either leave the corners fully squared, or use the rotary tool to gently round them. You can even try to procure an antique nob top from a recycling store or thrift store to create a period feel. The top will need to be glued in place with wood glue and left to dry.

Step 5 - Sand and Stain the Post

You can then sand and either stain or paint the newel post to your desired finish.

Step 6 - Installing the New Newel Post

When you are ready to add the newel post, you must first reinforce the joint located at the bottom of the stairs with a screw. Carefully insert the new newel post. Match the fittings for the post with the existing structure. Install the new newel post by reversing the steps used to remove the old one. These steps usually involve a peg or plug under the stairway that will need to be tightened into the new post. Secure the post to the rail structure. Repeat the above steps with any additional posts.