newel post stair partsCraftsman or Victorian Style

Replace your old newel post with something a lot more substantial, like this one.  I made it from MDF board and molding scraps.

They do take a little time to build, but are not all difficult.

My inspiration for this one came from the newel post in a 1923 Royal Oak, Michigan, Craftsman style apartment building, just off of Woodward Avenue.


newel post craftsman style diy painted

Based on a 1923 Craftsman style newel post I saw in a historic apartment building.

Above  The applique at the top matches almost perfectly the historic newel post that inspired this design.

Below  The old newel post and hand rail were the usual, uninspired contractor-grade stuff they installed in Pulte Homes like this.

At some point I made a sketch for a new Craftsman style handrail that we had a metal shop make.  I think they charged about $300.00 to make it.

how to build a newel post from mdf

Newel post made from MDF board and custom Craftsman handrail.

Materials Needed to Make this Newel Post

The MDF board (read about mdf board here) to make this you can buy from most any lumber yard.  The two molding profiles I bought from Lowes Home Improvement.  Of course you can substitute any of these materials for whatever you have on hand.

newel post how to build materials

  1. 3/4″ MDF Board
  2. 1/2″ MDF Board
  3. 1/4″ MDF Board
  4. Bed Molding
  5. 1/4″ MDF Board
  6. 1/2″ MDF Core
  7. PM-004
  8. 3/4″ MDF Board

How to Build the Newel Post

Note: I now have the full installation sequence posted for NEWEL POST-100, a similar newel post that I built.

  1. Build a core from MDF.  It doesn’t matter if it’s 1/2″ or 3/4″ MDF.  Be careful to build your core perfectly square because the rest of the MDF flat-stock and moldings will wrap around it.  If it’s out of square it will be a real problem making it look good.
  2. Wrap the 1/4″ MDF flat-stock around to make the upper and lower inset panels.
  3. Wrap the 3/4″ MDF around the bottom to make the plinth.
  4. Wrap PM-004 around the top of the plinth.
  5. Wrap PM-004 between the shaft and capital to make the necking.
  6. Make the newel post cap (material items #1,2 and 3) and install it.
  7. Wrap the Bed molding around the top of the capital.

That’s all there is to it.  Now prime/sand/paint/install and you’ve got your self a home-made newel post!


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