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What Are Newel Posts?

A newel post is the key post that anchors a handrail, typically at the base or top of stairs; a second landing newel may support the rail on a stair landing.

Because of its prominent position, the newel post is often turned, carved, or otherwise decorative; to shoulder the considerable forces it receives, it is anchored solidly to the stair’s structure.

The word “newel” derives from the Old French nouel or noel, meaning kernel or stone. On early winding stairs, the newel was the pillar or stone post that formed the center. Even on today’s staircases, the central pillar is called a newel.

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About Don Vandervort
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Don Vandervort has developed his expertise for more than 30 years, as Building Editor for Sunset Books, Senior Editor at Home Magazine, author of more than 30 home improvement books, and writer of countless magazine articles. He appeared for 3 seasons on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert for several years. Don founded HomeTips in 1996.

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