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Old 04-08-2013, 03:33 PM   #1
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Best way to cut the lap for newel?


I have about a half-dozen methods in my head, but I'm not sure what is the right or best way to accomplish this. I need to cut out the bottom of the newel, so it can lap over the bottom of the knee wall of the staircase. for reference, It's about 9" high that the cuts need to go. It's a standard 4x4 newel, in hemlock.



Tools at my disposal:
  • Table Saw
  • Sliding Compound Miter Saw
  • Circular Saw
  • Jig Saw
  • Reciprocating Saw
  • Oscillating Saw

I'd like to get this right the first time and not waste an expensive newel post. Thanks for your suggestions.
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Old 04-08-2013, 04:32 PM   #2
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Best way to cut the lap for newel?


Do you mind if I ask why the top is beveled? I would remove that piece of trim if it is possible and cut it back in later.

Make the cross cut first, whether it is beveled or not, on your table saw with blade set to the desired angle and depth. Then cut it from both sides just to the depth of the first cut with your table saw and the rip fence, then finish the middle of the cut with a good hand saw. This type of thing is why I love my Radial Arm saws. Moving the cutting head above the post is a lot easier than moving something like a post on a table saw. Hopefully you have an adjustable bevel square for the angle. If not, you may want to pick one up.


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Last edited by jagans; 04-08-2013 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:01 PM   #3
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Best way to cut the lap for newel?


Jagans has it pretty much down. One suggestion would be to stop the rip cut just shy of the cross cut. If you are using a table saw you will not be able to see the leading edge of the blade so plan to stop the cut short of the final distance. You cannot "uncut" if you have gone too far. I have made these cuts on a band saw, but it requires a resaw fence, resaw blade and some really good blade guides.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:16 PM   #4
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Best way to cut the lap for newel?


China Town Ken has some very good points. Set up a stop if you can and practice on a piece of scrap till the rip cuts are just short.

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Old 04-08-2013, 07:54 PM   #5
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Best way to cut the lap for newel?


That's Chi Town, as in Chicago. If you can't attach a stop to your table saw, mark a line on the table just in front of where the front edge of the blade goes below the table surface when you have the blade extended to the height you will be cutting at. Extend the line so that you will be able to see it when you are cutting. Stop the cut approximately 1/8" before the crosscut reaches the line.
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:16 PM   #6
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Best way to cut the lap for newel?


Quote:
Originally Posted by chitownken View Post
That's Chi Town, as in Chicago. If you can't attach a stop to your table saw, mark a line on the table just in front of where the front edge of the blade goes below the table surface when you have the blade extended to the height you will be cutting at. Extend the line so that you will be able to see it when you are cutting. Stop the cut approximately 1/8" before the crosscut reaches the line.

Thanks Ken, got it, the windy city. Darn good idea too!
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:53 PM   #7
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Best way to cut the lap for newel?


Thanks for the ideas guys, this has been helpful. I've been putting off finishing the stairs because i didn't really know how I wanted to go about this cut. Now I have a plan.
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:54 AM   #8
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Best way to cut the lap for newel?


No Problem Hy. As I said before, I dont know if you can remove the trim that is making you cut that angle, but if you can, I would do that. Installing the trim after the fact in short sections would hide any irregularities it the corner cut.
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Old 04-09-2013, 01:56 PM   #9
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Best way to cut the lap for newel?


First newel set. Thanks again for the help.



I set the fence on the table saw with a stop-block so I wouldn't go too far. Ripped one side, flipped it over and reset the fence, then ripped the other. Of course, the roundness of the blade means that the cuts were not all the way through. So I got out the trusty Irwin hand saw and cut the rest of the way. After that it was a matter of making the cross cut with the sliding compound miter saw and we had success. Predrilled the holes, bolted up the lag bolts and installed the caps. Will need some filler and sanding around the caps, but no biggie.




I decided to cut the newel over the knee wall cap instead of the other way around because I figured it was easier for me not to mess up the cap boards this way. It turned out good, but if it didn't, my backup plan was to get some very small bead moulding cover the seam if needed.

One more newel to go, then railing and spindles.
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:17 PM   #10
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Best way to cut the lap for newel?


Very nice execution. Well done! That's a wild lookin floor you have there!
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:51 PM   #11
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Best way to cut the lap for newel?


Nice work. A Forstner bit won't tear out the edges of the hole like that. Kind of expensive, but if you have more to do might be worth it to not have to fix tear out. Great for drilling holes at an angle too, it you are doweling the bottom of the balusters to the trim board.
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:58 AM   #12
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Best way to cut the lap for newel?


Yeah, Ken is correct. Wrist breaker bits aren't good for much. You can make some wood filler to fix that tear out by mixing the sawdust on the floor with some wood glue and making a paste filler out of it.

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