Cutting a newel post to match existing posts. Old House Remodeling:

Shortening Notched Newel Posts

In This Article:

We modify a store-bought turned newel post by cutting it shorter and cutting a new mounting notch.

Related Articles:
Skill Level: 3 (Moderate) Time Taken: 30 Minutes

By , Editor

The 1907 farm house we're remodeling had handrails that are much shorter than those used today. The arrow in the above photo shows the original handrail attachment point. So the newel posts we bought were 6 inches too long. But we could not simply cut them shorter because they had a rectangular notch cut into the lower end for mounting purposes.

First I cut 6" off the bottom of the notched post. 


I set the circular saw to cut the same depth as the original notch.


Cutting a notch in a 4x4 post. I cut a kerf 6" upstream of the original notch.


I made a lengthwise cut on each side of the post. Cutting a notch in a newel post with a circular saw.


I finished the cut with a hand saw.


The two longitudinal cuts did not quite align perfectly (due to inaccuracies in the saw base), but this did not pose a problem.



Tools Used:

  • Circular Saw
  • Speed Square
  • Hand Saw
  • Tape Measure

Materials Used:

  • Turned Cedar Newel Posts




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Copyright 2001, 2005

Written April 9, 2001
Revised January 6, 2005