When the steps are set in place, they should be carefully
inspected to ascertain if any of them are cut short and
pieced, if any of the wedges are improperly glued, or the
nailing of treads and risers omitted. When a person ascends
or descends the stairway, it should make no creaking noise,
as even a slight creaking is sure to grow louder in time and
be a lasting reminder of defective work. Creaking is generally due to defective gluing, nailing, wedging, or to the use of
unseasoned stuff in either the rough carriages or the finished
18. <STRONG >Newel posts</STRONG>, or <STRONG >newels</STRONG>, are used to support the hand rail, and are either made of solid materials and turned, or built up, box-like, in which case they are called <I >boxed newels</I>. They vary in design, form, and size, some especially those placed at the bottom of the stairway, called the starting newel often being elaborately decorated with panels and carvings.
The newel is also variously fixed in its relation to the steps adjoining. In ordinary cases it is placed on the floor, and when so placed its center should be in line with the center of the first riser. Where space is limited at the bottom of a stairway, the newel maybe placed on top of the first step, and even on top of the second or third step; but in each case, it is desirable to place it so as to have the center of the riser at the newel center, and the steps outside rounded, and returned into the stringer; the end of the latter being inserted in a prepared mortise in the center of the newel.
The <I >angle newels</I> on the landings are generally smaller in size and have less decoration than the starting newels. The same rule applies to their relation to the risers; viz., that the center of the riser connecting should be at the center of the newel. Working from centers in stair-building construction is almost a maxim. The center of the rail is to be in the center of the newel; so, also, is the center of the stringer; and the center of the baluster is to be in the center