Extending Newel Post

Hi all
1970s dump in the 7th year of restoration :(. The staircase has a 180 degree return at an intermediate landing. SWMBO wants an upgrade to the ranch style 70s look bannister. With discussions between me, her and the builder I believe we've settled on white oak spindles and handrailing in between the existing painted newel posts. Bit of a compromise, but avoids removal/cutting of newel posts and she wants plain square newels rather than turned ones anyway.
Issue is that the existing intermediate newel post on the int. landing is not tall enough! It accepts the existing ranch fencing OK, but this does not conform to current regs. I know I can ignore this at my peril, but want to know whether extending the post is possible.
The current post is 90mm square and I would want to add 4-6" - the top is currently chamfered toward the corners IYSWIM.
My concerns are: Cutting the top of the existing post off square in the first place Sourcing additional timber that will not shrink by 1/4" across flats after fitting Making an invisible joint between existing and new sections (invisible after painting) that will withstand the usual high loads imposed by teenagers decending at break-kneck speed. Re-creating the chamfer on the new post top.
Any advice appreciated
TIA
Phil
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"TheScullster" wrote
To illustrate the original arrangement, it is very similar to this
http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/5053/singlenewelonlanding.jpg posted by Painters10 02-04-09.
Phil
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Hey that's my nasty staircase!
The newel post in the picture on my staircase isn't wide enough to support two rails (one up and one down) so I plan to cut off the newel post low down, and fit a single wider post that will fit around the bottom boards. I guess you could do something similar. This would allow fixings into the two boards and into the top of the old (cut off) newel post. Whether that is strong enough I am not sure. Stair rails take quite a bashing.
Painters10

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Hi "Painters10"

C-o-o-o-rect
Mine is similar, but I hadn't noticed when I made the initial post, that your lower flight is open to one side. Obviously this means that you must have handrailing in two directions from the intermediate landing newel. Our lower flight is enclosed, so I can move the handrail to the other wall for the lower flight and fit a single bannister/spindle arrangement for the upper flight and landing return IYSWIM. Guess it might be a minor annoyance if you come down the stairs carrying something - you will have to "swap hands" on the landing to ensure a free hand for handrail clutching. Also, our planks on the lower flight are nailed to the face of the newel like yours. But on the upper flight they are morticed in to the post - off centre :(.
Phil
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TheScullster wrote:

Our post on the landing is one and a half posts fixed together. Heavy planks for stairs and planks for landing are morticed in and secured by hidden nails through the post. I made quite a mess sawing and chiselling them out. Posts are not high enough for part K. I am doing lots of other things so have engaged a carpenter to replace upper sections of posts and put everything together.
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"Invisible Man" wrote

When you say "replace upper sections of posts", is he cutting off some square post and replacing with turned posts? I would like to simply extend the existing square intermediate post and need to know how best to join the new to the old, so it will still take the load of a flying teenager.
Phil
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TheScullster wrote:

Yes. Changing the posts to turned.
I believe the proper way to do it is to make a large hole in the old into which the new one slots. I came to the conclusion that I do not have the equipment needed to make it firm enough and contacted an expert to do it for me. No teenagers here but I can swing around a post just as well!
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