Few things are more elegant than an historically correct custom staircase. In this Brookline mansion, a previous owner had removed the first flight of stairs to make the house into a two-family, and he threw away all the beautifully turned and carved 19th century stair parts!. The house next door was by the same builder, so we copied those. They have what’s called “Bishop’s Mitre Caps”, because they look like Church headgear. We had no trouble making the balusters and rails, but when it came to duplicating the spool work on the corners of the posts, we couldn’t find a wood turner in Boston with a short enough lathe. (You can’t turn something so thin three feet long, it will just fly off the machine.). I found a toy maker in Amherst, MA with a miniature lathe, and he made what we needed in six inch sections.
This custom balustrade in the Back Bay presented an unusual challenge: how to get the rail to turn and descend at the same time. If you look carefully, you’ll see some creative miter work that’s really ingenious.