A newel is a large post that supports the handrail on a stairway. Stair Newels are typically located at the bottom and top of stairways, as well as at turns or landings in the stairway. Newels are a key structural feature of a stair case and range is style from the elaborate to the minimal. Double Newels are often placed at a turn on the staircase to accommodate the different heights that the handrail meets the newel both above and below the turn of the stairs. Half Newels, which are split down the length of the post, are also a feature of many stair cases, used where the stair rail ends at a wall. The half newel gives continuity of design by matching the other full newels in the staircase while avoiding the bulk of a full-size post protruding from the wall.
A newel post may also be sold as a separate top and base. This allows the customer to vary the height of the post (depending on their requirements) by choosing between a short or long base.A Newel Cap or finial is a decorative detail that is typically found on the top of a newel post. Newel caps come in many different shapes and designs, such as ball or acorn cap (typically on a turned newel) and pyramid or flat (which take typically to a square and chamfered newel). Though usually made from timber to match the newel post, they can be made from a variety of materials and decorated with many different finishes.
The question of how many newels would a staircase need is often answered by regulations of spacing and stair layout in each different setup. Typically however, you will need a newel at the foot of your stair case and for every turn thereafter.