We have a wide variety of turned wood balusters or “spindles” in many wood species. We are happy to manufacture custom turnings for balusters or spindles in any available wood species. Each of our balusters are made from a single piece of wood, without glue ups or joints. For additional elegance you may enjoy our beaded, fluted, twisted or other features.
Wood Balusters, also commonly known as stair wood spindles or occasionally as pickets, occupy the largest visual area of a balustrade. In addition they are one of the most important structural members of your banister. They provide support for the handrail, strength to the system as a whole and create a barrier against falling. There are two primary categories of wood balusters, each having a wide range of styles and designs.
Turned Wood Balusters are those that have been shaped on a wood lathe to reveal the beauty of the wood grain through elegantly detailed profiles. They are available in two options, each with two standard sizes. These are Dowel Top Turned Balusters and Square Top Turned Balusters and the standard sizes are 1 1/4″ and 1 3/4″ block. While the profiles of each option are often virtually identical the one distinguishing characteristic is the top block or lack thereof. Dowel Top wood balusters as described in their name, are tapered into a dowels at the top which are inserted into holes that have been drilled into the handrail to receive them.
Square Top Turned Balusters on the other hand are not tapered at the top but instead have a top “block” that is installed into a channel in the bottom of the handrail, called a plow, with the spaces in between filled with molding called fillet.
Each of these baluster options contribute differently to the aesthetics, design and installation methods of a balustrade. The dowel top balusters tend to be more elegant and refined and enhance the less pronounced details of the handrail, newel posts and moldings. Square top balusters/spindles on the other hand appear more bold and heavy. They are more commanding of your attention through the larger space the top block occupies. Both are relatively easy to install though their methods are completely different. Dowel Top balusters are installed into holes drilled into the handrail and square top balusters are installed using a plow and fillet system. It is important when ordering your handrail, if you are using square top wood balusters, to take into consideration the size of the top block of the baluster and the size of the bottom of the handrail. Some of the larger Square Top balusters will not fit some of the smaller handrails. When ordering your handrail from WoodStairs.com make sure to select the correct plow size to match your balusters. If the plow size is unavailable, for example 1 3/4″, then that particular handrail will not accommodate that size of balusters.
Finally, while more often than not, a single type of wood baluster is simply repeated throughout the balustrade, you may not which to be bound by this design constraint. Consider more variable patterns, similar to wrought iron balusters or even including them, to create unique designs. Dowel Top and Square top balusters may be used in the same balustrade in a pattern or plain and twisted or wood and iron combinations. If you are interested in a more eclectic and unique design, don’t hesitate to be creative.