Pictured here is the newell post in the front hallway of one of the houses I manage. I'm currently editing our newsletter, and one of our Board members, who is a fine woodworker, wrote an interesting article about the post. Below is an excerpt detailing the post's construction method:
The post is constructed of at least two parts, the inside spiral turning and the cage of four vertical ribs that surrounds it. First, the cage section had to have a hole bored through it. This blank would be slid over a plain temporary spindle that would fit tightly in the hole. This spindle would be mounted on the lathe as a temporary center, and the turnings above and below the cage would be done. A fat column would be turned that corresponded to the outside curve of the cage verticals, and these would be carved by hand with the spindle in place for most of the process in order to avoid breaking the cage.
The interior spiral would then be turned in a separate operation using a specially adapted lathe for the double spiral. The temporary spindle would then be removed and replaced by the finished spiral one, which would be glued in place. The foliate carved cap covers the hole in the post at the top.
Photo and excerpt by Allan Breed.