One of the most challenging items in the renovation was the restoration of the grand staircase and in particular a Newel post finial cap at the bottom of the stairs. There was an operational gas lamp on that post, a location we felt posed a hazard. We removed it and actually it made its way up the street to another Painted Lady.
But what to do about the missing finial cap? We searched on eBay and salvage yards to find something comparable. We even took the wall apart where there was half a cap sticking out in the hopes it was not cut in half (unfortunately it was). We then found what could be one of the last few craftsmen capable of replicating such a piece at American Woodturning in the Mission, owned by Mukesh Prasad. His shop is literally a hole in the wall next to a dog vacation super kennel hotel, with barely a sign to know it.
We cut one of the other finials off to bring as a model, realizing that it was one solid turned piece of mahogany all the way from top to bottom of the newel post (how did they make this back in the day without electric tools!) and brought it to him to replicate. He had to glue several pieces of mahogany together to get the same size. Lo and behold, 2 weeks later a perfect replica including detailed hand carvings of leaf patterns. It was the crowning piece to complete the staircase.
Photo credit: Mitch Shenker Studio