It has been a couple weeks but tonight was able to get back to the project. The top rail is going to be a flowing curve, so needed to create a jig for the glue-up.
Step (1): glued two 3/4 inch plywood pieces
Step (2): cut into oval to match top rail
Step (3): cut 2×4 into pieces to create curve to which the top rail will be glued
I still need to cut the angle on each of the pieces and affix them to the base.
Next step: turning the spindles!
-- -Bob, Portland, Maine