Monday, December 18, 2017

columns and Christmas lights


The turned porch posts went in at the end of October.  They are tremendously beautiful.  Each one is 10 feet tall, and turned from an 8x8 post.  Anything smaller would have been under-scaled, and I'm pleased we got this part right. 


The posts themselves were custom turnings purchased from Mr. Spindle in North Dakota.  We worked with them to perfect the pattern based on the historic photos of the house.  My only complaint is that posts of this scale are only availible as laminated cedar.  BUT, most companies don't even stock 8x8 posts, and those that do only have them in laminated woods, mostly pine, and all for considerably more than we paid.  Customer service was beyond exceptional (the owner or general manager picked up every time I called), and I'm just so damn pleased it all worked out. 

Initially we had only planned to buy the two posts that would flank the porch window salvaged from the porch we tore down.  That window is 10x7, and we didn't want disassemble and remount it when we got around to doing the final columns (our initial plan had been to use 6x6 posts temporarily).  I had talked at length with several different companies, and it was just happenstance that I talked to Bob (the owner) last.  I'm a sucker for anyone who wants to see photos of my house and know its history, and at that point I knew the price he offered to turn the posts for wouldn't be beat.  We paid $5000 for the posts (yes, it hurts to write that number down).  To put that number in perspective, other companies had quoted us $1200 for a custom 6x6 in finger jointed pine, we paid $500 a post for ten 8x8 cedar posts. 

The only mistake made is on my shoulders.  In the historic photos you'll see the routed detail at the top and bottom of the posts. 




























I'm willing to bet the scale and router bits used to create it are identical to the box posts on the juliet balcony off the second floor bath. 

clearly I need new posts, any volunteers?


This complex detail would have to had been done by hand on the already turned posts, and understandably, no one really wanted to risk ruining the posts.  Our builder would have done it had I pushed, but I was overwhelmed enough at that point (and lacking the funds to buy more posts if they were ruined in the process) that I settled for a much simpler set up. 

It's one of an infinite number of things that will bother me that no one else will notice.  It's clear though that the shallow routing has much less impact than the original.... 

The posts are mounted to a square piece of AZEK on the bottom, so they don't wick moisture from the porch floor. The bottom of each post is wrapped in a beveled ceder trim to match the original.  Regrettably I didn't have an opportunity to get the posts painted before it got too cold, but the ends and all contact points have been coated with an excellent oil primer.  I also got primer on where the turning ends at the bottom of the posts.  That tapered bit was quite porous, and I hated the thought of snow just sitting there all winter with no protection from the moisture. 




11 comments:

  1. Looking excellent! Those are indeed massive posts!

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    1. They're sooo big, and yet, now that they're on the porch, they just look normal...

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  2. You must be BEYOND excited!!!!!!!!

    Congrats!

    And happy holidays!!!!!!!!

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  3. These new posts are spectacular!! I love how much you care about scale and details, and your obsession shows in the result ... it simply looks right, which is the highest compliment I can offer. Well done!!

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    1. I know how high your standards are, so that means everything to me!

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    2. I just noticed the cat litter bucket in the one pic. We have those scattered about, too.

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  4. The devil is in the detail, as they say. Job well done! I bet it was nerve-wracking not being able to get them painted before winter. They're going to look amazing when you can get back at them in the spring! 🖤

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    1. Just so no one mistakes the white primer for their final color, that would be a travesty!

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  5. That's coming together beautifully! Those columns are amazing; you totally went the right route with getting the real deal. Considering how much the small, crappy ones cost, I'd say $500 is a fair price for the size and quality (not to mention custom!) you got.

    Have you considered flashing or other means of waterproofing the joints at the column base wraps? These are a common source of moisture damage and paint failure. There are many ways of doing it, but this article has a few suggestions: http://www.finehomebuilding.com/pdf/021141060.pdf

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    1. Man, that writer's attention to detail is incredible. We've already set the column wraps however. They're cedar, and built as a box that won't pull apart, with an inner ring of sealant to hopefully block water infiltration in addition to the caulked visible joint. I love the idea of the mesh backing (like a rain screen behind shingles), but it's too late for us!

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