Sunday, July 12, 2009

Columns (Maaah-buhl Kah-lums!!!)

No, the front porch columns are not actually made of marble, but that would be really cool and would make a great skit on SNL. They're all wood, and the base on the main one we have to walk by every single day has been rotted out since day 1 when we moved in 2 years ago. I attempted to repair it a few weeks ago, but it was a no go.

Abra-Cadabra - I have floated the Kah-lum

Instead of using the fancy schmancy Lee Valley Scrooge clamp, I went with a borrowed ten dollar Harbour Freight bottle jack and a 2x6. After some trial & error I was able to push up the column and get to the base, or plinth block. It was funny because it was as if it was levitating of its own accord. All fun & games until....
There were ants everywhere in the rotted out board. I grabbed our bug spray and tried to fume them out, but in the end it was easiest to just root them out with the crow bar and scraper.
Now, I wasn't actually prepared for repairing the block - I was a bit surprised that I actually got the darn thing off the porch. So I had to run out to get some PT lumber to make the base. It was 12" square, so I cut 4 triangles that would meet up.
Installation was a bit, well, sloppy. In my typical lackadaisical manner I assumed as I put the first block in position that since it was in the same position as the former block that it was where it should be. Wrong.... it was actually about an inch too far to the right, and out of center to the column. I knew I had really screwed up royally when Melissa identified this error. She usually doesn't have an eye for such, ahem, detail.
I put additional exterior grade spackling on it to cover up any openings (and possible ant holes) and put more caulking to make sure it was all sealed up today. Tomorrow I can put some flexible molding on it and then apply paint. (I wouldn't want to make a habit of using the flexible molding - at $5 per foot it doesn't come cheap!)
The base in place... out of place. (The column for a piece that came off and was glued back on...)

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