Custom porch post bases

Mike Howell with Carpentry with Integrity was the winning bidder to rebuild a porch on a wonderful old house.

The bases were rotten, the posts marginal, and the terra cotta ionic capitols had so much paint on them they were almost undistinguishable. The floor needed replacing. The owner wanted low maintenance so fiberglass columns were chosen. Ionic capitols were found in fiberglass that almost exaclty matched the originals. Aeratis pvc flooring was chosen. The manufacutrer has a nice bull nose to finish off the ends of the boards. They also worked with the Sherwin Williams paint company to come up with a paint that is compatible with Aeratis. Here is a picture of the new floor:

The owner wanted to match the existing column bases exaclty instead of going with new fiberglass ones so I was hired to make them. Here is an original base I used as a pattern. The others were in much worse shape.

The turned portion of the bases are 11 and 12 inches in diameter so they had to be turned on a faceplate on the outboard side of the lathe. I had to build a stand to hold the tool rest.

The discs that just needed rounding over were made from treated lumber. 2 X 12s were cut down to select just the vertical grain and then glued back together to essentially create a vertical grained board which is much more stable thatn flat sawn. The2 X 12s were planed down to get the exact thickness of the original. Very time consuming and it created huge bags of chips. I always used a respirator in milling the treated. Here are some finished plates:

To do the plates that needed a deep cove, I used Cyporess as it mills much better. It has great rot resistnce but I still coated them with Bora Care preservative. The only problem is that the wood is expensive. The wood for the 8 bases was over $500.

Here are the finished plates:

The world would not be interesting without an occassional tragedy. Luckily it only hapend to me once and I had made an extra blank to cover such things.

Here is the orignal base and a new one.

The columns and bases against the house were rectangular. They were not replaced but I did make new bases reusing the portion with the huge cove in it as it is too difficult to make. They were much easier to make than the turned ones.

All the non treated wood was treated with preservative then all the wood was primed on all sides before installation.

Here are the bases and columns installed. The original balustrade was reused.

1 reply
  1. Mike Howell
    Mike Howell says:

    Dan, thank you for another amazing job reproducing some historic elements on one of my projects. You are a great resource for not only Carpentry with Integrity but the whole town of Elgin.
    Dan’s the Man!

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