Repairing huge porch posts
The porch columns on this building were coming apart and some of the tops and bottoms were rotting with the beam sagging. The owner took it apart, put in a new beam and I repaired the posts and remade the tops and bases.
The coopered columns on this apartment building are 18 inches in diameter. Coopered means they are made from many pieces of wood like a cooper makes a barrel. Two of the posts came apart. I cleaned the edges and made special clamps to pull them together while gluing. The clamps are metal strapping attached to blocks of wood. the strapping allows you to make them any diameter you want by screwing pieces of strapping together. The pipe clamps can pull very tightly. A typical band clamp is not strong enough so I made the special ones and have used them several times. I have not seen them anywhere else so I think it was my original idea.
Here is an adjustable band clamp that I made out of strapping and blocks of wood.
I made cradles to hold the columns while gluing.
Several of the bases and tops were rotten.
They were originally made using a shaper with a huge custom head. I don’t have a huge shaper and custom heads would be very expensive so I used a lathe to turn them. They are 20 inches in diameter so I had to use the outboard side of the lathe. The wood is glued up cypress. Make sure the pieces are from the same board. If one board is denser than the other it will jump so badly that it will not turn nicely and may fly off. A very low speed is also crucial.
Here is a finished base and top.
Here is the building back together.
That clamping method for the posts is a good simple solution. Thanks. I’ll have to pass along to my dad who has some similarly constructed posts that need repair.