Saturday, September 13, 2008

Porch post project

This is the way our house looked before we moved in last summer. Of particular interest in this image is the support for the roof near the front door. The white decorative steel support was probably very fashionable in the 1950s when the house was built, but in our opinion it is not one of the house's stronger assets.

Last fall Karen gave the support a couple coats of paint to match the trim color we used around the doors. This picture was taken when we progressed with the soffit project to the front entry and realized that if we were ever going to do something with the roof support, the time to act would be before we enclosed it with new soffit.

Since this picture was taken, we've progressed with the soffit a little closer to the support, but stopped long enough to decide that now is the time for the old post to go!

Since we've been attracted to craftsman/prairie style home features lately, we thought a tapered wood post would look more attractive on the front of the house than the old steel one. After agonizing over how to best construct the tapered post, we finally purchased some wood and found a friend knowledgable enough to help us build the thing.

This picture was taken in my friend Ken's garage/workshop where he demonstrated how knowledgable woodworkers do tricky things. Sitting on the table saw in this picture is a couple of pieces of pine scrap wood that Ken used to convince me that not only could he produce this post with tapered sides, but the corners could be mitered as well.

After measuring, and checking, and measuring again, and adjusting, we succeeded in cutting the first side of all four red oak boards. Here Ken is removing the guide board we used to cut the taper to the correct dimensions. Bob Vila also did something similar on a tapered porch column project he recorded.

The second side required more measuring and discussing to ensure we produced trapezoidal pieces instead of parallelograms!

Here's Ken preparing the cut boards so that we can nail three of them together. These oak boards are merely decorative as they will simply surround a 4x4 wood post that will do all the heavy roof lifting.

Three-fourths of the finished product! The taper is a little hard to discern in this photo, but it should show up nicely when the post is in place. Ken did a wonderful job cutting the pieces with nice sharp edges so the mitered corners went together great and look stunning. Stay tuned for future reports on the staining and installation of the post, as well as a before and after shot or two.

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