Our company operates a woodshop in Chatham, Mass., where we design and build a variety of products from custom cabinets to one-of-a-kind pieces. We were recently hired by a local home builder, Steven Nickerson, to make several unusual porch columns for a custom home he was building on a site overlooking the ocean. The inset porch has living space above, which is supported by three structural posts that carry a heavy engineered lumber beam. The design called for three PVC columns to conceal the structural posts, along with four identical columns that would be purely decorative, including two pilasters set...

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