Greek Revival Column Repair

The cantilevered portico was braced to prevent sagging, and the columns were held in place in pairs using 2x12s rigged to come-alongs anchored to the pediment above.

Repairing the colonnade involved rebuilding the porch, replacing rotted sections at the bottom of the non-structural columns, and eliminating makeshift plywood plinths that had been added in an earlier repair attempt.

Spanish cedar boards were milled into fluted staves using a William and Hussey VF06 molder. The custom-ordered knives, also from William and Hussey, cost around $150. It took one man one day to mill all the stock.

Sending each piece through the molder twice helped to avoid chattering while hogging out the 1/2-inch-deep cut for the fluted profile.

Starting with a long piece, five to seven custom-cut staves were installed on either side of a temporary 2x12 support, which was then removed so the final staves could be installed. Each segment joint was edge-glued with Titebond II and clamped with stainless steel screws driven at an angle every 15 to 20 inches.

As a final touch, the clients — who named the house “Copperheads” as a joke because of their red hair — commissioned custom handrails in the shape of snakes. They were made and installed by Horst Around the House in LaGrangeville, N.Y.

All told, the porch and columns took a three-man crew about two weeks to brace, demo, and build on site, including a day for milling.

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