We got a lot accomplished during the day, separated the other two columns from the existing bases, scraped, filled and painted the floor underneath them (all described here), got one new base put in and then, at the end of a very long, hard day, when I was putting the first nail into the second new base by lamplight, I knelt over to see how well the nail had gone in and realized I was looking straight through a giant--and I mean GIANT gap--between the column and base, looking alarmingly straight through the whole thing into the light the 250 watt worklamp was casting into my prized azaela bush, only a teeny tiny fraction of one edge of the column touching the base. The rest angled up at an alarming crazymaking angle, enough so that I could stick my whole finger into the gap -- at least a good 5/8 inch. I almost cried.
It never occurred to me that the columns might not come out level at the bottoms. But of course. Should. Have. Guessed.
After a very little bit of discussion about it, which involved Capel's suggesting we plug the entire gap with epoxy (I envision uncontrollable goo oozing out everywhere) and my suggesting that we remove the base and saw off the bottom of the column to make it level (he envisions some impossible shenanigans causing an awful lot of swearing)--neither idea a very pleasing prospect--, I threw up my hands and said, "I'm done for the night. Let's sleep on it."
I tried to feel good about the column we'd finished. Took one snap of it and went to take a bath (in my new bathtub. Yeah!)
Though even that one has a pretty ugly gap between the column and the base, like so. It's just hard to feel satisfied when the darn thing doesn't look good at all after so much work.