Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Porch Column Bases 5: The Sun King, or, What, you say, those bases don't match those columns? The Farmhouse Solution

So, a quick check-in on the hapless DIYers Capel and Sherry. We got stuck late last night, after hours and hours and dare I say hours of work.

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.

And so sleep on it we did. Or, in my case,  sleepless on it, for at least part of the night.

But lo and behold, I get home from work tonight, and voila -- Sun King!

Capel has found a solution, bless his heart. Where I see images of the Sun King, he sees the lowly farmer. "It's a farmhouse," he says. "Back in the 1850's they would have said, 'It's a gap. What do we have laying around to fill it in? Oh, cedar shingles. That's good.' End of story."

I laugh. Delighted. Whichever narrative you prefer, I had come to virtually the same conclusion, and Dan, good man that he is, had called to check on us in the afternoon, and said, too -- shim, shim, shim and then caulk. So, big sigh. Looks like we will be renting the house jacks for another weekend.

Thank you Decker Rentals for a very friendly weekly rental rate!

So, to sum up, here's where we are in general:

One column base secured, waiting to be shimmed.

One column base unsecured, half shimmed.

Two columns still up on makeshift perches, the paint beneath drying, like so:

Two Decker Rental house jacks, holding up the porch roof so it doesn't collapse.

And two columns we are certainly NOT touching until spring.

I took another 30 shots or so yesterday, of the entire process start to finish of the sawing, scraping, filling and painting process and will post those another night (see Porch Column Bases 4, or the link above).

Addendum, spring 2013: The entire story with instructions for replacing bases is tagged with the label "Replace Porch Column Base Series," which you will find along the right-hand side of the main Life at Pugsley blog page.  Or, you can go to the next in the series, about how we finished securing the columns to the new bases and the bases to the porch floor here.

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