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Turning with Temple: Porch Posts

by Temple Blackwood
Castine, ME

Note: click on any picture to see a larger version.

In the spring of 2012, one of our high-end local general contractors, Scott Vogel, approached me for some help renovating his contracting and real estate office building. He needed help with repairs to the existing porch columns and turning two additional new columns to provide the additional support needed for the sagging apartment floor above. The white clapboard four-story building, originally built in the 1800's as a home on the steep hill up from the harbor in Castine, Maine, was purchased in the late 1800s by Scott's grandfather. He added on an octagon tower, and remodeled it to become his real estate office on the ground floor with two rental apartments in the upper floors. Scott's grandfather also owned the Castine Inn immediately next door up the hill, as well as several other businesses in the town.

Over the years, the building housed a number of different businesses on the ground floor. In the 1990s it hosted a local bank, prior to Scott taking it over for his own busy Coastal Concepts (a general contracting, rentals, and property management company) and his very successful Castine Realty. As part of his plan, Scott saw an opportunity to restore and improve the building to carry out his grandfather's original intent.

The existing porch posts had deteriorated somewhat over time from the rugged weather blowing into the Castine harbor from Penobscot Bay. The wide spans between the posts allowed the sill for the apartment wall above to sag and droop. Scott's solution/design was to replace the plate above with a steel beam, and to add two additional posts. This allowed him to re-position all of the posts to shorten the distance between posts, while centering the front door to the business offices.

Below is the process (in photos) of creating those posts:

Set-up on the lathe, and turn the posts to match.

Then set up the equipment to guide/control the router.

Because these posts have six bines, the Masonite template that will be attached to the post for positioning the cuts is marked with the six points (as in photo). A compass set to the exact radius length, will "walk" (mark) around the circle establishing six equal parts.

Setting up the critical parts.

Assembling the parts.

Processing the turned column and adding the twists (bine).

Finishing up.

Finished product.

Finished project.

You can email Temple at temple@highlandswoodturning.com

Take a look at Temple's Website at http://www.highlandswoodturning.com/ .

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