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Old 04-29-2008, 01:01 PM   #1
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Tapered square columns


What is the right way to build tapered square columns for a porch roof support. I'm sure there are right ways and wrong ways so I'd rather start with the right way.

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Old 04-29-2008, 01:15 PM   #2
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Tapered square columns


The ones I've seen always conceal the actual structural member. This is typically a steel pipe column, but could be a built-up column comprised of a number of studs.

The tapered outside of the column is usually made of various types of exterior grade plywood cut on a table saw using a tapering jig. The edges are beveled at 45* and biscuits are used for alignment and to strengthen the glue joint. Be sure to prime both faces prior to installation, and backprime all trim boards.

The tapered column itself should not bear any structural load.

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Old 04-29-2008, 01:22 PM   #3
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Tapered square columns


I'd put up a 4x4 post to support the roof structurally, and then build the tapered posts around that with 1x lumber or 3/4" MDO. Figure out how wide the column will be at the top and the bottom, and make a frame at the top and bottom of the post to be 1.5" smaller than the outside dimensions of the desired column. Rip the 4 sides to the proper tapering width (a really tall trapezoid), so top and bottom widths of each board match the top and bottom outside dimension of your desired column. Then rip the appropriate bevel on your edges (will be slightly less than 45 degrees). I'd probably put a little chamfer on the edges too, so there's not a sharp corner where the boards meet, but rather a small flat. Glue and nail 'em together.
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Old 04-29-2008, 03:02 PM   #4
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Tapered square columns


Like they said. If you are putting on a railing, I would leave the post a uniform cross section until you are above the top rail.
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Old 04-29-2008, 03:09 PM   #5
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Tapered square columns


Bear in mind that a 4x4 post is not always adequate to support the imposed loads in every case. I see a lot of scenarios where a 4x4 won't get it done...Just depends on the roof load.

MDO would be a great product to use!
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Old 04-29-2008, 05:05 PM   #6
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Tapered square columns


As stated by thectermite, the most important factor here is going to be determining and installing the correct posts. That is the structural point of the project.

Once that is all worked out, the point of the tapered column/post "covers" can be addressed, since they are asthetic.

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