Turning the Townhouse Columns

 The Strafford townhouse is one of the most admired examples of old architecture inVermont . Two of the balcony support posts were removed over a hundred years ago and I naively offered to make new ones.

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The bottom of the post is about 3 feet of octagon and  some beads and coves followed by about 62 inches of taper from 10 down to 7 inches. They are almost 11 feet floor to ceiling.  Note column left background.

Robinsons woodlot is providing the logs. This looks like a good straight one


Skid out the last of them. 3  twelve footers are for the town house posts, all from one tree. One is an extra in case events don't go as planned on the first pass.

Drop them on the trailer for the slow 10 mile trip to the mill yard.

Logs keep straighter and cleaner if stacked .

First step is to cut them square on the homegrown band mill.  The log is clamped against the backstops with these screw down dogs.

Saw is lined up, started and  part way through the first cut. Note sawdust spilling off left side.

This is the last cut to complete  the cant. The band mill is homemade mostly from scavenged metal. The base was once a mobil home bed. The shrouding was a 55 gal drum!

The finished cant needs layout lines for the octagonal cuts

The upper section starts with the taper , moves up to more beads and coves and then a 10.5 inch square on top about 9 inches deep. This is all being done in one piece.

Silas says  "Drop it over there"  while Rocky does most of the photography.

Skid them out with the log winch over the last of the spring snow.

Drag them down to the trailer.

Here Mike is skidding the logs off the trailer for milling. The sugar house is getting a rest this spring.

Moving the first one to the bunks for sawing. These are very heavy sticks.

Using a 12 by 12 pattern Mike draws lines for the saw cuts to get a square cant from the 16" pine log.

First cut is complete, the log rolled 90 degrees and second cut started.

The first cant is done and a second is headed for the bunks. Sawing snow is great. It lubricates the blade and keeps it cool.

Shorten the pine cant to about 11.5 feet

Add layout lines for changes in section - Octagonal to beads and coves to taper to square section .

Made 2 "V" blocks from the cutoff end to hold it edgewise on the mill .

Milling the corners down to the octagon, note V blocks. This saves a lot of turning.  The end must be left square for the design.The bottom 38 inches must remain octagonal to match preexisting columns. Continued on the lathe here.

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