How to Build Decorative Wood Columns

Written by wade shaddy
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How to Build Decorative Wood Columns
You can build your own wood columns with a table saw. (Esquina de patio interior en Tordesillas image by anscario2005 from

Decorative wood columns are often found in ornate homes and commercial buildings. Homes with open ceilings and architectural mouldings are set apart from the ordinary by columns. Make your own decorative wood columns. Place them in your entryway, alcove or anywhere you want a more elegant look in your home. Build them out of a hardwood of your choice using only a table saw, some nylon hand clamps and a few other small items.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • 8 hardwood pieces , 72-inch by 4-inch by 3/4-inch
  • Table saw
  • Wood glue
  • Masking tape
  • 5 nylon strap clamps
  • Glue scraper
  • 100-grit sandpaper

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  1. 1

    Tilt the table saw blade to 22.5 degrees. Run all 8 pieces of hardwood lengthwise through the saw on both sides. Trim down the full length of the board on one side, turn it around and run the other side, creating a mitred edge on both sides. You should now have eight boards with a 22.5 degree mitre along both sides of each board. These are the eight boards that will make up the round column when all the mitred edges are put together edge to edge.

  2. 2

    Lay out all 8 boards parallel with each other on a worktable with the mitred edges facing each other. Let the boards' edges hang off the end of the table. Run a bead of glue along the mitred edge of two of the pieces.

  3. 3

    Place one board on top of the other and squeeze together with both hands. Hold for a minute until the glue begins to set. Turn the two adjoining boards on their sides, with a glued edge facing up. Tape the boards together with the masking tape by running six pieces of tape, perpendicular and evenly spaced, across the glued joint from one end to the other. Join together the six remaining pieces in the same manner, two-at-a- time, until you have four identical pieces glued and taped together.

  4. 4

    Run a bead of glue lengthwise along the mitred edges of all four pieces.

  5. 5

    Stand all four pieces up against a wall. Using both hands, bring the pieces together forming the column. Stretch tape across the joints as you assemble the column.

    The 22.5 degree mitres added together make up an outer circle, an octagon with a hollow centre.

  6. 6

    Stretch one of the strap clamps over the top of the column. Bring it down to waist length and tighten slightly. Place one clamp on the top of the column. Place another clamp between those two. You should have three clamps, starting at the waist and going up to the top of the column.

  7. 7

    Turn the column upside down. Place one clamp on the top, and one between the middle and top clamp. Tighten equally all the clamps. Let the glue dry for one hour. You should now have six clamps evenly spaced along the length of the column.

  8. 8

    Remove the clamps and then peel off all the tape. Scrape off all residual glue with the glue scraper. Sand the column with 100-grit sandpaper until smooth.

Tips and warnings

  • Work quickly once you start spreading the glue. Have an assistant help you with the assembly part. For a smoother, rounder looking column, sand off the edges of the column with a belt sander.
  • Always wear safety glasses when working with woodcutting tools.

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