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  • Craftsman-style Tapered Columns

    I'm trying to figure out the right proportions for Craftsman-style tapered columns. You know the kind that start with a square base for a few feet and then taper on up to the top.

    I understand there may not be a definitive answer based on all the variations I've seen in my research. Nevertheless, I'd appreciate your help in coming up with a general rule of thumb.

    These are for the front porch of a house. They will wrap around 6x6 posts. The bottom will be brick (to match the house) and the tapered tops will most likely be Western Red Cedar.

    Overall height is 102" tall. I have done a Sketchup drawing using a roughly 40/60 split. The base is 42" and the taper is 60".

    My instinct is to reduce the base a little more so that it's less prominent.

    Any insight you can offer would be helpful.

    Thanks!
    Attached Files
    Joe Adams
    Deep Creek Builders, Inc.
    Houston, Texas

  • #2
    Re: Craftsman-style Tapered Columns

    Joe, anyway you can post that drawing with dimensions? Going shorter with the base and taller with the column may make the column look too dainty and pencily...if thats a word. I like craftsman columns to have a more massive feel.
    -Dan

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    • #3
      Re: Craftsman-style Tapered Columns

      Heres a set on a home I just finished. The columns are MDO smooth face plywood that have been mitered.
      Attached Files
      -Dan

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Craftsman-style Tapered Columns

        Dans post bases look in proportion with the stoop in between them.
        Joe your base appears a little tall because it is standing by itself in the drawing.
        I'm sure there is a way to design it using the golden ratio or PHI, but I have no idea how....lol
        http://www.jpiercecarpentry.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Craftsman-style Tapered Columns

          There's no ratio--golden or silver. It's what looks good on the house and to the carpenter/designer. I've seen them slender and tall--and they look great; I've seen them broad and short and stout--and they look great. I think the one in your drawing looks great, too. It seems to me that's one thing you can't go wrong on as long as they taper enough to be noticeable. If the taper is too subtle, you'll lose the effect.

          Don't forget to look at this:
          http://www.garymkatz.com/TrimTechniq...d_columns.html

          Using a sled is a neat way of cutting the tapers, whether it's for one-sided casing or for columns. A lot of fun.
          Gary

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Craftsman-style Tapered Columns

            Originally posted by Gary Katz View Post
            Gary,

            I had already found and bookmarked your article on tapered columns.

            Thanks for creating such a GREAT resource.

            I really love your website.
            Joe Adams
            Deep Creek Builders, Inc.
            Houston, Texas

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Craftsman-style Tapered Columns

              cutting those tapers is the perfect job for a Tracksaw! But if you dont have one...a sled for your skillsaw or trimsaw will work just fine. The SU model looks great. I love Tapered Columns. Here is one that I really wanted to build but couldnt sell it to my customer...Bummer!
              Attached Files
              Jesse Wright
              www.archmolding.net
              www.jessewrightdesign.com
              http://www.facebook.com/pages/Archit...27731683955342

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Craftsman-style Tapered Columns

                Here is another drawing to try to put the columns more in perspective.

                The columns are on a 10x10' front porch of a one-story house with 9' ceilings. The column bases are 42" tall consisting of 18x18x39" brick and 20x20x3" cast stone beveled to 18x18". The upper portion tapers from 14x14" to 8x8" over 60". The beams are 6x12's. There is a timber truss resting on top of the beams as well as a porch roof but it's getting late and I'm too tired to draw it!

                I'm thinking of cutting the column base by one course of bricks to 39" overall.

                Archmolding - I always enjoy your drawings. I'm just learning Sketchup so I apologize for the simplicity of mine.
                Attached Files
                Last edited by Joe Adams; 10-08-2009, 12:30 AM. Reason: Typo
                Joe Adams
                Deep Creek Builders, Inc.
                Houston, Texas

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Craftsman-style Tapered Columns

                  Arch, here is a set of tapered columns in Spanish Cedar I did a few years ago that looks similar. The tapers were cut on a sliding table saw and the corners were rabbeted on a shaper so there was only 1/8" left on the ear of the rabbet. When they were glued up it looked like they had been mitered. It wasn't hard and saves all that trim detail around the edges.

                  I think I drew these when Sketchup was still owned by Sketchup.

                  Joe, I think your columns look proportioned very well in the drawing.
                  Attached Files
                  -Dan

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Craftsman-style Tapered Columns

                    Dan,

                    Thanks for the feedback and the pictures.

                    I have another set of tapered columns about 10' inside at the end of the main entry foyer that are intended to mimic the one's outside on the front porch. Is it okay if I use your design as a basis?
                    Joe Adams
                    Deep Creek Builders, Inc.
                    Houston, Texas

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Craftsman-style Tapered Columns

                      Sure, want me to email the sketchup file?
                      -Dan

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Craftsman-style Tapered Columns

                        That would be awesome. I sent you a private message with my email address.
                        Joe Adams
                        Deep Creek Builders, Inc.
                        Houston, Texas

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Dan - I love the ratio of the columns in the Crampton Exterior Door picture you posted.
                          I'd welcome the sketchup file you mentioned, would that be possible?

                          Thanks!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Traditionally, proportions of columns, either round or square, were governed by the relationships of diameter/length and stated as between 7and 11 X D for example. These varying proportions are based on a particular, architectural order, such as Corinthian, Tuscan etc. This also includes the square bases or pedestal details.

                            No one pays any attention to this stuff anymore but it usually looks better if you do. The ancient Greeks based most of their building proportions upon these rules, which in turn, were based loosely, upon their own, human anatomy.

                            You can google or gargle it

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