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How to Make a Tapered Wood Column: 9 Simple Steps

You want to make the exterior part of your home look unique. That’s why you’re planning on making a tapered wood column for the front porch. But not knowing how to can make things difficult and ruin your plans. 

How to make a tapered wood column?

Start making the top post of your column and install it afterwards. When that’s done, start preparing your tapered column. If it’s prepared, construct it. Once done, connect your column and top post together. Later create and build the bottom post. Focus on building your base now. Make and install your trims next. Don’t forget the part of sanding, caulking, and painting in the end. 

These are the simplified versions of the 13 steps. For a better idea, you should check out my entire writing. I’ve explained each step of the process. 

Let’s start!

Construct A Tapered Wood Column Yourself In 9 Steps

What’s the purpose of having a tapered column?  

It’s to make your building or house seem a little taller. And let’s not even forget about the aesthetics that remind you of the roman era. That’s why it’s like an ancient architectural trick!

Making the column comes with some specific steps. Here I’ve discussed 9 steps of making it-

Step 1: Gather the Necessary Equipment

Before starting any projects, you have to get the necessary tools first. For example, you’re trying to stain Aspen. In that case, you should obviously get a wood stain. 

Just like to make your tapered column, you need these-

  • Table saw
  • Plywood
  • Miter Saw
  • Nail gun
  • Sandpaper 
  • Screwdriver
  • Construction adhesive 
  • Glue 
  • Hand gloves 
  • Goggles 
  • Respirator

These are what you must collect! 

You may not have a good quality miter saw with you. In that case, here are my suggestions-

Product 1
Product 2

Get one to start the project!

Step 2: Make the Top Post of the Column

Once the tools are there, make your post. Do it by creating a beveled cap at the top. This should wrap up your post. 

At the bottom, the cap must have a rabbet cut. This will help in receiving the tapered cover of the plywood for your column’s upper part. 

Throughout this process, you’ll need to use your miter saw and table saw. That’s why make sure to use respirators. You can use a similar respirator that’s used while staining basswood.

Step 3: Install the Top Post

Once the post is ready, just install it. position the post, take the nails, and start hammering them down. Two nails at two corners for each post should be enough. 

If the posts are not level, level them by using a piece of wood. Insert it in the place that’s not leveled and then cut out the rest of it. 

Once the posts are set, start caulking. After that, sand down the posts a bit. 

Step 4: Prepare the Tapered Column 

Plan the tapered corner first. You need a length on the top and one at the bottom. The top will be smaller and the bottom will be bigger. For example, 4 inches wide up top and 9 inches wide at the bottom.

Transition the cut with your saw and connect 4 to 9. This line is created by attaching dummy plywood underneath with a nail gun. Go through trial and error to find the right shape. 

Use another dummy plywood to use as a guide and create the shape. Slightly tilt the dummy plywood to match the shape and use a nail to attach it. 

Cut the wood maintaining that line and the shape of one side will be done. Do the same to the other side. 


Create as many sides as you need for all the columns.

Step 5: Construct the Tapered Columns

After cutting the pieces, construct them. Get your glue and attach it to your post. 

You can use yokes for clamping the pieces. Keep the parts in line and use construction adhesive for the joints. This glue can be used for gluing engineered wooden floors.

Let it dry for an entire day. Once dried, discard the yokes. You can also sand the cover to make it smooth. 

Step 6: Connect the Column to the Top Post

Again use the construction adhesive. You need to use the nailgun as well to connect your column and top post.

Step 7: Make and Set Base Cap

Get yourself a solid 2×10 wood piece. Because this is necessary for making your base cap. 

The 2×10 wraps around your post. On the edge, it should have a bevel cut for shedding water.

In addition to that, it should also have a dado. This will help to receive your tapered cover. 

Join the corners with biscuits along with construction adhesive. Use 2″ nails to secure your corners. Glue is then used to fill in the dado. 

After this, the cap is set at the tapered cover’s bottom. Once done, the plywood’s edges get fitted into the dado that’s filled with glue. 

The adhesive here served as a glue that set the tapered cover in place. And it also seals your plywood’s lower edge against moisture. 

Your column base is considered a plywood box fitting under your cap. The box is first glued, then nailed on 3 sides. Once that’s done, put in cleats for securing the box both at the bottom and top. 

Step 8: Make & Install the Trims

When the bottom’s fourth side is set, attach the box and trim. Doing this would make it look similar to panel and frame construction. 

Cut the 2×4 into corners that look like the letter L. Once you do it, glue and nail those in their positions. 

At the top and the bottom, fit the blocks you’ve made. This will complete the overall look. If you want to create squares for more details.

Step 9: Sand, Caulk, and Paint

All you have to do now is sand the surface of the trims. This will make it easier to paint. 

Make sure to caulk the corners if needed. When to understand you have to caulk? 

You might see nail gaps or seam holes in the column. In this case, you have to caulk the gaps.  

Once the column is ready, paint it the way you please. But remember to use paint that has no flammable elements. Abide by the rules of paint safety

That’s it! 

FAQs

How do you make a wooden column?

You’ll need to choose the right material first. After getting the preferred wood, determine the column’s size. Use a table saw to get four pieces from the material. Put the pieces in place to get a L. Glue and nail them down together. This way you’ll assemble the pieces. Afterward, wrap your columns using nylon strap clamps and let it dry. Once all dried, sand, finish, and trim.

How do you make outdoor columns? 

Cut your PVC boards first to attach them to your wood post. Build your column box by attaching the leftover PVC boards. Add your bottom trims to the column now by  nailing after cutting them. Attach trims to your column’s top too. If there are any nail holes, fill them in with caulk.

How do you make decorative columns? 

You can make a column decorative through different methods. You can use any kind of wall art. Covering the columns with wood material can bring a classy look too. Your column can be decorative by adding mirrors or any center piece on it. If you want a rustic look, keep the columns unfinished. 

Final Thoughts

The whole process of how to make a tapered wood column seems easy now right? I tried my best to simplify every step so even beginners can understand. 

But make sure to always wear hand gloves and goggles while cutting the plywood. And wearing a respirator can prevent you from inhaling sawdust. 

That’s all! Good luck with your wood project!