Beam Me Up

For the past few days, S and I have been working on building custom molding to cover the rather unattractive steel I-beam in our living room. So far there has been a lot of thought, measuring and bravery involved... but surprisingly the actual work has not been all that difficult.

We are basically building a fancy pine box that will slip neatly, we hope, over the beam. Then we'll cover the support post with matching pine molding. Since the beam is almost 24 feet long, we have to put it together in two 12-foot halves that will be connected with dowels. Step one was to cut two channels in the base so that the side pieces will line up properly. This took most of Saturday and about, uh, 3820 passes on the tablesaw.

Figure 1 (below) shows the bottom board with the channels cut. Figure 2 shows how the side pieces form the box. It also shows how we cut the channels too close together the first time (by a mile! idiots!) and had to carefully widen them with even more passes on the tablesaw. That was frustrating, but not the end of the world. If I hadn't just written it, no one would ever know!

After assembling the boxes, we had to cut out a notch on the one side to acommodate how the wall juts back about a foot to the right of the support post (see Figure 3 below). Figure 4 shows the assembled box with the notch carefully measured and cut.

And then there's the little stuff like sanding and puttying nail holes, which is time consuming but generally safe and stress-free. (I like this picture of S because his left arm looks like it belongs to He-Man! Grrrr!)

I know I haven't posted much about actual house progress lately, and this post is evidence as to why. This little project is boring, difficult and could potentially end badly. (I'm optimistic though!) But if all goes well, we could possibly finish this week. We've puzzled over this for months and had some pretty heated debates about how it would all work out, so hopefully all the hot air and college tuition will pay off.

My biggest concern: making the two boxes look seamless where they meet in the middle. We did some precision measuring and cutting, but... GULP! Wish us luck! Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. I think it will be fine. Just use some of the good brand wood putty to fill in any potential gaps. Good luck!


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