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Split Column, Cap, and Base Assembly

Assembly Instructions for a Split Column:

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Photo 1

Draw a line on both sides of the pipe to be cut. Use a lead pencil, grease pencil or masking tape. Pipe can be cut with a thin fine blade on a circular or jig saw. Make sure that the pipe is secure before cutting. (Photo 1.)

Cut the cap and base into halves using a bandsaw, hacksaw, miter saw, or fine-cut Japanese saw, such as the Multi-Angle Saw (10-2311) by Sharksaw. Try to use the same blade thickness to cut both the pipe as well as the cap and base.

To join the two halves of the pipe back together, first cut pieces from pipe ends of the same diameter pipe to create cleats (cleat size: approximately 6 inches wide by 10 inches tall). These 6-inch PVC cleats will be installed on the inside of one half of the split pipe so 3 inches of the cleat overhang the cut edge. (Photo 2.)

Photo 2

Photo 2

Clean the cleats and the inside of the pipe half with PVC cleaner along the gluing areas. Apply PVC adhesive to half the width of the cut pipe pieces and clamp into place. Be sure to leave the half of the cleat with no adhesive projecting to the outside of the cut pipe's edge. This will be used later to form a lap joint to secure the second half of the pipe. Allow the adhesive to cure as recommended by the PVC adhesive manufacturer. (Photo 2.)

Note: If you have ample extra pipe, you can also cut longer or full-length pieces of pipe for cleats.

When the adhesive on the cleats has dried, position the two column halves around the support post. Stand them in place before gluing to make sure the two halves line up properly. Tape or clamp (using nylon strap clamps) the two halves together "dry" (without adhesive) and predrill holes about 1 inch in from the pipe edges and about 6 inches apart from the top to the bottom of the pipe making sure the holes land on the cleats.

Photo 3

Photo 3

By assembling the column shaft dry, i.e., before gluing, you can check the assembly alignment. Strap clamps and screws in the cleats will help to pull the column back into the round again. The screws can be removed once the adhesive joints have dried, or (depending on the thickness of the pipe) you could countersink the screws so they don't have to be removed.

Photo 3, for illustration only, shows a partial installation so you can see half a column and half a cap in place. I recommend that during actual cap and base installation you rotate the cap and base seams so they will be opposite the column's seams. Do not line up the cap and base seams directly over the column's seams.

When you are satisfied with the fit of the column, remove the screws and pull the two halves apart. Next, clean the protruding cleats and the area inside the second pipe to which the cleat will be attached using adhesive. Have a helper hold the two standing column halves in place and apply PVC adhesive to the protruding cleats and the column's cut edges. Make sure that all surface areas have enough adhesive on them for maximum adhesion—and work quickly as this adhesive sets up fast! Quickly bring the two halves together, apply the strap clamps, and reinstall the screws. To secure the column in the correct place, use 1-inch metal brackets: two at the top and two at the bottom using screws.

Assembly Instructions for Split Cap and Base:

Photo 4

Photo 4

The kit comes with 4 black plastic 1-inch L-brackets to secure the two halves of the cap and base together. They are also used to mount the cap and base to the ceiling and floor securely around the column. First, however, use PVC adhesive to secure the brackets to the inside of one half of the cap or base. Place one half of the cap or base (back down) on a flat surface and then lay one bracket flat with the predrilled holes facing down on the surface. Leave half of the bracket length exposed from the pipe half's cut edge. This protruding bracket will be used to attach the second half of the cap or base. After applying adhesive, install the bracket and hold it in place with a clamp until the adhesive has set. (Photo 4.)

Photo 5

Photo 5

Photo 5 shows one half of the cap attached to the ceiling using plastic L-brackets. To give you a better view, the column was not installed around the support post.

Do a dry run of both halves of the cap and base around the column to check the overall fit and to mark on the ceiling or floor where the first half will be installed. Remove your pieces and fasten the first half with a screw through the pre-punched holes in the L-bracket. Then spread PVC adhesive on the protruding L-bracket on the cut edges of the cap and base. Quickly assemble the second half and hold it in place while a helper applies a clamp to allow the adhesive to set. Photo 6 shows stretch wrap holding the cap together while the adhesive sets. As I mentioned, when installing caps and bases rotate them so their seams are the opposite the column's seams. Do not line up the cap and base seams directly over the column's seams.

Photo 6

Photo 6

The final stage of installation comes once the adhesive has set. Sand off any excess adhesive and fill any screw holes or seam gaps with automobile Bondo and sand. This stage will determine whether or not you have a professional looking project, so be sure to check all joints. After you apply the oil-base primer, look again at the joints—you don't want to see a seam. If you do, sand the joint using 150-grit white 3M TRI-M-ITE sandpaper. Follow the contour of the pipe as you sand so you do not sand in a flat spot. Now reapply primer; if you can no longer see a seam, you are ready to apply the finish coat of paint. If there's a gap between the column and the cap or base, fill it with a quality paintable-grade caulk.


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