Is mitering the edge on column wraps a bad idea?

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Forum topic by MikeyCZ posted 03-14-2018 05:13 PM 268 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View MikeyCZ's profile


17 posts in 1336 days

03-14-2018 05:13 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cedar column column wrap mitered edge miter mitering exterior glue hollow column

Hello all,

I was asked to do some column wraps for a barndominium type residence that has 4” steel porch columns all the way around the house. I’m more of a furniture guy and want to make sure I do it right. They want 2×10 rough cedar to wrap the steel columns. My question is, would mitering the edges of the 4 sides of the column wrap be a bad idea as opposed to a butt joint? If mitered, I would glue and domino the mitered edges together. Anyone have experience with this? I’m worried that the miters would open up over time. In your opinion(s), what would be the best way to go about it? Would titebond 3 glue be suffiecient outside? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks


8 replies so far

View gwilki's profile


192 posts in 1406 days

#1 posted 03-14-2018 05:22 PM

I did something similar with fir 2×8’s. I used a mitrelock bit, in no small part, because I had one. It’s been 4 winters in Ottawa and they are still together. I did use Titebond 3. We’ve glued up exterior columns using poly glue like Gorilla and the Titebond product and they all seem fine, too.
I would think that miters with dominos would work well. You have a lot of glue surface and the dominos would ensure good alignment.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

View Loren's profile


10093 posts in 3580 days

#2 posted 03-14-2018 05:32 PM

I would use butt joints. Easier to get right imo.

I’d probably use biscuits for alignment. Plastic
resin glue will outperform PVA outdoors I think.

If you have to put them together around the
posts on site you might consider skipping the glue
and clamps and using nails or RTA hardware.
I’d hate to be working on site waiting for glue
to dry so I could use the clamps again.

View EarlS's profile


811 posts in 2281 days

#3 posted 03-14-2018 05:38 PM

I installed some columns on my front porch that were premade and as I recall they were pre-mitered with the miterlock. A good bead of Titebond III in the joints and some discretely placed screws (that were filled in and sanded) has kept them tight for 8+ years.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View MikeyCZ's profile


17 posts in 1336 days

#4 posted 03-14-2018 07:57 PM

Thanks guys. I’ve used Gorilla glue before and it can be a hassle with the foaming. Especially with the rough cedar boards that I can’t sand the squeeze out off afterward.

Loren – I planned on cutting and assembling everything in the shop or at least gluing up 2 sides and using the domino to have everything pre-mortised so I can quickly put it together on site and clamp. I like to do as much work as possible in the shop where I can control everything. Also, you were probably talking about nailing the butt joints but I wouldn’t feel comfortable not gluing or not using loose tenons for the mitered joint.

Earl & Grant – I don’t have a miterlock bit but was hoping the glue and enough dominos would be sufficient to keep the miters from pulling apart. I probably worry to much about this stuff. I just don’t want the column wraps to look like crap in a couple of years.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

581 posts in 95 days

#5 posted 03-14-2018 10:08 PM

Mikey – I often see this issue on the Home Builder TV shows.
it comes down to a few things that would determine the route of fabrication.
1. price
2. customer’s choice
3. aesthetic value for the building
4. your skill set, tools and space available in your shop

some people (my father, for example) hated to see end grain and refused to
just overlap butt joints in ceiling beams and support wraps.
his approach was to make the wrap look like a natural solid wood post or beam.
his tort was: anybody can nail boards together to make a box.
but, only the talented craftsman can make it look like a hewn beam with no noticeable seams or joints.
looking forward to seeing photos of your project.

-- Graduated Valedictorian from the University of HardKnocks --

View bilyo's profile


145 posts in 1035 days

#6 posted 03-14-2018 11:20 PM

Here is my 2 cents worth: I don’t like using mitered joints outdoors. Even if they don’t open up due to wood movement (and they almost always do), the thin edges of the miter will weather quickly and split, chip, etc. If these edges are located where someone will/can brush against it, splinters and clothing snags are likely. Maybe gluing will prevent this. Maybe. I prefer butt joints. Use glue and biscuits for alignment if you prefer. I would fasten with SS nails or screws. Galvanized will cause dark streaks on the cedar very quickly.

One other thing: If you are going to stain, paint, or otherwise finish the cedar, put the same number of coats on the inside prior to assembly. This will help keep the wood from cupping over time. I learned this the hard way with my cedar lap siding.

View MikeyCZ's profile


17 posts in 1336 days

#7 posted 03-15-2018 02:44 PM

Thanks John and Bilyo. I appreciate the responses.

I’m about to get started on them and right now I’m leaning toward the mitered edge. No visible seams are my preference. I’ll try to post some pics of the process and finished product. Thanks again guys.

View CaptainSkully's profile


1580 posts in 3491 days

#8 posted 03-15-2018 03:08 PM

If you go with mitered joints, I’d use a hefty spline to hold it together. It’s easy to do on a jobsite table saw and is very structural. I used this method on my large dining table legs to get quartersawn on all four sides and ten years later it still looks great.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

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