How to Wrap an Architectural Column with Sisal

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Metal support columns that hold up heavy joist timbers are often found in basements. Covering these unsightly but necessary columns with wooden boxes is one way to hide the mechanics that hold the backbone of your house in place. But you can also cover these poles with sisal roping without tools or construction skills. Sisal roping can be especially interesting when used in primitive, Western or tropical decor.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/2-inch or 3/8-inch sisal rope (100 feet)
  • E6000 industrial glue
  • Hammer or rubber mallet
  • Wire
  • Small wood screws or brads
  • Large scissors or razor knife
  • Purchase 100 feet of sisal rope for each post you intend to wrap. Choose roping that is 1/2 inch or 3/8 of an inch in diameter, according to the look you desire.

  • Lay out the rope in long sections so it can "relax" for 24 hours. Do not wet the rope to make it relax: this will cause mold to form.

  • Cover 6 inches of the top of the metal post, all the way around the post, with E6000 industrial glue. This glue is found at most hardware stores or automotive stores.

  • Nail or screw the end of the sisal roping to the header joist above the column to form a starting anchor for the roping.

  • Begin turning the rope onto the metal post, pulling it tight as you go. As you complete a row, take a rubber-headed mallet or hammer and tap the bottom row of sisal to compact all of the rows together as tightly as possible. Press the sisal into the E6000 glue as you go. You should be able to cover the 6 inches of the glued area with eight to 10 complete turns of the rope before needing to apply more glue.

  • Cut off any remaining rope at the bottom of the post, leaving 6 inches. While keeping tension on the rope, hammer the end of the rope until it is flattened.

  • Apply a bead of glue on the last full turn of rope. Layer the last 6 inches of rope over this bottom turn. Secure this last turn with a piece of wire temporarily, or drive a small screw or brad through the end of the rope and into the rope below it.

  • Let the glue dry for 24 hours. Cut the top "tail" free from the overhead joist anchor and bind it to the top of the column in the same way the bottom free end was bound.

Tips & Warnings

  • Seal the rope with clear latex polyurethane if desired.
  • Use a trowel and gloves when applying E6000 glue, and make sure the workspace is well ventilated.
  • E6000 glue has a strong odor and is flammable. Handle it with care. Any smell will fade away as the glue dries.

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