How to Make Pillars for the House


Pillars and columns serve two main purposes. They provide structural support and reinforcement and make a strong design statement, adding a sense of stability to your space. Starting with a 4-by-4 post gives you 7,000 pounds of structural support and provides a nice core for building a pillar onto. These posts are commonly available in treated pine and cedar and can be ordered in other woods.

Things You'll Need

  • 4-by-4 posts
  • Hardwood lumber
  • Tape measure
  • Table saw
  • Miter saw
  • 3/4-inch thick baseboard molding
  • Pin nail gun
  • Wood glue
  • Cut a 4-by-4 post to the length of pillar you want. Cut down four pieces of 1-by-6 hardwood in your choice of grains to the length of the pillar and 4 1/4-inches wide. Cut eight pieces of baseboard 6 1/2-inches long in a wood grain matching your hardwood to wrap around the completed pillar. Cut a 45-degree miter at each end of each piece -- one right, one left -- to form a trapezoid.

  • Glue and nail one piece of the hardwood to the 4-by-4 post. Position it with the ends flush with the ends of the post and one long edge flush with the face of the post so that one long edge overhangs the post by 3/4 inch. Glue and nail the second piece with one long edge butted up to the overhanging edge of the first hardwood piece and the opposite edge flush with the edge of the post. Glue and nail the third piece overlapping the flush end of the second piece and the fourth piece fitted in the same manner to wrap the post.

  • Glue and nail four pieces of baseboard around each end of the pillar, with the top detail edge toward the center of the pillar and the flat bottom edge flush with the end of the pillar. Match up the corners of the 45 degree miters at each corner to form 90 degree corners.

  • Fill all nail holes and seams with solvent-based wood filler. Allow the filler to dry and sand the pillar with 150-grit sandpaper. Apply two coats of stain and finish with all-in-one or semigloss latex paint to complete the pillar. Use a soft, fine bristle brush to apply the finish in long straight strokes, working with the grain. Spread the finish as evenly as possible to prevent runs and drips. Allow the label-recommended drying time between coats and allow the finish to cure completely before handling.

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  • "Exterior Wood Columns"; John Leeke; 1991
  • "Wood Joists, Beams and Columns For Farm Structures"; Robert A Aldrich; 1961
  • Photo Credit front porch image by Steve Lovegrove from
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