Go for the right method

Where to use and how to build are the deciding factors for success stories in antique materials

In construction, each material dictates its own approach. While all that red oxide flooring asks for is skilled hands; in cement block work, the material quality matters the most; detailing is most important for skylights; and weather protection is an overriding criterion for building with mud. This introduction seemed necessary to respond to the enquiries for the last column on antique pillars, where the right kind of location and application is more important than just being able to procure antique materials. Where to use and how to build with, decide the success stories of old carved wood.

Antique pillars

While walls can be built up to any height, antique pillars are short, hence need them in advance to match their heights with the masonry constructions. Though they are mostly found with sloping roofs, they can also be used for flat roofs by adding a brick or stone base to increase the effective height.

Let us never expose these pillars to sun and rain in a new place that they are not accustomed to, for the pillars deteriorate fast. While re-using pillars, the ends developing cracks is a common problem to be carefully attended to. It is better to leave the broken carvings least attended to without much repairing, since the new wood stands out creating a visual mismatch.

Matching the antique with the modern and points of their junction are among the most critical areas of concern. Concrete and wood may need a steel plate in between; a plain stone base may lift the wooden pillar above the floor protecting the base; metal pastes may neatly conceal an awkward joint, also stopping water penetration; clamps and bolts may do a better job than nails; and uninstalling carved four-sided capitals may help if the pillar has to simply meet a flat roof.

Natural materials

In the past all wood applications were made from natural materials, unlike today where chemicals dominate. The former ones would not seal the surface, letting the material breathe and perform differently during varying seasons.

The modern paints, sealants and polishes make wood impervious, in the name of protection, but allow internal dry rot. Hence it is imperative to work with carpenters who use traditional methods, be it linseed oil or hand working to ensure the material lasts. They can also distinguish the type of wood and treat it accordingly.

Re-used carved wood

Building with re-used carved wood demands patience and sensitivity. Once built, they demand time and maintenance. If we intend to use antique materials, it will be good to have not only pillars, but also doors, shelves and such others. Needless to say, the doors have to be bought in advance to ensure perfect fit into the door opening. Without such an overall ambience, antique pillars may look out of place. Mix and match of antique elements with modern construction may appear bad, taking away all sense of history! Let there be the visible touch of tradition.


Posted on April 7, 2012, in designs and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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