That beautiful old wooden column at the salvage center can still be a perfect addition to your house, even if it is a bit too tall. Just trim down the column's shaft as described below.

1. Hook a tape measure to the top of the shaft—it's usually in better shape than the bottom—and make a mark at the point near the bottom where you need to trim. Do the same at six equally spaced points around the column's shaft.

2. Connect all the marks using a chalk line.

3. Strap a band clamp around the column a few inches above the cutline. This will keep the column staves from coming apart as you cut them.



4. Drill a 1/2-inch hole on the waste side of the cutline. The hole allows you to insert a jigsaw's blade so you can set the saw's shoe securely on the work before you start the tool.

5. Adjust the angle of the saw's shoe at about 4 or 5 degrees so the blade will cut a bevel tilted slightly toward the inside of the column. This back bevel will give you a tight, gap-free fit against the base.

6. Insert the blade in the hole and start sawing. As you follow the cutline, keep firm pressure on the front of the saw and on the side of the column closest to the clamp. When the cutting gets awkward, stop the saw and turn the column as needed. Continue until the cut is complete.

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