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Measure for the height of the columns and cut 1 x 8s to the correct length on the miter saw.
Use the router to add flutes to the faces of all four sides. Measure up from the ends -- making sure to leave areas for the bottom and top trim, and mark a line. Mark a second line about 1-1/2" from the first.
To create the design, place a 1-1/4" spacer between the 1 x 8 and brace that's been nailed to the work surface. Clamp the 1 x 8 down and start routing the first outer flute. When the end is reached, stop at the first line. Turn the board around, clamp down and route the other outside flute.
To route the center flute, remove the clamps and spacer. Push the 1 x 8 against the guide, take a 1/2" spacer and set it atop the 1 x 8. Clamp down, and route it to the second pencil line to create a center flute longer than the outer flutes. With all of the boards routed, rip 45-degree angles down the backs for a good corner fit.
To assemble the columns, clamp a fluted board face down. Add wood glue to the mitered corners on one edge of two boards. Nail the two boards together. Turn the boards over and nail through the opposite side of the corners. Repeat this process until four half columns have been created.
Measure 1" from the front and side of the porch and mark for the base of the columns. Install a block of treated lumber onto the porch surface next to the lines. This is the block atop which the fluted columns will sit.
Over the larger block, center a smaller one to which the columns will be attached. Nail it in place. Under the canopy, install a small brace the same distance as the smaller block on the porch.
To install columns, set the half-section in place on top of the larger block. Nail it into the smaller block. Remove the temporary support, and nail it into the top block.
To complete the column, add wood glue down both mitered corners, and set the other half of the column in place and nail it into the blocking (image 1). Use a brad nailer to secure all the corners together over the length of the column (image 2). Repeat the process for all the columns.
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