Progress on the Pillar

The weather this November has been colder than usual. We have already had several snowstorms with the typical melt in between. The challenge was to cut the faux stone tiles outside while the weather was warm enough.

At first I used the grinder to make dry cuts but that made so much dust and I didn’t want to try to wear a mask on and off, in and out of the house to fit each piece. The weather got warm enough to use the tile saw which I have covered but have been storing outside. That proved a challenge too because the saw spit water and dust all over me. Otherwise it worked well except for when I had to cut the underside of a corner tile that didn’t fit under the saw body. So I used the grinder for some cuts.

Then out of the blue of course the switch stopped connecting and the saw would not run. I was able to take it apart, see the burnt out contacts, and buy another switch but didn’t want to take time during the good weather to fix the saw. I waited for the next break in the weather and used a small 7″ wet tile saw that belongs to my son in law. This is the one I used to fix the tile floor at my son’s house this summer. It also worked fine for days although it was even worse at spitting dust and water on me. I wore a rain jacket and had to wash my clothes on stain wash. My hair was filled with dust too even though I wore the hood. It got several double washings!

Dust  covered jacket from tile saw
Dust covered jacket from tile saw

Eventually the clay from the stone tiles jammed the blade. I had to take the saw apart and figure that out. While it was apart and getting cleaned I bought a new blade and installed it. I was hoping the new blade would cut without so much clay debris but it didn’t.

I could only do a couple of rows at a time because the tile needed to be shimmed and I thought multiple rows would make the lower rows slide down.

Shims in place
Shims in place

I was able to do two to three rows of tile each working day. That was thirty or so cuts of tile unless I broke one or needed to cut again to get the right size. About all I could handle in a day anyway. The pillar got covered slowly.

About 2/3rds covered
About 2/3rds covered

After another weather break I got a few more days of work in and the day before the next big snowstorm I had to run and get three more tiles. Then I was still cutting them as it got dark outside and I finally quit about 6 pm. I was tired and decided to finish the next morning.

Last rows not yet glued
Last rows not yet glued

The next day with snow starting to fall I cut the last few tiles to fit around the router cabinet. The last of the tiles were glued in with the tile adhesive and the pillar stone was laid!

Finished stone work on pillar
Finished stone work on pillar

Now it just has to be cleaned and sealed.

A friend posted a photo of the fireplace at Mount Princeton hot springs near Salida.

Fireplace at Mt. Princeton Hot Springs
Fireplace at Mt. Princeton Hot Springs

I’m pretty sure it is the same material. I noticed that no expensive corners were used, just the method of double stacking the corners that I figured out while I was working on the pillar. I never would have noticed that otherwise. I like the way they used the slate to inset the fireplace and build the hearth. I hope our pillar looks as nice.

The corners were twice as expensive as the flat pieces and I bought twice as many. Probably six boxes of four, plus four boxes of flats and then the three I needed to finish. I could not use all corners on the pillar because it would have wasted far too much tile so I figured out how to alternate the corners. The total tile cost was over $250. But the best part is that this is more finish work–maybe the house will have all its trim this time next year.

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