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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is the year I'm redoing the cemetery fence, to include adding an entrance gate with columns.

I'm building the fence, as well as the columns and gate. For purposes of my question, the columns will be a 2x2 frame with 1" insulation board and then I'll carve my brick pattern into the foam and paint. Columns will be 18" square and 68" tall with "stone" cap.

I've picked out some outdoor wall sconces that I want to mount to the front side of the columns - wired to a grounded extension cord so that I can easily remove for storage (the columns will up into the garage attic and I don't want to risk damaging the fixtures).

Recommendation on fixture box options and how to best mount? Do I use a deep box and mount so the surface is even with the front of the foam? Since I plan to pull the fixture off of the column and the connected grounded cord, is there a better option/way to mount the fixture?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Could I use a 1" box extension and just mount it to placed 2x2 framing? Thinking this would be the depth of the insulation board and allow a means to easily remove the fixture and wired extension cord.
 

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A bit hard to say based on the mental picture I've developed...it's a bit fuzzy despite your good description! lol. But as you mention 1" insulation foam, it would seem the better you can tie the box into some actual 'structure' - the 2x2's, the better off you'd be. What you 'might' be able to get away with - if you back the foam by applying a ~12" x 12" square of 1/4" plywood, then cut a hole through that for your box and use one of those 'remodel' style boxes. Those have tabs that flip out and would tighten against the plywood/foam sandwhich. Seems like that might give enough structure to work. But I think getting into actual framing would still be better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What I'm trying to navigate is that most wall fixture boxes only have access holes large enough for wiring because they are designed for being hard wired. I plan to wire the fixture to an extension cord to convert it to a plug in fixture. So, I ideally need a mounting box that has a large enough wiring hole to accommodate a grounded plug.

That had me looking at extension boxes - which are designed to mount to the surface of an existing fixture box and extend the sides and fixture mounting tabs out (usually to accommodate siding, brick, drywall, etc.). The advantage of these is that they are for the most part, open in the back, since they are intended to provide access to the box it is extending. I could mount this to bracing in the column frame, feed the plug in cord through the opening and then mount the fixture to the extension box. Issue, however - they come in 1.5" depth, and I ideally need 1".

I could consider drilling a larger hole in a standard box and just mount to the needed depth between bracing in the column - or I could try to use an extension box and mount it 1/2 recessed dipper than the surface of the foam. Both are probably valid option - but figured someone else has navigated this before given the number of columns I see with sconce lighting.
 

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I did something similar in a pair of columns I built a few years ago. I used 1/4 plywood so I was able to get away with using standard single gang boxes. I used a short length of 14 gauge romex inside the column with a three prong plug connected to one end which I will leave a link for. The wire & plug stayed inside the column and I used standard twist connectors inside the box which allowed me to disconnect the light fixture inside the box for storage. If you are looking for a more plug & play type setup then I would just use a hole saw in the backside of the box to drill out a hold large enough for the plug to pass through. I would use an extension box connected to the single gang box to keep the light fixture from digging into the foam. I know they come in multiple depths but if you can only find 1.5" just trim it down to 1".
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I did something similar in a pair of columns I built a few years ago. I used 1/4 plywood so I was able to get away with using standard single gang boxes. I used a short length of 14 gauge romex inside the column with a three prong plug connected to one end which I will leave a link for. The wire & plug stayed inside the column and I used standard twist connectors inside the box which allowed me to disconnect the light fixture inside the box for storage. If you are looking for a more plug & play type setup then I would just use a hole saw in the backside of the box to drill out a hold large enough for the plug to pass through. I would use an extension box connected to the single gang box to keep the light fixture from digging into the foam. I know they come in multiple depths but if you can only find 1.5" just trim it down to 1".
Are your columns skinned with 1/4" ply - or did you add it to the section just behind where you mounted your light? And then did you use old work style fixture box secured to the ply? Shallow box mounted to the ply? Just trying to flush out options of which box type and how mounted to be flush to the surface of the 1" thick foam.

Just using wire nuts to attach was one option I considered as well, but figured I'd just convert the light to be plug in and feed the cord into the fixture box and then into the column when setup. I picked these up for that purpose (wanted them long enough to feed out the bottom of the column) -


Not exactly how I'm going to build my frame - but this a good representation for this purpose.

Furniture Product Rectangle Parallel Font


And I think these are the fixture boxes I picked up from Menards. Thinking I could mount to 2x2 cross framing in the column (planned to put one above and one below the fixture box for extra stability and then using the mounting screws, mount to the top one). I haven't measured where the mounting screws are in comparison of the box depth - to see if I can mount it so that it's flush to the front of the foam or not. I'd need to drill out the back of the fixture box to feed the plug through.

 

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Those columns were skinned with 1/4" plywood. I added a piece of framing which the new work box mounted to. Those columns are still in storage at the moment or I would take some photos of the interior for you. I do have a couple photos of them I will add. I think that box would work just fine, if you are trying to mount it flush maybe secure it through the back of the box instead of the side. Offset a piece of framing to one side of the box so that you still have room to drill a hole for the plug on the other side. Then depending on what you are using to frame the column with you may just have to play with spacers where the framing the box is attached to meets the column framing to get the depth right. I am acutally currenty working on some new columns which are skinned in 1" foam that are almost identical to the framing you shared. They are a little larger, and I put the supports 12inches on center which may be overkill but it made me feel better. I connected everything using pocket hole screws and glue again probably overkill but I wanted to make sure that they would last for years to come. I can share some photos of them if you want to see how I put them together. These will have post lights on the caps so I didn't have to worry about the mounting box on the side, I just purchased the bases for them which will screw down onto the caps once I get them built.

Old Column1 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr

Old Column2 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Those columns were skinned with 1/4" plywood. I added a piece of framing which the new work box mounted to. Those columns are still in storage at the moment or I would take some photos of the interior for you. I do have a couple photos of them I will add. I think that box would work just fine, if you are trying to mount it flush maybe secure it through the back of the box instead of the side. Offset a piece of framing to one side of the box so that you still have room to drill a hole for the plug on the other side. Then depending on what you are using to frame the column with you may just have to play with spacers where the framing the box is attached to meets the column framing to get the depth right. I am acutally currenty working on some new columns which are skinned in 1" foam that are almost identical to the framing you shared. They are a little larger, and I put the supports 12inches on center which may be overkill but it made me feel better. I connected everything using pocket hole screws and glue again probably overkill but I wanted to make sure that they would last for years to come. I can share some photos of them if you want to see how I put them together. These will have post lights on the caps so I didn't have to worry about the mounting box on the side, I just purchased the bases for them which will screw down onto the caps once I get them built.

Old Column1 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr

Old Column2 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
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Those look great! Similar fixtures to ones I was considering.

The fixture boxes I picked up attach with screws through the top of the box positioned in the box that I can offset the box so the face is flush with my foam without issue (I confirmed which ones I have and checked it against the depth of my foam sheets). So, I think I'll just have bracing in my framing ran horizontal and spaced to fit the box in-between them (2 horizontal 2x2's spaced to allow the fixture box to sit in-between and secure the box to the top 2x2 it sits between). Drill a hole through the back of the box to fit the plug through, and should be good.

I will most likely use pocket hole screws as well.

My column width is being determined by the opening into my attic storage where these will be stored, so my finished size will be 18"x18" and 68" tall. The top will be removable, so, I don't have to factor that into the width. I'm building a base from 2x4's and then putting a piece of 1/2 ply on top of that. I'll build a frame like the one above out of 2x2 on top of that for the desired finished height. The 2x4 base give the bottom some heft, the ply gives me a solid bottom to secure PVC to that rebar will be pounded through when installed and the gap between the ground and ply keeps material off of the ground to help with wear and water damage. I'm planning on above ground treated lumber for all wood, including the 2x2 frame. My finished surface will be carved/painted to match retaining walls in other areas of the front yard, which are 6" high courses. Columns will be 66" plus the cap (11 courses). This makes them approx 2 courses taller than my gate tops and prepped for a future addition of upright poles to hold an arched sign over the gates. Adjacent fence sections are 40" tall, and gates between the columns are 51" tall at the highest point with the toppers on the gates.

I'm also planning on having the back of the column removable.

I'd love to see pics of your build. I'm still in rounding up the supplies stage - as we've had rain here and I don't have an indoor area to work on a project this size.
 

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Sounds like you are well on your way to having the columns figured out. I wish I had the attic space to store my stuff, perhaps with proper planning I could have. Your yard setup sounds very similar to mine, we moved to a new home at the end of last year which has a 4ft retaining wall about 16ft from the front door. The front yard has a semicircular driveway so I need four columns which is the reason I am building new ones this year. I do atleast have a garage that I can build in, but I did think about getting one of those portable carports so I would have a place to spray paint the fence panels I built this year out of the weather. Here are a few photos of the columns I am working on, hopefully they are helpful.

Columns2 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr

Columns3 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr

Columns4 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sounds like you are well on your way to having the columns figured out. I wish I had the attic space to store my stuff, perhaps with proper planning I could have. Your yard setup sounds very similar to mine, we moved to a new home at the end of last year which has a 4ft retaining wall about 16ft from the front door. The front yard has a semicircular driveway so I need four columns which is the reason I am building new ones this year. I do atleast have a garage that I can build in, but I did think about getting one of those portable carports so I would have a place to spray paint the fence panels I built this year out of the weather. Here are a few photos of the columns I am working on, hopefully they are helpful.

Columns2 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr

Columns3 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr

Columns4 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
2x2 corner framing and 1x2 cross bracing? Pocket hole assembled - nicely done. What will be the finished dimensions?

Curious - looks like you secured the foam board with screws versus adhesive - share you thoughts on why that was preferred?

Also, what are you using to skim the screw heads, seams and scoring on the pressured foam sheets?

Wish I was that far along already.
 

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2x2 corner framing and 1x2 cross bracing? Pocket hole assembled - nicely done. What will be the finished dimensions?

Curious - looks like you secured the foam board with screws versus adhesive - share you thoughts on why that was preferred?

Also, what are you using to skim the screw heads, seams and scoring on the pressured foam sheets?

Wish I was that far along already.
They have 2x3 corner framing & the bottom cross piece on each side is also 2x3, the others are 1x3. Thats mainly due to lumber pricing in my area right now, but I think it worked out well I like the weight that the 2x3's added to the framing. I also added a 1/2" plywood bottom which will allow me to add sandbags inside of the columns if I need more weight. Once I skinned the framing with the 1" foam the basic column is 20" wide by 72" tall; the band around the base is 12" tall by 22" wide, and the caps that I am still working on are 24" wide by 6" tall so the overall column will be about 24" wide by 78" tall.

I actually used both screws & adhesive, the screws just worked as clamps to keep the foam in place while the adhesive cured. I am not sure screws alone would work out too well, but using them with the adhesive allowed me to continue working on the columns without clamping the sides and waiting for it to cure.

To skim everything I have been using vinyl spackling and it seems to be working pretty well. I used it on some other foam tombstones and such that I built earlier this year with pretty great results. For any gaps larger than 1/8" I use expanding foam in first.

It seems to be going slower than I anticipated in my head, but considering I started them on Saturday I guess its not too bad. I am sure yours will come together quickly as soon as the weather cooperates.
 

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Those columns were skinned with 1/4" plywood. I added a piece of framing which the new work box mounted to. Those columns are still in storage at the moment or I would take some photos of the interior for you. I do have a couple photos of them I will add. I think that box would work just fine, if you are trying to mount it flush maybe secure it through the back of the box instead of the side. Offset a piece of framing to one side of the box so that you still have room to drill a hole for the plug on the other side. Then depending on what you are using to frame the column with you may just have to play with spacers where the framing the box is attached to meets the column framing to get the depth right. I am acutally currenty working on some new columns which are skinned in 1" foam that are almost identical to the framing you shared. They are a little larger, and I put the supports 12inches on center which may be overkill but it made me feel better. I connected everything using pocket hole screws and glue again probably overkill but I wanted to make sure that they would last for years to come. I can share some photos of them if you want to see how I put them together. These will have post lights on the caps so I didn't have to worry about the mounting box on the side, I just purchased the bases for them which will screw down onto the caps once I get them built.

Old Column1 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr

Old Column2 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
How did you add the candle look to the light fixture?
 

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How did you add the candle look to the light fixture?
The candle is just a short length of pvc pipe and I am sorry but I don't remember what size it was. I know that it was just slightly smaller than the light socket and I used a Dremel with a sanding drum to remove some material on the inside of it until it slipped over the socket. After that I just spray painted them, added hot glue and installed a flicker bulb. The color I used to paint them I know is no longer available but I still have the can and it was a Valspar paint called Whipped Apricot. Your haunt is looking excellent this year so far btw; I caught your video over on Youtube last night of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
@Riff_JunkieSFR I noticed that you used pocket screws for both joints where your 1x3 material connects to the 2x3 uprights. Can I do the same if all of my material is 2x2? Seems like a lot of screws to be going to the same area of a 2x2.

Thought I'd check before I try and end up splitting wood at this point.
 

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@Riff_JunkieSFR I noticed that you used pocket screws for both joints where your 1x3 material connects to the 2x3 uprights. Can I do the same if all of my material is 2x2? Seems like a lot of screws to be going to the same area of a 2x2.

Thought I'd check before I try and end up splitting wood at this point.
There is possibility that it will happen especiallly because of the randomness of wood grain. With that size material I would only run one screw per joint and of course add a quality wood glue to reinforce it. The pocket holes even though close together should be running in parallel trajectories from each other making the most out of the small space so they do not collide with one another. Again wood grain is always a factor and it is always possible to split it but fixing it is pretty easy. If you do happen to split it while driving a screw before backing the screw out force wood glue into the split then back the screw out and wipe off the excess glue. Then clamp the wood in place, at this point you can either let the glue cure or try driving it the screw again to see if it will hold without spliting it again before releasing the clamp. I would also suggest only using self drilling pocket hole screws for this task as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
There is possibility that it will happen especiallly because of the randomness of wood grain. With that size material I would only run one screw per joint and of course add a quality wood glue to reinforce it. The pocket holes even though close together should be running in parallel trajectories from each other making the most out of the small space so they do not collide with one another. Again wood grain is always a factor and it is always possible to split it but fixing it is pretty easy. If you do happen to split it while driving a screw before backing the screw out force wood glue into the split then back the screw out and wipe off the excess glue. Then clamp the wood in place, at this point you can either let the glue cure or try driving it the screw again to see if it will hold without spliting it again before releasing the clamp. I would also suggest only using self drilling pocket hole screws for this task as well.
I actually assembled one panel with only one screw per joint, and it readily twisted (didn't use glue). But, after assembling, discovered that my nominal 2x2 wasn't even actual 1.5x1.5 - so all of my cut plans that assumed 1.5x1.5 were off - so since I was recutting, I opted to use two screws per joint this time around.

And as I type this - I have 2 ends of the 2x2's clamped and gluing for splitting with just the one joint secured (2 pocket screws in a 1.375x1.375 area, further compromised by rounded edges is a bit delicate depending on the grain).

I think I'm leaning towards staggering the cross pieces, and if needed for a flat surface, just using blocking at the ends.
 

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I actually assembled one panel with only one screw per joint, and it readily twisted (didn't use glue). But, after assembling, discovered that my nominal 2x2 wasn't even actual 1.5x1.5 - so all of my cut plans that assumed 1.5x1.5 were off - so since I was recutting, I opted to use two screws per joint this time around.

And as I type this - I have 2 ends of the 2x2's clamped and gluing for splitting with just the one joint secured (2 pocket screws in a 1.375x1.375 area, further compromised by rounded edges is a bit delicate depending on the grain).

I think I'm leaning towards staggering the cross pieces, and if needed for a flat surface, just using blocking at the ends.
Glue is definately going to be your friend for this build. 1.375" is going to be pretty tough to work with; I will have to remember to be on the lookout for that next time I pick up 2x2s. I would also stagger the cross pieces out to help try to eliminate the splitting as best you can. If its not working out and you need to step back down to one screw per joint; you can also use a 2" or longer brad nail fired through the corner framing back into the cross piece once the screw has been secured to make the joint stiffer. You can also use diagonal bracing on the inside of the frame going from the top corner to the opposite bottom corner on each side and fasten it with screws through the face of the cross pieces; I would probably pre drill for this to make sure no splits occur.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Glue is definately going to be your friend for this build. 1.375" is going to be pretty tough to work with; I will have to remember to be on the lookout for that next time I pick up 2x2s. I would also stagger the cross pieces out to help try to eliminate the splitting as best you can. If its not working out and you need to step back down to one screw per joint; you can also use a 2" or longer brad nail fired through the corner framing back into the cross piece once the screw has been secured to make the joint stiffer. You can also use diagonal bracing on the inside of the frame going from the top corner to the opposite bottom corner on each side and fasten it with screws through the face of the cross pieces; I would probably pre drill for this to make sure no splits occur.
So, if I’m not past the point of taking joints apart to glue, should I?

I have the front and back panels framed. The close horizontal braces are for the wall sconces.

Wood Fixture Door Facade Rectangle


Fixture Wood Home door Symmetry Door
 

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So, if I’m not past the point of taking joints apart to glue, should I?

I have the front and back panels framed. The close horizontal braces are for the wall sconces.

View attachment 21745

View attachment 21746
They are looking pretty good so far. As far as glueing I would say that in my experience any wood joint that I want to make permanent I always glue it. Any movement in the joints of your framing is going to allow the joints of the foam to flex.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
They are looking pretty good so far. As far as glueing I would say that in my experience any wood joint that I want to make permanent I always glue it. Any movement in the joints of your framing is going to allow the joints of the foam to flex.
As it turned out, good I hadn't glued originally as my spacing for the braces for the scones accommodated the needed gap to feed the grounded plug through, but not the spacing for the outlet cover I'm using to mount the fixture to - so both had to be spaced out a bit further. Which then meant the matched brace on the other two got moved too (if I ever want/need cross bracing or mods to support the rebar or a sign upright, I wanted easy ability to put in cross braces between the side bracing later).

My fixtures are inexpensive options from Amazon, and the back plate is narrower than a fixture box, and the included mounting hardware are wood screws - definitely not intended to mount to a fixture box. So, after lots of considerations for how to mount so that I can remove for storage, I opted to use an outlet cover. The cover will mount to the bracing, and the light will mount to the cover. I can thread screws through the fixture plate in into the threaded holes in the plate. For redundancy, I can use a box mounting bracket on the back side and some wing nuts.

Wood Automotive tire Camera lens Hardwood Gas



This is the fixture from Amazon. I'm gong to use a flicker bulb. My cemetery has a very gothic style to it and the open diamond pattern in these match well with the finials and gate toppers.

Lamp Lighting Street light Amber Material property
 
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