Exterior door trim

The front door of our house has what a little searching tells me are called "fluted pilasters" on either side. Style-wise, they look very much like this:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Fypon-90-in-x-9-in-x-1-5-16-in-Pilaster-Fluted-Economy-Molded-Plinth-Smooth-PIL9X90E/203282011?cm_mmc=shopping-_-googleads-_-pla-_-203282011&skwcid&kwd=&ci_sku 3282011&ci_kw=&ci_gpa=pla&ci_src588969#.UnOt8lP-2Jo
... but mine are made of wood and are 60-odd years old and rotted at the bottom. I could buy replacements like the one shown, or possibly more expensive ones I have seen elsewhere. But so far those have been made of some non-wood substance. So I have a few questions.
Firstly, I assume those non-wood substances don't rot, but I wonder about their general toughness. When I carry luggage or my music gear through that door, will I take a bite out of the trim if I hit it?
Second, the price of some of the pilasters I have seen so far would buy me a plunge router. Would I be crazy to consider making the pilasters myself? What's there now is made of several pieces; the "plinths" are separate. When answering this question, pretend that your experience and skills are on the "weekend-blunderer" end of the scale.
And third, should I decide to take this on, should I use pressure treated lumber, or something else? If PT, will I endanger my health routing it?
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On 11/1/2013 8:49 AM, Greg Guarino wrote:

Go to that Big Box and look at their solid plastic (or whatever) trim pieces like brick mold, etc. The stuff I bought at Menard's to frame out replacement windows, doors, etc. is VERY dense and has stood up well (without painting) for better than 5 years now.
I would "guesstimate" that the plastic stuff I used is tougher than pine.
The item that you show in that URL is RETURNABLE. Order it, and if the density doesn't see as dense as the in-stock brick mold, return it on the spot and move on.
I'm sold on the plastic trim pieces. Even put it on the shed as facia and it's held up great.

That you're "expert" enough to know that you need a plunge router to do the job properly and quickly, tells me you can do the work. Just think it through and take your time.

Use a dust mask and preferably do your work outside or in well ventilated area so you're not working in a cloud of dust.
Alternatively, go back and use the plastic trim - that's what I'd do.
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On 11/1/2013 10:03 AM, Unquestionably Confused wrote:

I used the vinyl or plastic for brick mold around my garage doors. I got tired of replacing the wood that rotted quickly each time. I have those 45 degree corners that rot quickly.
One thing about the vinyl/plastic/pvc.. I would recommend you use liquid nails to join the corners b4 nailing. In the winter I get a big gap from shrinkage. And I think Liquid nails would have held that together. and pulled the pieces as the length shrinks. I don't know for sure, but that's just an opinion.

Either will work... wear a mask. Just prime and paint all sides and cuts b4 assembling.

--
Jeff

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On 11/1/2013 9:23 AM, woodchucker wrote:

Rather than liquid nails, I went with white silicone caulk. As the original installation using the plastic was replacing windows with vinyl clad Pella's, I wanted the whole thing well sealed and truly maintenance free. Laid a good gob of silicone into the mitered corners, nailed them well, filled the nail holes with white silicone and smoothed them over. No gaps<g> and no maintenance<G>
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On 11/1/2013 8:49 AM, Greg Guarino wrote:

The fluting is the hardest part, and that's not hard to do at all with a plunge base router ... do one and it will be a guaranteed forehead smack as to how easy it is.
You can actually buy jig to do the fluting:
http://www.rockler.com/router-fluting-jig?Max 9
... or you can also make a jig based on the same principle; or the old fashioned way, set up a fence on one edge of a piece of plywood and use spacers to provide the distance between the flutes.
Personally, I wouldn't bother with PT material, you will have trouble with the painting until it dries sufficiently. Use a wood like white oak which, once primed and painted, will last longer than you when properly maintained.
While it is certainly possible, if you want to go composite/plastic, the material is going to be expensive, for the thickness you need, probably in excess of $10/lf:
http://epsplasticlumber.com/files/Select%20Pricing%20for%20EPS_February2012.pdf
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On 11/1/2013 10:18 AM, Swingman wrote:

I had originally envisioned a custom base for the router with a fence to ride along (one) edge of the work. I'd set the fence to center the first flute, then add a spacer to the fence for the two flutes that flank the center one (doing one from either side to ensure they'd be symmetrical about the center line). Then I'd add a second spacer of the same thickness and repeat on each side.
The Rockler jig has two advantages as I see it.
1. It has two fences, preventing me from losing contact between the work and the single fence I had in mind. That seems like a good idea.
2. All of the routing would be done from one edge, meaning that one set of "end stops" would be used for all of the flutes, ensuring the ends of the flutes would line up.
The disadvantage is mostly the cost, for an item I'd be unlikely to use very often. I could try to build something like it, but I wonder about my ability to make it accurate enough to get the flutes symmetrical and evenly-spaced without doing them from either side and with spacers.
I suppose I could still do it my way, but add a (movable) secondary fence for the second side. Then I'd just have to make sure the router was centered on the custom base (in the "length" direction) so the end stops would correctly from either side.
What material would you make the fences (and spacers) out of? Something smooth, I imagine, not ply. Hardwood scraps? Plastic? Aluminum angle?
As always, if any of this seems ignorant, it is.
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On 11/1/2013 11:02 AM, Greg Guarino wrote:

There's no accuracy in the jig. you can easily build one that doesn't have measuring and still be accurate. Here's how: if you want equal spacing lay a ruler across the grain at an angle. put the 1" mark on one edge, and find how many equal marks line up across the ruler and put whatever inch marking on the other side.
So lets say the board is dimension 6" wide (really 5.5") and you want 3 flutes using 1" markings would be too many flutes, but using markings 3" , 5" and 7" would give you 3 flutes.
Mark the board on those marks. Now with your home built jig or 2 fences on rods put a V grooving bit in and make the V hit the mark. Lock your fences (homebuilt or fence) and replace the bit with a core box bit.
put a fence where to stop on both ends and you are done.
It's real easy.
See http://imgur.com/HsVYr7e
for the ruler pic so it becomes clearer. Fluting is easy. BTW you can make a shop made fence for your router so you have 2 very easily to capture the board. That's easier than you think... or build a jig, but don't worry about the accuracy , it's how you measure it, not the measurement from the jig.

--
Jeff

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wrote:

I have a vague memory of Brian at Garage woodworks doing a project with flutes and I think he built a jig. I could be wrong but he usually documents what he builds might be worth a look.
Mike M
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On Friday, November 1, 2013 9:18:36 AM UTC-5, Swingman wrote:

Once again, I agree with Karl. I made a set of these, and was ready to do it again just for fun.
But... I am a field man for the most part. As a variant on Karl's plywood bed and spacers (talk about going back some years there, buddy!), I have ma de these trims with a router table, a table saw, and a router edge guide, a ll out on the job.
For the router table (homemade) it was easy. I put the right bit in the ro uter, checked for depth, and simply laid out the fence positions on my tabl e and when happy with the appearance on a cut piece, I put a large pencil m ark on the table for fence position (formica topped table) to make each cut a snap. A piece of tape 6" of center of the bit in each direction allowed a pencil mark to let me know where to stop and where to start.
On the table saw, it was the same procedure except I used a dado blade set with 3/8" wide cut instead of using a bit. I had no trim to match as I mad e it all new, so the customer wasn't concerned with the square cuts. I lig htly rounded the square cut edges with a pice of dowel wrapped around sandp aper. It looked great when painted. The hardest part was stopping and sta rting on the marks on the fence, but I crept up on the marks slowly and it was fine.
This one was the sneakiest. I had to match a piece of existing trim. Than kfully, the trim we were replacing was only damaged from water rot, so when removing it I had the dimensions and placements of the flutes literally in my hand. I took my Bosch D handled router, put a 3/8" box bit and set for depth. I attached the optional fence and simply set the fence to match eac h cut position by simply putting the bit in the groove and tightening the f ence. The fence made it easy since it had one of those old "micrometer" st yle adjustments. I tacked a piece of wood on my new trim board to use to s top the router on both sides. I simply routed until I banged into the "sto p" and my start/stop cuts were perfectly aligned. My only problem here was keep the router spot on when cutting across the length. I had a helper, s o it wasn't bad. But it was fast, easy, and I used what I had on hand. I still remember; I cut the fluted section out of perfectly clear hard pine, and stopped it from the concrete about an inch up, and used white oak for t he base and head details.

Worse, when the PT (or as I know it, shit wood) won't cut right. I just fi nished off a deck repair, and I used a 3/4" round over bit to the top piece of the hand rail. It was so wet that it cut the wood off in strings! The PT I get around here is so damn wet it is almost useless. No reason at al l to spend your time and effort working with crap that won't last.
As always... only my 0.02...
Robert
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wrote:

See what you can find in PVC, lasts does not rot, takes paint, machines great. The dust however sticks to everthing.
Mark
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I have no idea about the plastic having never used it but my guess is that it would be fine.
But there is (may be) another option. How much is rotted? Do they bear any weight or are they purely decorative and attached to the wall?
If decorative and only the square part is rotted and it doesn't go too high you could dig out the rot to good wood and rebuild with good ol' Bondo. I've done that on several exterior doors where the bottom couple of inches of the jamb had rotted (which is inevitable given the way they are constructed). Even if some of the fluted area were rotted, one could rebuild it in the same manner. (After digging out bad wood it doesn't hurt to treat the good wood with a rot preventative, just be sure it is totally dry before using a filler).
One can't fill the entire void at one shot (unless it is small) as the Bondo will slump...fill some, let it set, fill some more, etc. Once filled, it is easy to sand flush to the original wood surface; primed and painted and it is invisible. And won't rot.
If it is a sizeable area, one can make a little form for the last Bondo layer...take a piece of masonite narrower than the hole is wide but taller, put plastic packaging tape on one side, tack the masonite to the good wood tape side in, pack the void as much as you can with filler, let cure, remove masonite. That gets you *almost* full; fill the rest using the surface of what you did before to screed off flush.
One other thing, if the void is sizeable, one can fill it almost full with expanding foam and Bondo over that. Had to dig into a concrete block wall a while back to fix a hose bib that had a rusted out nipple; filled the hole mostly with foam, thinset mortar over that.
--

dadiOH
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On 11/1/2013 1:19 PM, dadiOH wrote:

Purely decorative, attached to the (brick) wall. But yes, some of the fluted section is rotted. I think replacing it will be easier than any attempt to repair it.
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On 11/1/2013 2:42 PM, Greg Guarino wrote:

behind it. Brick soaks up water and puts it back in . tar and tyvek, or even the self adhesive membrane for roof edges would protect the wood from further detioration. Just cut it to fit hidden behind the molding.
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Very true. The problem lies in sealing it *everywhere*. And keeping it sealed.
I suspect Greg's pilaster bottoms out on a slab; hard to seal there. I also suspect it is made of multiple pieces of wood, joined; all those joints are going to move, there goes the seal.
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