By Donald Stevens
Having thought about constructing a nice custom lantern post for many years, I was inspired when I read an article in Woodenboat Magazine about building hollow spars with “bird’s mouth” joints. Having a pile of red cedar drops from other projects I came up with the design of using two staved sections connected by a turned collar of the same material.
I used WEST SYSTEM105 Epoxy Resin® with 206 Slow Hardener® which allowed the time required for careful assembly. All joints were coated with unthickened epoxy allowing for absorption into the soft cedar. Epoxy mixed with 406 Colloidal Silica was used for all joints in the project. Once all work was assembled and cured a generous coat of epoxy was brushed on the entire post. Any area that had a higher absorptive rate was continually coated until full saturation was achieved. Once fully cured the surfaces were scrubbed with water and a Scotch Brite™ pad to remove any blush. Final sanding of all surfaces revealed a perfect surface for paint. A coat of oil-based house primer was applied followed by two coats of solid body oil stain.
As of this writing, the lantern post has weathered 12 years of southern New England weather with only one re-painting which I did this past October. While preparing the post for a new coat of paint, I found no evidence of degradation of the joints or fillets. I attribute the durability & longevity of the finish to the encapsulation of the red cedar with WEST SYSTEM epoxy. The structural integrity of the project appears that it will last for generations to come.