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The Column Machine
by 'Q. Aurelius Symmachus'

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Ever wonder about the difficulty in tackling the repair to a standing column incorporated as part of the support system for a temple roof. By accident one day I happened on the secret. I donít know the technical name the restoration people use but for me it is the Column Machine.

The machine can be taken apart at the two joints which are secured by the multi-bolt butt-plates, placed around the column and then reassembled as shown in this next graphic.

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In that above graphic, the little blue cylinders represent the three feet of the machine. In actual operation each of these feet will be supported by three adjustable poles that can be as long as required so that the column may be gripped at the appropriate point. Each of the three feet incorporates a small hydraulic ram for levelling and each griping point is also equipped with a hydraulic ram which is attached to the mounting plate holding the wooden cylinder that will come in contact with a flute in the column. The wooden cylinders appeared to be lignum vitae, a wood so strong and durable that at one time it was used for the shaft bearings on nuclear submarines. The small hydraulic ram at each griping point can be identified in the first picture of the machine as the small green cylinders set at a right angle to the plane of the wooden cylinder.

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The following series of pictures, in poster form, shows the machine in operation, set at height with staging.

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Next we have a very clear picture of the machine being employed. Next to that picture is a graphic which shows the jigsaw puzzle aspect of repair.

The machine as it is shown is set up for fluted columns. I would assume, although I have not yet had the opportunity to check this, that by replacing the wooden cylinders and their mounting fixture with a padded fixture, that the machine could also be adapted to handle non fluted columns. The pictures and posters used here show the machine as it was employed in the restoration of the Temple of Hercules.

The final picture shows two of the columns that demonstrate the puzzle type aspects of the completed repair as it was carried out on the round Temple of Hercules..

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