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Failure Portrait: Decay

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. That’s what wood looks like just before it falls apart completely. It’s possible to stick a pocket knife into that mess with basically no resistance.

There are fancy ways that this could be repaired, most involving some kind of epoxy impregnation. The thing is, this is supposed to be a wood column, and if it were to be repaired there would be more repair material than original wood left, mixed irretrievably together. I fail to see the difference between that result and replacing the column with a new piece of wood of the same species, except that the new wood will act more like the original design than the wood/epoxy hybrid will.

If you look closely, the column doesn’t really go all the way down to its base anymore. It’s hanging in midair, supported by the rest of the building frame. It’s astonishing that there was no collapse at this corner, although I suspect we were one winter or one heavy storm away from that happening.

For what it’s worth, the wood had a pleasant musky odor to it, and now my pocket knife does as well. I guess I gave to clean the knife.