Epic Erection

Two weeks after we moved into our now ex-do-up, Brian spotted a cast iron lamp post on trademe.  It was in Christchurch, but seemed like the sort of addition that would perfectly complement our TLC villa.

We clicked ‘Buy Now’, and so began a four year journey which came to a proud end tonight, as the lamp-post was finally erected in our front porch, with only days to spare before we depart.

Along the way we encountered many engineering problems, the first of which was exactly how one went about transporting a 3m, 150+kg lamp-post from Christchurch to Auckland.  It required not one, or two, but four burley men to lift, and would crush any ordinary van.  Mainfrieght transport came to our rescue, and shipped the post at a very agreeable cost and without complaint, door to door, or more accurately against our house wall, where it would continue to rest for some years, as we pondered its erection.

Now the lamp-post was actually an old verandah post from a hospital.  The lamp had yet to be engineered and wired.  The cast-iron was badly aged, and decades of rust needed to be blasted off.  And then there was the small matter of how one actually goes about securely erecting a cast-iron post, without it posing a risk to the 2am chavs of Eden Terrace.

Post refurbishment turned out to be easy.   All it required was a wire brush powered by the trusty makita drill, followed by some metal primer and black enamel paint. Gorgeous.

Constructing the base was also reasonably straightforward, with the wonderful assistance of Kumeu Engineering, a solid yellow traffic light pole, and many bags of ready-mix concrete. Because the cast iron post was hollow, we could use the traffic light pole as a spine, cemented into a 1m deep concrete foundation.

So far, so good.

This left the last task, the actual erection.

I bribed men.  Burley men.  I promised beer, in exchange for some light lifting.  Curiously, this worked.  We had an erection team in place, and a well drafted plan by the Kumeu project manager.

There was grunting, which had it not been interjected with occasional bursts of scientific engineering discussion, could be mistaken for the grunting one hears at 4am post-win Eden Park rugby game.   The team persevered, and after about an hour, our lamp-post was securely bolted in place.

The last task was to install the custom made lamp to sit on top.  The lamp needed to be about 1/2 metre in length to match the size of the post, which alas is not the type of item one typically finds in a lighting store.  Undeterred Brian’s ever resourceful Dad proceeded to hand-craft the lamp from aluminium, hard wood, antique glass, and the street’s brightest bulb.

By the end of the evening our new post was proudly rooted in its new home, lighting up the street for all to see.

Full pictorial below.

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