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Tiki Central Forums Creating Tiki Tiki Carving Help! My tiki has fallen and can't get up!
Help! My tiki has fallen and can't get up!
rotten_tiki
Member

Joined: Oct 25, 2007
Posts: 3
Posted: 2007-10-25 11:15 am   Permalink

Aloha!

We "inherited" a tiki that supports our mailbox when we bought our house that was carved from a palm tree. Unfortunately, the years haven't been to kind to him and he has started to rot. Yesterday I noticed that the mailbox had started to pull off of the tiki so I went out to try to repair it. Upon further inspection, I found the tiki was a little wobbly, so I gave him a little "push" to see how sturdy he was. Timber! The entire base had rotted away and he tumbled into the street. Uh oh!

We have grown quite attached to him so I really don't want to get rid of him. Plus he has much more character than any mailbox we could buy at Lowes, so I am pretty determined to fix him.

So far I have come up with two approaches to repairing him. First thing I think I need to do is cut off a few inches on the bottom so that the base is square and to find some more solid wood. Next, I need to dig out the stump. After this I'm not sure how I should proceed. He is about 7' tall and maybe 10 - 12" in diameter at the base. He is _very_ heavy!

My first thought was to sink a metal pole (like a fence post) in some concrete and slide the tiki onto it. I would need some way to secure the tiki to the pole so it doesn't spin or wobble. I'm thinking some beefy lag bolts through the back of the tiki and into the pole would be sufficient. The problem with this approach is I'm not sure if I can lift the tiki high enough to put him on the pole. Also, I'm not too sure how the concrete base will look. I thought about making a little base out of pressure treated wood to conceal the concrete.

My second approach would be to drive a pressure treated fence post into the bottom as deep as possible and just place it in a hole and backfill the hole with sand and dirt. This would be a lot easier than trying to lift the tiki.

Some questions I have are:

What should I use to cut the base? Chainsaw? Hand saw? My 12" mitre saw won't cut it.

Would pvc be a sturdy enough substitute for steel or wood? We live in coastal Florida, so anything I do would have to survive hurricane winds. The reason I bring this up is I don't want the metal or wood to rot requiring me to redo this again in a few years. We live in a _very_ corrosive environment, and metal doesn't last very long.

How far should the support go into the tiki? My goal is to get it as far as possible, so I'm more concerned about what you think the the minimum depth should be.

Finally, how far into the ground do I need to go?

Anything else that I am missing?

Sorry for the long post, but I figured if anyone could help me, I would find them here. I tried calling our local tiki guy, but they didn't seem too interested in saving him.

Thanks for taking the time to read!

P.S. The light yellow buldge on his head is expanding foam. I was trying to prevent a woodpecker from finishing building his home in the tiki's head. It didn't work.



edit: fixed pics.

edit 2: my wife informed me that the tiki is actually an upside down palm tree. His "hair" were the tree's roots. Duh.

[ This Message was edited by: rotten_tiki 2007-10-25 11:17 ]

[ This Message was edited by: rotten_tiki 2007-10-25 11:17 ]

[ This Message was edited by: rotten_tiki 2007-10-25 11:38 ]

[ This Message was edited by: rotten_tiki 2007-10-25 11:39 ]


 
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Tiki Zen
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 15, 2007
Posts: 352
From: Too far from the beach Bowling Green, KY
Posted: 2007-10-26 06:12 am   Permalink

I'm no expert, but this thread should give you some helpful info. (sorry it is not a direct link, perhaps someone more adept at this sort of thing can provide it?). Otherwise, just do a search for "rotted tiki."


Tiki Central Forums Creating Tiki Tiki Carving How Do You "Fix" A Rotted Tiki Bottom?

And you better get a dermatologist to take a look at that growth on the forehead.


 
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rotten_tiki
Member

Joined: Oct 25, 2007
Posts: 3
Posted: 2007-10-26 10:23 am   Permalink

Thanks! I had read that thread before I posted. I was hoping that someone could help answer my questions before I started digging holes or cutting the bottom off of him. I don't want to make the problem even bigger!

The woodpecker took care of the foam. I think he liked his hole even more after I insulated it for him!




 
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Tiki Zen
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 15, 2007
Posts: 352
From: Too far from the beach Bowling Green, KY
Posted: 2007-10-26 11:30 am   Permalink

With the wood repair and preservation issues addressed in the other thread, here is my suggestion. Mind you, I've never fixed a tiki, but I have done a good bit of construction work involving posts and poles.

He looks pretty top-heavy, and the mailbox is going to add cantilever force to pull him face forward. I imagne he is sunk a good distance into the ground, and you are going to need a very firm foundation to anchor him after he is repaired. I would cut him off at the ground with a chain saw or Sawzall (although lowering him gently to the ground without having to yell "TIMBER!" will be a chore). I would then make a final cut on the base to get to good wood with a hand saw, or a Sawzall if you have a steady hand, because you will want a nice square cut.

I would then dig a hole with an auger or post hole digger slightly larger than the diameter of the tiki, and go at least 4 feet deep. Fill the hole with Quickcrete and finish smooth and level a bit higher than the yard so that you will get good drainage off the pad. Once the concrete sets up, take four large galvanized (or even better, stainless steel) angle brackets and bolt these down to the concrete pad with anchor bolts. Space these around the pad with one leg sticking up and the other leg pointing toward the center of the pad. You will want these spaced so that they are just far enough apart that the tiki will fit snugly in the center of the ring of brackets Essentially, what I have in mind is making something similar to a prefab bracket you can buy to anchor a 4x4 to a concrete surface.

Then you can drop your tiki into the center of the pad and the base will cover the bolted legs of the brackets, and which will give you a bit of drainage space between the bottom of the pole and the concrete pad. Lag screw through the vertical legs of the brackets into your tiki, and you should be good to go.

[ This Message was edited by: Tiki Zen 2007-10-26 11:41 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Tiki Zen 2007-10-26 11:47 ]


 
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rotten_tiki
Member

Joined: Oct 25, 2007
Posts: 3
Posted: 2007-10-29 08:23 am   Permalink

Thanks for the advice, tiki_zen!

I spent most of the weekend working on our tiki (named Spicoli by my wife). First I cut about 4" off the bottom of the tiki to remove the rotten portion and give him a flat, solid base. He can now stand up straight without assistance and is pretty close to plumb.

Next, I dug the remainder of the tiki out of the ground. The tiki originally went into the ground about 2'. I was planning on going down 3' as you recommended, but I hit water just past 2' so I stopped there. I built a concrete form with the top about 3-4" above ground level. This should be high enough so that the landscapers will hit concrete with the weedwacker string, not wood. The concrete base is about 14" square, with a 4" pvc pipe in the middle.

The 4" pipe will act as a guide for a 3" pvc pipe that will be driven as fas as possible up the center of the tiki. I should be able to drive it about 5' up from the base. This will allow me to slide the tiki onto the base and center and shim it so that it is plumb. I'll secure the 3" pvc pipe with 3 or 4 stainless lag bolts through the back of the tiki. I used pvc because it will never rust, is readily available and inexpensive. I thought about using aluminum, but I couldn't find any place locally that was open on Saturday. The pvc should be more than strong enough, and in the event that a car hits the mailbox, it should snap off cleanly at the base and minimize any damage to the tiki. At least that's the theory...

I'm planing on building a platform from either pressure treated 4x4 or trex to get it up a little higher, minimize any further rotting and hide most of the concrete. We'll see.

I'm still researching the wood hardening materials. I haven't decided to do that yet.

The idea of using L brackets seems feasible, but I'm afraid that it would put a lot of stress on only 4 points really close to the ground. The wood where they would be attached to is pretty soft. In order to be really effective, I think the brackets would have to be pretty long (over a foot), and that wouldn't look too good. I really liked you suggestion to get it up off the ground though, which I why I'm building the wood platform.

There is still plenty of work left, but at least the hard work is done. I'll post some pics as soon as I get them off the camera.

Thanks again!



 
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