Sourcing architectural posts for sail shades

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influx99
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Sourcing architectural posts for sail shades

Postby influx99 » Tue Jul 15, 2008 7:23 am

I am hoping someone could point me in the right direction for sourcing some posts for mounting sail shades. In the photo below, there are 2 architectural posts that are pretty cool and obviously have the rigidity required to withstand holding a sail shade, but I have no idea where to find something like this. Ideally I would like to install something I can remove in the winter as well (Massachusetts). Some thoughts were some sort of light-weight I-beam or even just some kind of sleeve that wraps around a 6x6 timber. They need to be pretty tall, like 14' - 16'.

Any thoughts?

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Izzy
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Postby Izzy » Tue Jul 15, 2008 11:52 am

seems like what you need is something sort of like what they do for volleyaball nets in a gym. a hole that fits a bracket that a pole will slide into to keep it secure. you would just remove the whole pole in the winter.
just a thought, as i am not an expert on this.

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Postby jesgord » Tue Jul 15, 2008 12:52 pm

Not as elegant as the ones in the pic, but I have a friend who used coupled aluminum antenna masts. He mounted them in pipes which were dug in and cemented to the ground so he can remove them in the winter. Wind load has not yet been an issue as he takes the cloths down when it gets too windy or storms threaten.




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Postby scowsa » Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:21 pm

I was thinking about a place where you can source appropriate hollow metal posts for your needs -- a combination of not too heavy (so you can move them around) but strong enough to deal with the tensioning of the shade sail.

Playing around in Google, and remembering how we found a welder for stainless steel stair rails, it struck me that someone in the marine world may be able to help, particularly given the tensioning challenge.

For example, here is what one search popped up


So would get out your Yellow Pages and call a few local marine supply stores and ask for advice.

Alternatively, although not typically square, an obvious off-the-shelf solution might be support posts sold by shade sail and awning folks


Scroll down to see their posts
scowsa

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Postby egads » Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:56 pm

Why do they have to be removed in the winter? The sails of course, but what's wrong with heavy posts in place? I think frost would heave the mountings just as much as the posts. I would keep with the simple elegance that attracted you to this design in the first place. They look heavy probably because they are. That is both necessary mechanically, and as a foil for the lightness of the sails is part of the overall design. Foundations are based on local rules. This would need to be so big (tall and hefty) that they must be installed correctly. A company the installs chain link fencing is maybe where I would start. I'd be looking for someone who could put up a pole for a basketball hoop. The ones in the picture are probably made out of some stock square stock pipe but probably have a cap welded onto them. Posts like that are used in basements.

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Postby influx99 » Tue Jul 15, 2008 6:20 pm


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Postby Joe » Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:38 pm


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Postby jonu » Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:03 am

Look for a local steel fabricator.
Let him know you are interested in a steel structural square tube.
The tubes come in varying dimensions.

Here is what they look like in cross-section.

Image
You can get the "A" dimension in 4"-8".
The fabricator can let you know the appropriate "B" (wall) thickness.

He can also weld the connection at the top that would hold the sail.

He can also arrange for the tube to be powder coated or chromed.

I would recommend a permanent base connection. Or have an engineer design some kind of sleeve connection with removable bolts.
An engineer can also let you know the appropriate foundation size.

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Postby cadman » Wed Jul 16, 2008 7:37 pm

Jonu's advice is sound. Call up the local steel shop. Just as a footnote, boxtubing is available in sizes less than 4" but there's always a tradeoff to be made to maintain strength (wall thickness vs cross-section size). This should not be an issue for a 4" column. :)

Personally, I'd leave it in year-round. If you're hole is dug below the frost-line then heaving won't be an issue either.

Footings are figured based on an assumed point load that they must distribute, but your forces are purely lateral, so the footprint is much less important than depth.

For us, frost-line in Iowa is 42", so light posts, basket ball hoop supports, deck timbers, clothes lines, etc, typically reach down 4' below the surface. I bet an 8" concrete tube and post-setting cement below the frost line would do you well.

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Postby egads » Wed Jul 16, 2008 8:22 pm

My point, perhaps lost, is that to be strong enough, they will be heavy. Like in have delivered heavy. Like you are not going to slip them out and store them for the winter heavy.

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Postby merritt » Wed Jul 16, 2008 8:48 pm


influx99
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Problem solved

Postby influx99 » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:21 am

I know it's been forever since I posted the question, but I finally got around to getting this thing done.

I did as Jonu suggested and found square structural steel tubing at a steel distributor in Bridgewater, MA called Turner Steel Company: .

I purchased a 5' section of 2.5" exterior diameter, 1/8" wall steel.

I primed/painted it, calculated the position away from the house, dug a hole and put it in flush with the ground leaning at a 5º angle away from the house. Coolaroo suggested 10º but that just looked like overkill.

Also purchased a 15' section, 2" exterior diameter, 1/8" wall. This section slides down into the 5' section. I used a bolt to secure the 2 sections just at ground level.

I bolted the mounting bracket that comes with Coolaroo sails to the top of the 15' section (which is now 10' above ground). This is where I terminated the corner of 2 triangular sails at the post.

This setup is extremely solid and the 45lb 15' post can easily be removed from the sleeve in the ground so I'm not staring at a steel post all winter. For this height, 2" exterior dimension on the steel is all that's needed for the stresses it will endure. Key is to have it go deep in the ground, and the sleeve I'm sure adds to the rigidity.

Total cost for the steel was about $70. Only thing I still need to do is either make or source some kind of cap for the top of the mast to keep the weather out, but that should be easy.

FYI, I purchased the 16.5' sails on sale at .

So thanks everyone for the help.

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Postby cadman » Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:03 pm

Influx99, thank YOU for the link- Lots of neat sails there. Cory

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sail shades

Postby cougarider » Tue Jul 14, 2009 6:15 pm

I recently posted on this same topic. I was told by a sail company that engineers would need to come and evaluate. Code is that the posts need to be 10 ft in the ground by several sail companies. I just ended up getting an umbrella.

http://www.lottaliving.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=14717

influx99
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Re: sail shades

Postby influx99 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:41 am



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