April 2010

May 10, 2010

Conservator Julie Lawson is assisted by interns Jessica Walthew and Vicki Chisholm in kneading epoxy putty

Once the reliefs had been mended into their three main segments each, we were able to schedule the re-installation for early May. To prepare for it, Julie did some final cleaning and the riggers came back for a day to lift up the five base pieces so we going insert epoxy putty under them to even off the roughly finished stone surface. This would help spread the weight more evenly. The epoxy putty came in two parts which had to be kneaded together thoroughly to form a stiff dough. This was placed on a plywood surface, with plastic film as a separator between the epoxy and the stone, which was lowered into place.

One of the stone blocks is lowered on to the epoxy putty, which will conform to the uneven base before setting to a hard solid.

The weight of the stone spread the putty to conform to the irregularities of base.

The armature arrives

A week before installation, the shipment containing the new steel armature arrived unannounced and unprepared-for. All 3540 lbs of it had been packed in one crate, 12 feet long! Not only could we not get it into the building without special equipment, it couldn’t even be removed from the truck because of the way it had been loaded. We returned it to the designers, who managed – with difficulty – to break it down into 13 heavy (but not impossible) packets, which arrived back at the Museum on the day before the re-installation was to start.