Friday, April 22, 2011

Sparta Building Update

The two Ionic columns found buried beneath stucco and brick at the Sparta Building, reported upon in an earlier post, turned out to have more damage to them than we'd hoped.  The capitals were largely chiseled away, to create a flat profile (we knew that), but there was considerable damage to the plinths (the bases) and the characteristic fluting as well, where earlier renovations had attempted to use the columns to support door frames and structure.

We'll repair, actually replace, the capitals with metal elements from W.F. Norman, the "restorer's friend" (I use W. F. Norman a lot!).  For the plinths and the fluting we are lucky to have found a skilled craftsman who is manually recreating the elements, using layers and layers of high-density cement before coating the entire surface with white cement, to create the proper finish.  One aspect, the forms that he's created to match the fluting perfectly, is a great example of in-the-field innovation.  Turns out that 2" PVC pipe, split in half, and banded together around the surviving flutes,  creates a perfect mold.  Way to go, Frank!

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