Friday, April 14, 2006

Higher and Higher

The stone masons have started the restoration of the first of the chimneys on the Big House as I'll refer to it from now on. They've got some major scaffolding going on for this part and I'm glad I didn't have to help build it. I don't care much for scaffolding work. I don't mind heights, it's just really rough work. I believe there are 5 chimneys on the house and most of the chimney pots are actually in pretty good shape except for this one. They are really beautiful and since they are made of clay, I have a special appreciation for them. Every one of them is different also.
As you can see, one corner piece here is gone and then there are 2 middle pieces that are broken also. They were planning on using some type of patching material but then, Yours Truly ran her mouth and said I could make the missing or damaged pieces, so they said OK! that would be better. I have less than 2 weeks to do this because to keep a good schedule the scaffolding must be down in that time and once it's down, it ain't going back up there.
Here you can see almost the whole chimney pot. I guess they are each about 7-8' tall and were made in Wales. Someone came in years ago and attempted some kind of repair and that's why you see that white crap smeared in each of the joints. I don't know if it's caulk or what but whoever did that just needs the hell beat out of them. It's going to take a lot of work to clean that up.
The mason foreman took off one good corner for me to use as a pattern since they are interchangeable and then one middle piece. It is severely damaged but I can still see how they went together. I am firing some test pieces now for color and believe I will be able to match that part almost exactly. Building the piece to the right size is going to be hard because clay shrinks about 10%, so I have to make it a little bigger and estimate how much its going to shrink. There is not alot of space in the joints either so I've got to hit it pretty close. It's a one shot deal too because they can't wait on me to make more if the first ones I make blow up or something when they are fired. But there's no pressure or anything!
This is a pair near the damaged ones that is still in good shape. I think they are really work of art in their own right. Well," a little less talk and alot more work", as they say on the construction sites.


Gin said...

Thank you for sharing all of this. It's so neat! And gads, those chimneys are gorgeous (and that's not something I ever thought I would say about a chimney). I hope can make pictures of the replacement pieces as you make them.

pablo said...

". . . whoever did that just needs the hell beat out of them."

I hope I never upset you.

edifice rex said...

Hey Gin! I try to document the whole process on something like this because I use it in my portfolio, so I will show some more about it. Hopefully it will be successful.

Hey Pablo! I guess that sounded kinda bad, huh?;) I just hate to see people mangle things that someone else took alot of care in making. But, you know, alot of the guys do comment that I am one of the meanest women they have ever known. Hmmm. Nah, not me!

Laura said...

I love the pictures of the big house. It looks like a really cool house. I like your house too. Although the pictures did not come up.