John Brooks: Resetting of his Stone


A group of us got together on Saturday, 25 September 2010, with the purpose of resetting the stone of Mr. John Brooks.  As seen in the photos, the marble was heavily damaged, and was rendering crystals to the touch.  Mr. Brooks’ stone was going to leave us; it was practically disintegrating right before our very eyes.

The pieces were placed in towels and distributed into several large plastic totes.  They soaked in water almost all summer.  The water was changed after carefully pulling up all four corners of each individual towel (each towel contained one piece of the stone), then lifting it out of the tote, and carefully putting it aside.  At first changing the water (and towels!) three times a day for one week, then two times a day for one week, then daily for one week, then weekly.    On four occasions, the pieces were removed from their towels, allowed to dry in the sun, and inspected for damage.   I did not use chemicals or detergents, but I did gently use a soft toothbrush.   Towards the end, I just let the pieces remain dry in the tote.  All in all, it held up fairly well.

One concern was whether or not to place the stone back in its original (vertical) position, or to lay it flat like we found it.  Either way posed its set of problems, not only to the restorers (us), but to the stone itself.  Vertical would just break off again; flat would allow more water damage and weathering.  The compromise, found online, was a slanted solution.  And it would have to be assembled on-site.

Mr. Brooks’ grave had previously been covered in concrete.  Another concern was the fact that this concrete surface had a downward curve to it, where the stone needed to go.   In other words, we knew that once we placed the frame on the surface, it would wobble.  This would cause all the concrete to just run out of the gap between the bottom of the frame and the concrete surface.  See below for the solution.

After taking measurements of the stone twice, Steve made the wooden frame, and where the above gap existed, he stapled some roofing felt.  Worked great.  Then a kind of metal frame was placed inside the wooden frame.  About 2.5 to 3 bags of concrete mix were used, and 6 to 8 gallons of water.  The tricky part was reassembling the stone.  (I recommend working from the bottom up next time!).  The entire process took 4 adults about 5 hours.

Here are the photos.  Once the concrete has “cured”, the frame will be removed.  We hope we’ve done justice; at least we did SOMETHING.

– Suzanne

This is the product that we used.

Some of the tools. Staple gun, blade, roofing felt. We also used a mallet.

Near to Far: Buster, Jim, Steve, young Tyler

Placing the wooden frame

Inside the frame. That is the remaining piece of the stone, where it broke off

Leveling with felt

Mixing the concrete

Placing metal frame inside wooden frame. Tap the sides to make it settle.

Keep adding concrete

Left to Right: Suzanne, Steve, Jim, Buster

Next time, work from the bottom up

Putting the puzzle back together

Tapping them gently with a rubber mallet

Trial-and-error. Had to take some pieces out and move the entire puzzle upward in the frame.

Filling in the gaps and cleaning the stone

Voila !

Clean-up crew and part-time photographer.

Published in: on September 26, 2010 at 6:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

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