As this summer’s Building Preservation/Restoration Intern, I had the wonderful opportunity to work on some of the many historic structures at Stratford Hall and to gain hands-on skill and knowledge under the tutelage of Director of Preservation Phil Mark. Over the past ten weeks, I got to try my hand at masonry, wood repair, glazing and of course (everyone’s favorite) scraping, sanding and painting at the Slave Quarters, the Great House and in the workshop.
My main project, however, was the repair of the Great House second floor windows. Working on a scaffold fifteen feet in the air, I set about giving each 32-pane window some much-needed TLC. I assessed the level of failure of glazing putty and paint, removed and replaced failed putty, scraped failed paint, sanded, primed and painted each window.
Occasionally I encountered some more advanced damage than cracked putty and peeling paint, like I did on window 220. The sill on 220 had a patch of spongy, rotten wood which, when removed, revealed a baseball-sized void.
Following Phil’s sage advice, I began to repair this hole (and several large checks emanating from it) with a three step process. First the hole and checks were treated with a termiticide, insecticide and fungicide concentrate to stave off further decay. Next, a two-step liquid epoxy resin was applied to consolidate and seal the checks and interior of the void.
…and primed and painted with the rest of the sill.
The result may not knock your socks off—in fact, from the ground you may not notice any difference at all. Someone once told me that when preservation work is done well, no one knows you’ve been there at all. I can only hope that in time, the work I’ve done this summer helps the windows of the great house last another few hundred years—or at least until Phil can convince another intern to climb up there...
This summer has been a wonderful learning experience in an idyllic place with some of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and although it was probably the hottest summer I can remember, it was also one of the best.
Best wishes from Stratford Hall,
Building Preservation/Restoration Intern, Summer 2011