As I drove past the cemetery, Joe Ferraninni from Grave Stone Matters was already there unloading his trailer. I returned with coffees. My faithful gravestone side-kick, Dad, soon arrived. The three of us unloaded materials from Joe's trailer and began setting up for the first of two obelisk rehabs. Setup took at least an hour.
|Formulating a plan|
We scoped out the site to decide on how to tackle the severely leaning monument safely. To size up the stone, I am standing on the left side and I am 6' tall. With a stone this size, everything had to be done carefully. An accident could cause severe injuries. Below, from the rear of the stone notice how high the back corner is lifting. It is a just a matter of time before this obelisk tips over.
|Rear corner lifting|
After coming up with a plan of attack, the obelisk was dismantled from top down, piece by piece, and set off to the side via Joe's gantry. The gantry allows a stone to be lifted vertically and then the stone slid horizontally out of the way. My tripod system only allows for vertical lifting.
|Gantry set up|
After dismantling the monument, the old foundation consisting of rocks and slate was removed. A bed of stone dust was laid down, leveled, and tamped. Then in reverse order the monument was put back together. Small pieces of lead were cut and laid between the pieces along with a monument setting putty to keep water out of the seams.
Below is a photo of the finished product.
Surrounding smaller stones need work now
No rest. Next we were off to the top of the hill in the center of cemetery. This time the obelisk had already fallen. And it fell down the hill to make things interesting. Below is a photo of before work began.
Behind the monument base we dug out for a new foundation similar to the previous stone. Using the gantry we lifted the monument base and slid it back to its new home. It is now almost 1:30 PM. Time for a quick pizza. My favorite graveyard groupie, my wife Michele, showed up to check on our progress. She caught us eating and got us back to work.
At this time Leslie and her son Jonathan came to the cemetery to help. They quickly went to work cleaning the obelisk that was corrected earlier in the day by cleaning the monument with D2. After finishing with the cleaning they helped with getting the center piece column and cap up the hill and placed upon the newly restored obelisk.
Returning the column and then the cap took some time. Because of the incline of the hill and the weight of the stones; we had to use his tripod with adjustable legs to slowly move the pieces up the hill. In order to pull the column up the hill and set it upon the base, the tripod had to be re-situated at least six times. The same procedure was also done with the cap.
According to Joe, this obelisk had already been reset and had probably fallen over once before. He determined this from the shabby brick foundation that was below the obelisk which had failed and slid down the hill with the monument. There was also setting compound which had to be scraped off the stones which was not vintage to the original setting.
Again re-loading the trailer took another hour. After a successful day we parted ways and I pulled into my driveway at exactly 7:00 PM. Below is a photo of the finished product.
|Obelisk standing upright again|
The next day on Saturday my father went back to the cemetery and cleaned the stone. Sunlight and time will brighten the stone further.