Cemetery Memorial Restoration Procedures
The old style 2-4 inch thick stone that is broken in half at the center as shown here:
The tools needed for the above repair are as follows: Carpenter's level, a
shovel and a rake, a stiff plastic bristle brush and maybe some other non-acidic
of alkaline cleaning
supplies, a good quality portable hand drill (or use a drill press if one is available) with a drill
that will bore thru a 3 or four inch stone. This should be a 3/8" diameter titanium, diamond or concrete drill
bit. Also needed is a carpenters measuring tape, and a lead pencil
with a sharp point, plastic pail for mixing a 40 lb bag of concrete. Enough
water for one or two 40 lb bags of concrete and cleaning.
The materials needed are: three tubes of exterior grade epoxy glue, one tube of concrete bonding cement and sealer for filling the fracture, one or two bags of Quickset Concrete, three 3/8" by 4 1/4" (or long enough to go thru the thickness of the stone and fit snuggly to minimize the repair) stainless steel or galvanized steel bolts with the nuts.
To repair the above stone on site (assuming one has made the preliminary measurements and purchased or cut the aluminum plate the size that is needed and predrilled the four holes in the four corners of that) one proceeds by removing the top half and set it out of the way temporarily. The area around the base is raked clean to get at the base and soil. The soil is pulled back from the base for about a two square foot area or enough to be able to set the base upright and level. This may require digging out as much as the top 4" or more of soil with the shovel. When enough soil is removed to straighten up the base go ahead and stand the base upright & straight taking care not to stress the base joints by applying too much pressure to the straightening effort. If the main stone is loose from the base and moves back and forth you will need to set the main stone into concrete thereby replacing the sloppy base joint. If the base is tight against the stone and it becomes clear that the stone cannot be straightened by a small amount of effort then dig out more soil. Repeat this until the base is loosened enough to be straightened. Now dig out more soil around the base to make a place for the concrete to bond to the base and increase its size and strength. Next using the carpenters level check and adjust the bottom half accordingly to get the stone standing perfectly upright so that it no longer leans toward the ground. Be sure to check the plumb upright from two corners to be certain the stone is upright and not leaning back, to the front or to the side. A bag of quickset concrete is then mixed and poured into the dug out area around the base to anchor the base and the bottom half of the stone. When finished the soil is raked back into place to cover the base of the stone as it was before. Wait thirty minutes until the concrete is set enough to proceed without loosening the stone. Of course one may need to modify the instruction above for a stone that was set shallow in the ground. In such a situation set the stone base deeper into the ground than it was before. At the opposite spectrum when the stone is set abnormally deep into the ground it may need to be dug up and set in place with less depth. However, modify your procedures above as needed according to the depth of the stone. If you remove the stone be sure you line it up in the same place it was before. Never move a stone without an original drawing of its exact place in the cemetery even if that is not the place where the stone was originally set. It would be a disaster to historians and laws may be broken to place Joe Blow's stone next to John Doe's in error. Old cemeteries rarely have perfect rows for the graves and memorials. Clustering families in group burials was more important to our ancestors than perfect order throughout the cemetery.
Now that we have the base half well anchored in concrete in the ground and standing straight upright we must turn our attention to bonding the upper half to the bottom half at the fracture line. First give the two halves a quick inspection looking for superficial cracks. If these are found then special attention will be required for that. For the sake of this discussion we have found the two halves to be sound and ready to proceed. To work with the stone you may will need to clean the fractured surface of both the bottom and top half. Take the brush and scrub the fractured face of both pieces until they are both free of debris and clean enough to set tightly together and support the glues. Use other cleaning supplies if needed but do not use harsh acid or alkaline cleaning compounds.
Some preliminary work and planning must have been done for this repair method. We must know the size of the back support plate that supports the joints. That is because if we are not careful we will drill holes in the inscription which is a NO NO. We must have the backside plate large enough to be able to drill the holes thru the stone so that the inscription can still be read. Drilling holes around the inscription is a quick way to shorten the life of that.
Next we will measure and drill the four holes into the Aluminum Plate first with a different drill bit made for metal. Then the four holes are bored into the stone. The drawing below depicts that process. Afterward the bolts are set in place in Epoxy Glue to support the two halves.
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