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From time to time, we are lucky enough to hear back from our customers after they have worked with our products at a significant historical site. This happened recently, when we heard from Randy Mamelli of Mamelli Painting and Building who has been very deeply involved in the 3 years of rehabilitation and restoration taking place at Rancho Los Alamitos in Long Beach, California.
The project, as it relates to Memelli, began with the restoration of some carved wooden posts which supported a fence around the tennis courts on the ranch. The fence had blown over in a particularly strong California windstorm and it was discovered that rotted wood at the base of the posts was to blame. A large amount of LiquidWood® and WoodEpox® was used to consolidate and rebuild the bases of the posts, saving as much original material as possible. Over a year later, the rebuilt posts show no signs of deterioration and are as strong as ever.
After successfully completing this initial project, Mamelli was asked to stay on the job at the ranch to continue restoration on the property’s other wooden structures. The property is home to seven total buildings, including a stallion barn, horse barn, feed barn, dairy barn, caretaker’s house, education center, and blacksmith shop. Five of these structures have now been restored using various amounts of LiquidWood and WoodEpox. Memelli estimates that over 150 gallons of Abatron material has been used in the repairs.
Ranchos Los Alamitos is owned by the City of Long Beach and is operated by Rancho Los Alamitos Foundation. The current rehab project is estimated to have a price tag of over 11 million dollars. The ranch is open to the public and has regular visiting hours which include guided tours through the site’s gardens and structures. Self-guided walking tours of the gardens are also available. For more information about the ranch, or for detailed information on the restoration project, please visit, www.rancholosalamitos.com. For more information on wood restoration, contact Abatron at 800-445-1754 or visit, www.abatron.com.
ABATRON Visits the Big Apple
A project at historic Fort Totten in Queens, NY, required special attention and procedural advice. Fort Totten was established in the 1860’s by the United States government to protect the East River approach to New York Harbor. The fort, now owned by New York City, is a park and home to dozens of historic buildings once used as military housing and hospitals. Many of the buildings are still utilized today by New York City first responders.
A structural beam in one of the historic buildings was beginning to delaminate and show signs of water damage and rot. The New York City Department of Design and Construction contacted Abatron for advice on repairing it. Richard Ahlstrom and Marco Caporaso were sent to visit the site and consult on restoring the damaged beam in-place.
The team recommended complete consolidation of the beam with LiquidWood® accompanied by the use of clamps to bond the delaminated pieces back into place. A small amount of WoodEpox® was also essential to rebuild the wood that had fallen away. Finally, the masonry on which the beam rested had deteriorated and started to crumble. Aboweld 55-1™ was recommended for this repair.
In conjunction with the trip to Fort Totten, Marco and Richard were invited to give a presentation at the offices of the NYC Department of Design and Construction. Over 30 construction and design professionals attended the educational seminar which included hands-on demonstrations of Abatron’s wood restoration materials.
Log Restoration at LBJ State Park
Stonewall, Texas is a tiny community in the heart of Texas ranching country. It is known for its plentiful peach orchards, its delicate grape vines, and for being the home of Lyndon B. Johnson State Park. Over 75,000 people visit the park each year, and its popularity continues to grow. Highlights at the park include tours of the LBJ ranch, hands-on experiences at a 1918 living history farm, and the opportunity to see an abundance of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, buffalo, and Texas longhorn cattle. The park is a picturesque tribute to Texas history, but some of the buildings needed help.
Richard Ahlstrom, a representative from Abatron, visited the park this June to give a product workshop for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, and found a variety of traditional log cabins built as early as the 1860’s. Due to the favorable weather conditions and a high level of care and maintenance, the majority of the original logs are still in very good condition. The logs closest to the ground and those that are particularly exposed to the elements, however, were beginning to deteriorate and show signs of rot.
Due to their historical nature, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department wanted to save as much of the original structures as possible. Rather than ripping out the damaged logs and replacing them, Abatron’s LiquidWood® and WoodEpox® were used to restore and salvage the material, in place.
Except for a few select incidences, the amount of actual rot on the face of the logs was minimal. This meant that LiquidWood could essentially be used as a primer for the surface repairs that needed to be done with WoodEpox. The WoodEpox was applied and shaped by hand to match the profile of the logs. Before it hardened, slight checking marks were carved into the epoxy to mimic the aged look of the wood. An aluminum oxide powder was also mixed into the WoodEpox to match the silvery appearance of the aged logs. The camouflaged repairs are permanent and the original appearance of the buildings remains intact.
Reaching for the Stars
In the very near future, two of Abatron’s specialty epoxy formulations will be helping local students and amateur astronomers reach for the stars…literally. Epotron 5™ and Aboweld 55-22™ were recently used in the assembly of a new dome for the Kemper Center Observatory in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Rob Barrows, a Milwaukee carpenter, is painstakingly assembling the dome, piece by piece. He has taken great care to create the historically accurate dome, preserving the original architectural integrity of the Kemper Center.
Abatron’s products were applied early in the dome’s construction. Aboweld 55-22, a thixotropic, gel-like adhesive, was used in assembling the base-ring of the dome. The ring was created by laminating layers of one-eighth inch Douglas fir plywood, creating a very strong base. The support beams that make up the shape of the dome were attached to the ring. Aboweld 55-22’s long pot-life made it easy to apply, even with the precise detail involved in the assembly.
The support beams were treated with Epotron 5, a liquid epoxy typically used for bonding, laminating, and repairing rigid surfaces. In this case, Epotron 5 was used to coat the end grains of the support beams, sealing and waterproofing them to prevent moisture damage.
Once completed, the dome will house a high-tech telescope owned by Carthage College. Students of the school will use the equipment for science classes. The Kemper Center will also provide the public an opportunity to view special astronomical events via a viewing room which will feature television monitors broadcasting the images provided by the telescope.
Wood Restoration System Restores Federal Courthouse Windows
Surviving a winter in Wisconsin isn’t the easiest thing to do. Surviving 110 of them is nothing short of amazing. That’s exactly what the windows at the U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building in Milwaukee, Wisconsin have been through. The Courthouse is a Milwaukee landmark and is a picturesque example of Romanesque architecture, but its 650+ windows had suffered some serious neglect and improper maintenance since being installed over a century ago.
Beginning in 2007, New Millennium Construction, Inc. of Crestview, Florida, began the two year process of restoring the windows and exterior woodwork to their original condition. The first step was to remove up to 18 layers of paint that had accumulated on the sills and sashes over the years.
In the next step, LiquidWood® was used extensively to treat the soft, rotted areas that had been damaged by the constant exposure to the elements. By penetrating and hardening within the wood, LiquidWood® permanently repairs and solidifies the material, making the wood structural again. After treatment with LiquidWood®, WoodEpox® was used to fill cracks, checks, and missing sections of wood. Corners were rebuilt using forms and large voids in the sills were filled in, in order to restore the windows to their original shapes. Once cured, both materials were sanded and machined just like the original wood.
Only 16 of the original 650 windows were deteriorated beyond restoration. These windows were replaced with mahogany replicas in order to hold up to the harsh exterior conditions. Once reinstalled and painted, the windows were finished with freshly restored brass hardware, bringing the windows back to their original appearance. With proper maintenance and care, the original windows should last another 100 years!
Cracking Down on Concrete
Cracking, pitting, and spalling are huge problems with concrete everywhere! These problems generally arise from water and salt penetration which causes the concrete to break down and metal rebar in the concrete to rust and corrode. Eventually this process causes the concrete to fail. A project which illustrates this problem, and its solution, was completed at Horlick High School in Racine, Wisconsin. The front edges of a double flight of steps were spalling and causing a safety hazard. The penetrating rust stains left on the surface of the concrete were also very unsightly.
Restoration of the steps was completed by Rossi Construction Co. To begin, all loose concrete was removed. Rust on any of the exposed, corroded rebar was removed by sanding, and the rebar was coated with epoxy paint to prevent further corrosion. Wooden forms coated with a paste-wax release agent were anchored to the risers. Abocrete™, an epoxy patching and resurfacing compound for concrete, was mixed with sand and poured into the forms to cast the missing concrete.
When the Abocrete™ hardened, the forms were removed and rough edges were smoothed. Finally, the steps were primed with Primkote 8006-1 and then coated with Abocrete™ for an attractive, uniform appearance. Before hardening, clear sand was broadcast on top of the Abocrete™ for slip resistance. The finished project saved the school district thousands of dollars and makes a permanent repair.
Wood Restoration Scores A Hole-In-One!
Successful project on Illinois' largest golf complex.
Bolingbrook Golf Club is the largest golf complex in Illinois, and its pristine course and gorgeous clubhouse make it one of the finest recreational courses in the Midwest. The log structure used as a snack bar and clubhouse for the driving range included many logs that were not quite as pristine. LiquidWood® and WoodEpox® were used to save many of the original logs and make difficult log removal unnecessary.
A combination of moisture and bug damage had completely deteriorated large sections of some of the logs. Cavities the size of footballs had slowly flaked out of the logs in the form of woodchips and sawdust. The first step was to consolidate the remaining rotted wood with LiquidWood®. A generous application was brushed and poured onto the rotted logs in order to stabilize the soft areas of wood.
The next challenge was filling the voids left behind in the logs. A combination of sawdust, woodchips, and burlap was saturated with LiquidWood® and used to fill the majority of the empty space. Once this material hardened, a layer of WoodEpox® was applied and shaped to match the contour of the log. After the repair cured, it was followed by sanding, priming, and staining. This project definitely “makes the cut!”
Happy Sun Custom Moldmaking and Casting Project
A smiling face warms our hearts, especially if it is a smiling sun. A Happy Sun motif was chosen as an architectural design element for Plaza Del Sol, a new shopping center in Phoenix, Arizona. U.S. Builders commissioned Abatron to create happy suns in 4 diameters, from 1 to 5 feet. A picture of the motif was supplied by the architect, Kenneth Esry. Abatron then commissioned the models.
The molds were made using MasterMold 12-8®, a pourable polyurethane moldmaking compound. After the molds were produced, they were cast using WoodCast™ and WoodEpox®. These products were selected because they are light-weight and virtually shrink-free and have excellent weatherablity. The castings were painted a beautiful shade of blue before installation.
LiquidWood® and WoodEpox® Restore USDA Building Windows
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Building was the largest office building in the world until the erection of the Pentagon. LiquidWood® and WoodEpox® were used to restore over 8000 deteriorating windows in the South Building in 1986-1996. The most severely deteriorated windows were on the south end of the building. WoodEpox made possible the preservation of the windows on this side. LiquidWood was used on all of the windowsills and 8 inches up on the frames. After restoration, the wood was primed and painted.
Log Home Revival
Over 12 years ago Vi and Dan Hoagland purchased a vintage log home nestled along the Fox River in McHenry, Illinois. Upon close inspection they found that many of the logs were badly damaged and some of the lower logs were even coated in concrete.
Vi used Abatron's wood restoration products in several ways to restore the logs. Some logs were rebuilt using LiquidWood® mixed with sawdust to make a "gruel." Then,"half" logs were screwed over the patched areas. WoodEpox® was used to patch and fill-in missing wood. Tree bark pressed into WoodEpox before it hardened created a natural appearance to the logs. Vi also strengthened logs by drilling holes down into the logs every few inches and saturating them with multiple applications of LiquidWood through the holes.
Vi's hard work has really paid off. She has salvaged the cabin's structure and created a charming home to enjoy for years to come.
Repairs to metal can be made with metal-filled epoxy and epoxy primers. Rusting metal is often the result of cracks in concrete or masonry that allow water to penetrate the surface and cause the metal to rust. The rusting process causes the metal to expand resulting in the breakage of the concrete. By following the steps below, the metal and concrete can be repaired permanently:
- Clean rusty metal with a wire brush and emery cloth down to bright metal. Sandblasting is also an effective method to remove rust and paint.
- Prime metal with Primkote 8006-1 epoxy primer.
- Fill holes and cracks with Ferrobond.
- Paint metal with top quality paint formulated for outdoor ironwork that contains rust inhibitors, fungicides, and UV blockers.
- Bond broken concrete back together with Aboweld 55-1 heavy-duty epoxy patching compound.
- Patch any visible cracks with Aboweld 55-1 or appropriate Abatron product to avoid further rusting and corrosion.