Weeping Water, Nebraska is the home of Weeping Water Stone Works. The company’s owner, Thomas Stander, is an award-winning stonemason. His company restores wood, concrete and masonry. He created the sign that welcomes visitors to town.
Weeping Water Stone Works’ specialty is retrofitting and replacing stone and brick. The company often accepts jobs considered difficult to attempt. This combination of being highly skilled, and a willingness to take on challenges, has given Tom the chance to work on unique projects.
One such project was to replace the missing hand from a figure on the Art Deco façade of the Beatrice Municipal Auditorium. The three-panel stone sculpture is over 25 feet high by 18 feet wide. The milkmaid on the bottom of the right-side panel had lost her hand sometime in the 1950’s. No one knows where the hand went, or if it was damaged beyond repair. A new hand needed to be created and attached to the stone figure, and Weeping Water Stone Works was sub-contracted for the work.
Tom acquired a 1939 newspaper article that included a photo of the complete sculpture. He used this as a guide to create a foam reproduction onsite, which resembled the rough shape of the stone hand. It would be used at the Weeping Water Stone Works shop as a model for the replacement. Once compatible stone was found, the raw stone was cut and modeled into approximate shape before attachment and final modeling onsite.
Attaching the replacement hand to the stubbed, stone forearm was done midair, using a lift truck. Tom used Aboweld 55-1™ as an epoxy anchor to aid in bonding the replacement hand to the arm. Tom recalls, “Aboweld 55-1 is so easy to mix and apply. It has a working consistency like butter. I use it a lot with doweling; along with a stainless-steel pin to anchor one stone to the next. It goes down into the bore really easy.”
“It’s hard to be up on a lift with people watching you as you work,” Tom continued. “It’s nice to know that your tools and consumables will perform for you, and everything did. It went off great, and everyone was happy with the outcome of the work.”