The interns of the preservation department, under the supervision of Phil Mark, are commencing work on their summer restoration project. Erin White, a graduate student from the Heritage Resources program at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, started the ten-week internship at the end of May. Jess Warren, from Georgia, is a student in the building preservation technology program at Belmont Technical College in St. Clairsville, Ohio, and he started his internship in mid-June.
This is what they have to say:
Our main project for the summer is the restoration of the reconstructed slave quarters near the Great House. Before Jess’ arrival, Phil and Erin started by removing the back window sashes on the east quarters. The sashes were labeled and taken back to the preservation shop. Using environmentally-friendly silent paint remover, which uses infrared heat, Phil and Erin began removing the glaze, glazing points, and paint from the exterior side of the sashes. We then removed the panes of glass, taking much care not to break them. After all of the glass was removed, the interior sides of the sashes were sanded.
Jess cut the Restoration Glass to replace the broken panes. Restoration Glass is cylinder glass made in Germany in the manner of early glass production before the invention of float glass in the 20th century. Restoration Glass is appropriate to the period of the main house. After the panes were checked to ensure a proper fit, Jess used Sarco glazing to set the glass, which requires a very steady hand.
Currently, we are removing paint and sanding the eaves and window frames of the quarters. We then use Boracare, a non-toxic insecticide, to protect the wood. After this dries, primer, then paint, is applied. If you come by the slave quarters and see us on scaffolding, this is probably what we are doing, so feel free to ask any questions. We’re there Monday through Friday, 9:00-5:00!