We’ve just added a fairly in depth Case Study that shows a full spire head rebuild – link below.
This page shows a brand new installation of a permanent ladder to give access up inside a steeple, and galvanised mesh to prevent birds getting in to the building (as they were previously).
Looking up the ladder from the base.
Looking down – about halfway up.
Looking down from the top.
Sheet of 1 inch x 1 inch square 12 gauge galvanised mesh fitted to one of the eight louvre windows.
This shot shows a few of the new mesh sheets.
–Click pictures to enlarge – click again to shrink–
These first two shots show natural hydraulic lime mortar being applied on top of a slurry mix designed to increase and retain adhesion.
These 2 shots show the completed skew – still moist and beginning the curing process.
Skew now hessian covered. The curing process takes a long time. Lime reaches full strength over an extended period of time, but the first three days are the most critical and it’s during this period that we make sure the work stays protected. The point of the hessian is twofold – it’s there to: protect the mortar from the weather, and (importantly) prevent it losing moisture too quickly.
A complete and deep rake out, and subsequent full repoint with hydraulic lime mortar, of the entire spire of an Aberdeenshire Church.
This shot shows a pointed and finished horizontal bed above, a raked out vertical joint (note the depth achieved), and newly pointed and unfinished lime (it ends up smooth like the lime above).
Newly applied (and finished) pointing, with deeply raked out beds and joints below.
Looking down from above – pointing in progress.
Pointing the awkward joints near the top of the spire.
Newly pointed beds at the top.
Looking down from the top at the fully pointed spire.
A full rake out and natural hydraulic lime repointing job on a single steeple face of a Dumfries and Galloway Church.
Raking out – an ardous job!
Looking up at the finished face.
Another view up the face once pointing had been completed.
Today (30th of March 2017) we received the welcome news that we have gained entry to the Guild of Master Craftsmen.
The selection process is rigorous and based on references (they have to be very good). We are proud of this, and intend to uphold the standards of the Guild by simply maintaining our own standards.
This 2015 job involved stabilisation of the head of the spire followed by full rake out and repointing.
We also carried out more minor tasks like painting the finial and fitting mesh to louvre windows to prevent birds getting in and making a mess of the inside.
We fitted four large and strong copper cramps to stabilise the head of the spire. This was the clients favoured approach as the Church could not afford a full rebuild. This repair will keep the spire stable for a great many years to come (it will see all of us out).
This slot was cut to allow the cramps to be recessed into the masonry. This makes them a little stronger (by going a little deeper into the masonry) but the main purpose of the slot is for appearance sake (cramps look better when they are back flush with the face of the masonry). You can also see the holes that we’ve created to accept the cramp “legs”.
This picture shows the cramp fully inserted. They are all secured with Hilti resin. Before inserting the cramps the holes are completely filled with the material. As you insert the cramp most of it is pushed back out but it means the cramp is very securely fitted into solid resin (no air pockets – it’s all direct contact from stone to resin to copper).
Raking out the old cement mortar in preparation for a full repointing exercise with hydraulic lime mortar (much better for the structure – won’t damage it as cement can).
This is the pointing work in progress. Look at the beds and joints below the new work and you’ll see that they have been raked out (old cement removed) ready to take the new hydraulic lime.
Looking up the spire at the new pointing.
Another view of the new work.
Looking downwards this time.
Here you can see one of the newly meshed louvre windows.
This picture was taken near the end of the contract. The spire is fully raked out and repointed, the steeple has some “patch” pointing done, the finial (weathervane) has been painted, the louvres have all been painted with 2 thick coats of quality timber preserving paint, and the rear sides of the louvres are meshed to prevent birds getting in.
It’s a good job. We’ve stabilised the head of the spire for many years to come (and it wasn’t all that safe before!), and extended the life of the finial, masonry, and louvres by doing good quality pointing and painting work.