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Wed, Jul 13


Homestead Cemetery

48 State Tour! Restoring America's Cemeteries

Join the Homestead Cemetery Board as we welcome Mr. Jonathan Appell of Atlas Preservation for a FREE workshop on how to restore, reconstruct, and preserve our historic monuments.

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48 State Tour! Restoring America's Cemeteries
48 State Tour! Restoring America's Cemeteries

Time & Location

Jul 13, 2022, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Homestead Cemetery, 2257 Main Street, Munhall, PA 15120, USA

About the event

For more information, you mayy visit the official 48 State Tour! website!

Jonathan Appell is a gravestone and monument conservator working in the field for over two decades. He has collaborated with numerous people and organizations around America performing jobs and workshops teaching people how to preserve historic monuments. In 2016, Jon reconstructed and reset the Knight’s Tomb in Jamestown, Virginia, which is arguably the oldest gravestone in the country. He has developed simple and effective hands-on techniques in the trade and has helped to create a movement in restoring America’s burying grounds. The 48 State Tour is hosted by Atlas Preservation and all workshops are performed by Jon.

The 48 State Tour was created in 2020 when Jon embarked on a mission to travel the country performing 48 Gravestone Preservation Workshops in 48 States in 48 Days. These workshops are completely free and open to the public. Each workshop is conducted on the grounds of a nearby historic cemetery. All the most common conditions encountered in gravestone and monument conservation are discussed and the associated conservation treatments are performed. An emphasis is placed on describing all actions as the treatments are being conducted. When there are multiple options to perform the repairs, each option is reviewed with an explanation on why we are moving forward with a specific treatment technique. The objective is to explain, demonstrate, and encourage the attendees to help perform the work as their confidence and skills increase throughout the event.

We always recommend participants to bring a chair, cooler, water, and snacks! The Cemetery Board will provide a tent. We also recommend wearing old clothes that you do not mind getting dirty, especially if you will be participating in the cleaning segment. A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen are also a good idea to have on hand!

The exact scope of the workshop is partially site specific, varying with the type of stones and needs of the cemetery where the workshop is conducted. The workshop begins with a walk and talk tour to survey the existing conditions of the terrain, gravestones, and monuments on the site. This is an interactive tour in which questions and discussion is encouraged.

Gravestone cleaning will be discussed, demonstrated, and performed. Gravestones can be fragile and easily damaged when cleaned with the wrong chemicals and or aggressively brushed or pressure washed. Safe cleaning techniques are explained with options outlined for product selection. This segment is hands on!

We will learn how to perform the re-setting of a tablet-stone, which may be in a badly leaning, and or sunken conditions.

We will disassemble and then re-construct a multi-piece monument. This will involve discussion on material selection and options. The process includes re-leveling the base stone, removal of all joining material, applying bonding materials, lowering upper element into base stone safely to join the pieces structurally, and properly re-grading around the stone. Attendees will also learn how to join broken gravestone fragments together employing stone epoxy, clamping, and bracing techniques and options.

We will discuss the pros and cons of drilling and employing blind pinning. Varying dowel materials will be overviewed.

If time allows, an overhead, lifting tripod will be employed. We will discuss slings and rigging options, and rig and lift monuments which need re-setting due to either, having a high degree of lean, being unstable, or already fallen.

We will discuss and demonstrate the materials required, and the process involved in replacing eroded or lost stone with the use of a stone infill material. This includes preparation, application, curing of mortars, color matching, etc.

The process and potential need for consolidation of weak and decayed gravestones will be explained. The problems associated with sealing stone will be explained in detail including the action of rising damp.

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