Monday, July 23, 2012

Tree of Life Installation

It was finally time to install the Tree of Life sculpture in Cave Hill Cemetery.
Thursday morning, Steve McMillen helped me to load up and delivery the finished bronze.
After the 1-1/2 hour drive up, we went to the maintenance receiving area to fit the bronze to the granite plinth.
I had to drill a 3/4" hole for the stainless steel pin that would hold the sculpture in place.
The guys with the Cave Hill Monument Company loaded the stones onto a truck to take them to the site. Mark, the foreman, is operating the backhoe, while Billy is steadying the plinth.
They laid fiberglass planking so that they would not disturb the grave sites while installing the monument.
They set the base onto a concrete footer, using a thin bed of sand to help keep it level.
Billy is "walking" the heavy granite plinth into place using his crow bar. It was a pretty neat trick - there is always new things to learn when handling heavy stones.
Mark and I are holding the bronze tree up while Billy lays in a bead of setting compound. I have already mixed epoxy and added it to the stainless steel pin at this point.
Billy is carefully using a knife to trim the setting compound around the complex shape of the tree roots. It is 98 degrees with a heat index of about 110 degrees. The "King Tut" look with a wet towel is a smart way to beat the heat. I sweated so much that I ruined my cell phone that was in my pocket.
Billy finished everything with a thorough cleaning. It has been a long process to see this monument come together, but I'm very happy with the final results. This project has involved various members of the Leis family, Cave Hill Monument Company and Art Castings of Colorado. I think that it would be a safe estimate to say that at least 50 people have been involved in different aspects of the project. I will post detail shots of the finished monument soon.

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