For year 2013, I am offering my services for free to any cemetery in Colorado, as
long as I am accepted as an official volunteer with the responsible cemetery caretakers.
There are a number
of services available for the benefit of a cemetery manager, caretaker, or private family member. Costs depend on the
size of the job. My costs are the affordable and reasonable. I have been professionally trained by others who have deep
set experience in conservation of old monuments. Estimates are free (in some cases a gas stipend might be needed depending
on distance travelled)
Cleaning - Be aware that cleaned
stones should never look bright white or like new!
Many well meaning individuals will strip the outside “skin”
or patina of a stone away by using improper tools and cleaning agents. A soft bristle brush,
water, and old fashioned elbow grease is as technical as one needs to be.
should never be done more than once every ten years and the entire stone should be cleaned at that time.
Many stones are leaning or sinking because of several possible issues:
1. the coffin has collapsed - early burials
did not require vaults (as they do now in most modern cemeteries). Vaults are a concrete or durable material that encapsulates
a casket to prevent moisture from damaging the casket. When no vault is present and there have been heavy rains, consistant
moisture from sprinklers, heavy equipment driven over the grave, or an earth shift...well the ground above can give way and
leave a deep depression. The gravestone is usually close enough that the shift now affects it, causing it to lean or sink.
Leaning stones can be extremely dangerous.
2. Animal intrusion - many cemeteries have within it's boundaries skunks,
fox, badger, ground squirrels, and other digging rodents. They have been known to dig below the heavy stones and even to excavate
to the coffins and bring up remnants. My service does not extend to the extermination of riddance of animals. Other professionals
will have to be sought for that.
3. If the grave is located on a slope, the ground may be giving way above the grave marker
and either cover the grave stone or carry it away from the original location.
I can repair most broken or crumbling grave stones. The stone will ALWAYS be evaluated before any work is done
and you will recieve and assessment before work is done. I may need to ask for recovery of costs of
materials required for repairs, especially if there are extensive repairs.
any work is started, I will evaluate the stone to check its soundness.
The party contracting for the service will
be made aware of issues before work is done either verbally, by email, or by a quick evaluation report shipped through USPS.
If I am contracted, I will fulfill a written agreement which includes the requested task (cleaning, resetting,
or repair); the stone will be photographed and documented, and a copy of the final documentation will be given to
the person who requested the work.
I will not gouge your pocketbook. I understand how tight budgets are. It would
be a pleasure to work for you!
will photograph the whole stone on all sides. Documentation includes stone material description; monument type; all inscriptions;
damage and/or condition; monument size, and location. Photos would be put on a CD or DVD depending on the size of the job
or entire cemetery.
Documentation is vital for cemeteries but few have it done. Photos show layouts of the cemetery or
plot. In the future, if something happens to the gravemarker or monument or the monument goes missing, it gives an excellant
reference for a police report or replacement costs estimated through a monument company.
These photos are often sought
by genealogists and relatives.
In the last
two decades, professionals in preservation and conservation have made great strides in the ability to reproduce facades, statuary,
and stone art on buildings and in cemeteries. These skills serve to aid in repairs of vandalized or weathered pieces. The
damaged pieces are completely removed and allow the new pieces to blend in with the originals. These techniques have
been used on the White House, cathedrals in Maryland, a museum in Salem, Mass., and countless other places. These casts can
also be used as memorial pieces and in shadow boxes.
To have these made, I would need the permission of the cemetery
owner or manager and the family member making the request. A family member is asked to contact the cemetery caretaker before
I am asked to do the work. Costs for each piece will vary depending on the size of the job.
It is possible to create
a mold of an entire stone but it would be costly. Smaller pieces are more practical.