Introduction: Stone Carving: "Forgotten Heroes", Repair for Remembrance Day

About: Liked to draw and paint when I was growing up. Switched to carving and sculpture in my twenties. Work in wood, stone / marble, plaster, and ceramic clay.

If you do any type of stone carving, where the work is intended for outside display, you may find this instructable to be of some interest.

This is not meant to teach or show my carving methods, I'll do that in other instructables. In this instructable I wanted to pass on some of my own experience in making stone sculptures that will be displayed in gardens or as monuments and are subject to winter conditions.

Step 1: A Little Background

Some time ago I was commissioned by an eleven year old boy, Noah Tremblay, to make a monument sculpture. He raised the money and, with the help of his parents, went through all the red tape to have a tribute to animals who served in war erected in the Veterans War Memorial Park, in Bass River, Nova Scotia.

I selected a black stone from an abandoned quarry. I had used it before to make a chess set and it had polished to a nice shiny black. This time however, it came out as dark grey after polishing. It must have been slightly different, even though it was from the same site. I hadn't tested a small piece first. I won't make that mistake again.

This didn't seem to bother anyone as much as it did me, so things went ahead. It was requested that a stone rifle and helmet be added. I used WWII images since the tribute was to a Newfoundland dog who had picked up a grenade and ran with it to save the men in his company. The men had wanted a monument made and many years later, Noah succeeded in making it happen.

I was surprised to find that the sculptures would be installed on a small slab of stone only a foot above the ground. I thought the dog and helmet would be ok, but I was worried about the rifle.

Step 2: The Unveiling

I was surprised to find that the sculptures would be installed on a small slab of stone only a foot above the ground. I thought the dog and helmet would be ok, but I was worried about the rifle.

The unveiling went well and the stone dog soon became a favorite attraction for many Park visitors.

But ...

The rifle did not survive the winter weather well. The first year it broke free from the base. I repaired it and last year it broke free again. This time the bolt had broken off - I suspect it was due to being stepped on as a child tried to pet the carving.

When I carved the rifle I wanted a true three dimensional shape. The underside of it was curved and not flat, so ice got under and lifted the piece, breaking the bond with the epoxy glue.

At least, that's my theory.

What to do?

Another thing I noticed was that the polish on the dog had almost completely gone dull in a short period of time. I think it was because of the detail in the fur. I had made other outside sculptures and the polish does fade over time. Something I did not realise when I first began working in stone.

The flatter the surface, the better the polish and the longer it will last, in my experience. And so the flat, machine polished grave stone will look shiny for a long time. Not so easy to do in a sculpture. The details of the fur meant a lot of small scratches were not as well polished as I thought, and much of the shine was gone more quickly.

Step 3: In the Workshop

I keep telling people the workshop looks this way due to renovations, but they just give me a skeptical look.

I made a stone base for the rifle that will raise it up. The supporting stone will have a flat bottom and the rifle sits in a groove carved to fit it. A little bit of sealer was added to the edge to make sure water didn't get in under the rifle.

Back to the Park to install it.

I was surprised to see that people were placing poppies on the sculpture. Nice.

I made a short video of installing it at the park.

thanks for viewing