I am not a stone mason (i.e. I do not carve architectural stonework) but I am a stone conservator experienced at dismantling,
rebuilding and repairing masonry structures. One of the most important questions asked at the beginning of a project should be:
to repair or to replace?
My main skills come into play when the decision is to repair. All repair work to historic masonry in the south west of the UK
from straightforward repointing of rubble walling to complex remodeling of the subtle details of an intricate carving involves the
use of building lime in one of it's many forms. Calcium Hydroxide (CA(OH)2) is a versatile medium and can be used in many forms
from liquid suspension to cheese-like putty. Impure forms of Clacium Hydroxide with a high clay content form the range of Hydraulic
limes the setting strengths of which vary with impurity levels and firing temperatures.
You can spray a solution of Calcium Hydroxide suspended in water (Limewater) as a consolidant. You can add pigment to watered
lime and paint with it (Limewashes, Distempers). Slightly thicker and with a fine sand or stonedust aggregate it can be applied as a
protective, sacrificial layer (Sheltercoat). Mixed as putty (or powder in the case of hydraulic limes) with aggregates to colour and
texture it is used in repair work and pointing (Mortars and Renders). Aged and mixed with stonedusts and other aggregates it can be
used as the finest of modeling mediums (Stucco). But if any of these dries too quickly or freezes whilst green then the work
is ruined. Lime is also a sensitive material and must be protected from the elements whilst it carbonates otherwise what should be
flexible and strong becomes powdery and brittle (and bleached looking).
I enjoy working with lime and have used it extensively in all it's forms from Limewater to Stucco on buildings ranging from
the Imperial Roman to the present day as you will see from my CV.