My Social Distancing

Discussion in 'Metal casting projects' started by FishbonzWV, Apr 21, 2020.

  1. FishbonzWV

    FishbonzWV Silver Banner Member

    It's been awhile, but I got a couple grave markers and a house number for a neighbor cast. I'll let them age for several weeks and throw them in the oven a few times before powder coating them.

    The rest of my social distancing is being spent in a forgotten cemetery trying to clear it and conserve it. Last year I cleared the brush and this year is removing trees. Sixteen days put in so far and one more will have all the wood gone. It's been bucked up for firewood and removed. This old body is sore and tired but I keep going back for more.

    That Sumac tree grew in the slot of the base stone that held this tombstone, I epoxied it back together and infilled the cracks. I still have to manufacture the bottom of it.

    This is ten of the eighteen trees I've removed.

    Tools of the trade.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2020
    Al2O3 and Tobho Mott like this.
  2. Petee716

    Petee716 Silver Banner Member

    That's some great progress Bonz.
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  3. FishbonzWV

    FishbonzWV Silver Banner Member

    I forgot to mention the tasks that had to get done before starting in the cemetery.
    Dig a sixty foot french drain, dig a 40 foot and a 25 foot ditch to drain hillside ground springs.
    Cut down another 25 red pines on the hill opposite the cemetery and 20 of those had to be pulled uphill before felling. The Masdam rope puller and my 1976 McCulloch chainsaw (which I bought new) are getting a real workout.
  4. Tobho Mott

    Tobho Mott Silver Banner Member

    Your cemetery project is quite interesting, I liked your videos about figuring out who was buried where, etc. The castings look great too, how are you doing the big numbers for the address plaques?

    FishbonzWV likes this.
  5. Jason

    Jason Gold Banner Member

    Way to keep busy Bonz... ;)
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  6. Those plaques look very good! Nice work. How are you making your patterns?

    The cemetery work is amazing. Such a fine and generous undertaking (that word was on the page before I got the pun—-not kidding).

    FishbonzWV likes this.
  7. Zapins

    Zapins Silver

    I like this idea and the work you've put in. I hope one day someone will do the same for us when we're forgotten.

    I wonder why these people's family members didn't upkeep the cemetary?
    FishbonzWV likes this.
  8. FishbonzWV

    FishbonzWV Silver Banner Member

    Sorry for the late replies. I lose internet service every night, everybody and their brother must be streaming movies.

    I think I got those wooden numbers at Michaels. After looking through their foam stuff I go to the wooden pattern section and check for new stuff.

    The base patterns are made of 1/4" plexiglass and I apply the alphanumerics with contact cement so I can pop them off easily.

    I don't know the answer to that. There are three separate cemeteries, one which we keep mowed, three generation of the wife's grandfolks. I've done a lot of research and I think the wife's family has owned the property since the first pioneer settlers in the 1820's. The one I'm clearing has a lot of rocks marking graves and I think they are the pioneers.
  9. Petee716

    Petee716 Silver Banner Member

    I can't really speak to the one Fishbonz is working on but there are a lot more of those around than one might think. It wasn't long ago that where I live was frontier (from a European perspective). Tiny towns and villages started and existed in various valleys, hills, and hollows, usually near water, often just a mile or two apart. A couple of families, a dozen families, a religious sect, etc. This was lumber and fur country. As little places coalesced into larger towns because of industry and other reasons a lot of these tiny towns were absorbed and their communities of a few generations have often been forgotten save a historical marker or a street named after it. Maybe the schoolhouse is still standing converted into a home or some other use or perhaps just abandoned. A very large shift came when the railroads came through. So as the central towns grew and the comminity centers evolved, the hinterland communities, cemeteries and all, just get abandoned and forgotten. I'm sure this is just a snapshot of human history.
    Keep up the good work Bonz. There are too many takers. It's nice to see a giver.

    Tobho Mott likes this.
  10. FishbonzWV

    FishbonzWV Silver Banner Member

    That's pretty well it Pete.
    There are thousands of these forgotten cemeteries from coast to coast, country to country, all around the world.
    This narrative is kind of localized to me but it will give all who read it a glimpse into what life was like.
    Bookmark it and when you get bored, pick up where you left off.
  11. FishbonzWV

    FishbonzWV Silver Banner Member

    I finished the grave markers today.
    Soft Misty Bronze powder with a Super Clear top coat.


    The previous ones I've installed with just a 4" concrete block under them had the grass grow over them so I needed something as a buffer. I went to our local granite counter top business and bummed some sink cut outs from them and these will give me a 1 1/2" edge around the plaque.

    Peedee, Jason, Mister ED and 2 others like this.
  12. DavidF

    DavidF Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    Nice work!!
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  13. Jason

    Jason Gold Banner Member

    Those look really nice! Best part, no one will be tempted to steal them for scrap metal. Hats off to ya man, it's a nice thing you're doing.
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  14. FishbonzWV

    FishbonzWV Silver Banner Member

    It's more like crap metal. I'm using the mystery metal from the motor shells that I melted down. I think it might be a Zamak but it gets better if I add about a pound of aluminium wire to the crucible. It works okay for the 1/4" plaques but that's as thick as I would pour with it. Saves my wheelium for better uses. :)
    OMM likes this.
  15. Petee716

    Petee716 Silver Banner Member

    Nice work on the plaques and great score on the granite. I'll bet it'll get Zapin's attention since he's a stone/granite guy.
    Hey, something you may find interesting since you're clearing all of that wood.
    Fatwood. It's a great fire starter and I've been using it to light my propane preheat. I take a piece the size of a pencil, bend it in half and light it with a lighter or propane torch and set it on the plinth. Once it lights it's hard to blow out even with my small blower on and no cinders from paper or burnt up rags. (Or singed eyebrows either). It's basically waterproof as well. The reason I'm mentioning it is because I know you're in pine country and that's where it comes from. Rotten pine stumps (any conifer, they're not all "pines" lol.). You want it dead at least 5-10 years and still in the ground. It's rotted enough to be punky all around the outside and fairly easy to pop out of the ground but the core is sticky and resinous. When the tree breaks off or is cut down the roots continue to make turpine and it concentrates around the crown. There's no mistaking the smell when you open it up. Chunks of the upper root are also really helpful for the brush fire that "just don't wanna light". Just thought I'd mention it as long as your neck deep in it.

  16. FishbonzWV

    FishbonzWV Silver Banner Member

    I know the value of those pine knots. We used to search for them in the Boy Scouts. Great fire starters.
    Those cut outs are actually a man made product called Hydrostone. I hope they stand the test of time.
    The other two pieces I got from them are green granite.
  17. FishbonzWV

    FishbonzWV Silver Banner Member

    I went to the cemetery to install the plaque and found that the temporary marker had been moved next to a plot boundary marking stone. They will do this so they don't have to mow around the temp marker. I retrieved my dowsing rods from the truck and used them to locate the grave. This is the exact reason I am doing this. The white around the plaque really looks good.


    Here's a shot of the cemetery. Grandpa bought 10 plots in 1961 (I have the receipt) for $100.
    It's a 'take care of your own plot' cemetery. I do six rows every mowing day and usually pick up a couple overgrown rows too.

    Jason likes this.
  18. OMM

    OMM Silver Banner Member

    I absolutely love the work you're doing. God bless you. Vertical headstones do take a tremendous amount of maintenance.

    The city I live in took over a cemetery, at the far end of my street growing up. It was totally sold out in the 70s. Very few plots are still vacant but paid for. The city has assumed all maintenance. There is one full-time employee and during the summer, they hire 3-4 full time College or university students. One of my close high school buddies worked there for a summer.

    I really appreciate what you're doing!
    FishbonzWV likes this.
  19. Peedee

    Peedee Silver

    I'm going to be 'dusted' around Druids corner at the Brand's Hatch racing circuit when they torch me, any chance you could whip me up a plaque for the gravel trap?

    You really have nailed those castings and the granite makes it. Like others have said it's a very noble thing you are involved with, god bless.
    FishbonzWV likes this.
  20. FishbonzWV

    FishbonzWV Silver Banner Member

    Thanks for the accolades guys. I wouldn't call it noble, when I started doing these it was self serving because I too dislike mowing around those temp markers. They are constantly getting caught in the push mower wheels. Then I found a few that were mangled from someone running over them when the grass was so tall that they were obscured. I'm just in a position to help preserve the memories.
    Now this is one I'm proud of and it didn't take anything more than spraying the stone with D/2 several times. I've actually sprayed every white marble stone in the cemetery and they all are becoming brilliant white again.
    Melterskelter likes this.

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