Friday, October 26, 2012

What Goes In The Gaps

When repairing the holes in the Chief's Crest Pole, Andrew uses two different types of fillers.  The one above is an epoxy based filler.  The epoxy is used in areas that carry a big load and require a great deal of strength.
The other kind of filler he uses is a PH balanced glue filler.  The glue is used in smaller less structurally important areas.
Both of the fillers contain a mix of powders used to give the glue extra strength.
The epoxy filler also contains sawdust used to give it even more strength.  The sawdust used was brought over from Canada and is Red Cedar, the same type of wood that the Totem Pole was carved from.
Mixing the epoxy is very tricky work.  It's made up of two parts that must be mixed perfectly.  Even the temperature outside can affect the speed the epoxy will dry and how strong it will be when it dries.  It's very precis work that takes years of experience to perfect.
After the powder, sawdust, and epoxy are mixed, it must be used immediately   It takes only a short time for it to dry and becomes very difficult to work with.
The filler made from the PF balanced glue is a little more forgiving, since it doesn't dry as quickly, but it's not as strong as the epoxy.
When applying the epoxy, Andrew works very hard to mold it too the contours of the Totem Pole.  When it fully dries, about 24 hours after it's applied, he can carve it, but the idea is to apply it perfectly with as little carving as possible.
After the fillers dry, and any carving is done, Andrew can apply the consolidant and paint to these areas.  Once it's covered up it blends into the Totem Pole virtually flawlessly.

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