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Cleaning a combination grate in situ . . . and other news

Posted on | By Thornton Kay
London South West, UK - Cleaning a combination grate in situ . . . and other news

London - Apollo magazine describes some Owen Jones (1809-1874) paper designs now in the V&A by Olivia Horsfall Turner, V&A senior curator, in ‘A set of original drawings by Owen Jones have returned to the museum that inspired them’. Jones studied designs influenced the Government Schools of Art and Design at the South Kensington Museum, as the V&A was then known. In 2017, an enquiry from a member of the public about some artworks resulted in the museum being able to buy 51 original designs for a book of prints that Jones published in 1867. Henry Cole asked Jones to decorate the museum’s Oriental Courts of Indian, Japanese and Chinese works. The resulting decorative scheme was taken from The Grammar of Ornament is in spaces currently used as service areas, but it seems that much of the original painting still survives under layers of paint. The V&A also plans to reconnect the designs with the original exhibits which inspired them. The illustration (top left) is a design based on a cloisonné enamel vase (c. 1866), published as Plate 40 in Examples of Chinese Ornament selected from objects in the South Kensington museum and other collections (1867), Owen Jones. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

India - World Toilet day on 18 November last year highlighted the plight of the untouchables role in manual scavenging, the practice of manual cleaning of human excreta from service/ dry latrines. The scavengers crawl into the dry latrines and collect the human excreta with their bare hands, carry it as head-load in a container to dispose it off. A caste based and hereditary profession, which is handed down, as a legacy from one generation to the next; “manual scavenging” has been an age-old routine for this community, which is untouched by technological advancement in sanitary practices. Not only does the prevalence of this culture seem antediluvian, but what is worse is the fact that those born in this community are considered agents of pollution due to their background of social hierarchy, based on birth. They are the most oppressed and suppressed class of Indian society – hated, ostracized, vilified and avoided by all other castes and classes. The appalling hardship, humiliation and exploitation they face, have no parallel in human history. The practice started in the Pauranic period continued in the Buddhist, Mauryan, Mughal and British periods. In 2019, as a tribute to the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, it is hoped that India will be free of open defecation as a planned 100% of its population will, as a result of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s 2014 initiative. The photo (top centre) shows Sulabh International founder Bindeshwar Pathak India’s famed toilet activist in action.

A tale of two Knapps

Leipzig - Congratulations Thomas Knapp, whose Historische Baustoffe has supplied carpenters and joiners throughout Germany with reclaimed oak beams, planks and boards for the restoration of old buildings for 35 years, and who has been awarded the Denkmal gold medal for excellence in restoration and historic preservation. The award is decided by an independent jury of international experts from Germany’s heritage sector. The German’s know that repair of old buildings with green hardwood can cause problems so they prefer to use old, properly seasoned, low moisture content wood, which also gives more aesthetically pleasing results. To supply reclaimed wood of good quality in various dimensions and cuts, in sufficient quantities and in a reliable quality, means effort and high competence - hence the award. "All of us at the company are, of course, very proud of the gold medal," says Knapp. The photo (top right) of Thomas is at Salvo Fair 2010, at which he exhibited a large pile of his reclaimed timbers. See knapp-online.de

Berkeley - Congratulations Dan Knapp (photo middle right, from BMRA newsletter), whose Urban Ore operation is the epitome of US salvage operations. This year at Decon 18 the Building Materials Reuse Association honored Dan with its first Lifetime Achievement Award, to recognise his contribution to the reclaimed building materials industry. Dan was co-founder of Urban Ore in California, and he was a founder of the Used Building Materials Association which morphed into the BMRA. Dan has been a leader, teacher and guide to many of the folks that have followed in his footsteps. His inspirational motto is ‘To end the age of Waste’ and he helped start a monumental movement - which is now about Zero Waste, Circular Economy, and LEED - and back in the day there were just a few folks like Dan making deals with the dump to divert whatever they could and dedicating their lives to making a difference. Dan was there before most of us, and we owe a lot to his vision. He has set up an archive for founders of the industry, including an oral history project. In 1976 the City of Berkeley’s Solid Waste Management Plan called for salvaging for reuse at the City-owned landfill.  A nonprofit tried to salvage but failed.  In 1980 Urban Ore started recovering and trading resources as a scavenger organization. Its only assets were permission to exist and a place to put things down.  It had no capital, no equipment, no shelter, and it paid no rent, building its cash flow from the reusable goods and scrap metals it could divert from or rescue from the tipping face. In May 2009, with help from the Alameda County Source Reduction and Recycling Board, Urban Ore was able to purchase its property at 900 Murray St.  Buying the site was a life-changing event, and the company looks forward to continued growth at a stable location. See urbanore.com/about-us/

London West - A Babylonian brick (photo centre credit RWAA) was sold in December 2017 by Rupert Wace Ancient Art as part of its exhibition, Dizygotica.
There was a Sumerian cuneiform inscription on the face and one edge of the clay brick appears, bearing the name Amar-Sin, King of Ur and the Immortal Moon-God (c1981-1973BC), the third ruler of the Third Dynasty of Ur who regenerated ancient sites of Sumer. The brick came from a temple in the city of Nippur (now in modern-day Iraq) for the worship of Enki, the Sumerian god of water, knowledge and crafts and is the only known complete example. Priced at £9500, it was sold during London Art Week. Amar-Sin changed the sacrifice of large oxen at the Akitu festival in Esagila when it was foretold that he would die from goring by an ox, but he died from the bite of a scorpion in his shoe.

Berlin - Historische Bauelemente has four 1950s ceramic draining boards (photo middle left) for sale at €75 a piece. Each one is 47cm x 50cm and weighs 15kg. They each feature a built-in downstand under the back edge to give a fall into the sink. www.historische-bauelemente.com/catalogue/detail/keramik-abtropf-platte-50er-jahre/18588

Pittsburgh - Project RE in Pittsburgh, a partnership between the Urban Design Build Studio at the Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture and Construction Junction, a reclaimed building material nonprofit, is investigating how low income communities impacted by blight can benefit from deconstruction and affordable housing. CJ staff worked collaboratively with instruction from Dave Bennink (he needs a medal) to deconstruct a solar house in Washington DC because the practice of deconstruction will be a continuing part of the UDBS curriculum next year. January’s BMRA newsletter will cover the UDBS project, Deconstructing Blight, and various issues of blight and increasing value of building materials. This project is ambitious and askes a lot of big, difficult questions, but it fits perfectly into the BMRA’s mission to identify all of the potential benefits of engaging with used building materials. bmra news dec 18 editor Dirk Wassink at newsletter@bmra.org

Bourgogne - Pierre de Bourgogne is now recognized in France as a ‘Geographical Indication’ (GI), a legal tool under the intellectual property framework as trademarks. Salvo asked the Pierre de Bourgogne certifying body if use of the term ‘pierre de bourgogne’ is exempted for antique, reclaimed or salvaged stone which looks similar?
Answer: ’No, GIs have been recognised at an international level in the WTO agreements, mostly the TRIPs (trade-related aspects of IP rights) agreement well known in Europe for agricultural and agro-foodstuffs. Most countries now have GI provisions in their national regulations. GIs, known as appellation d'origine contrôlée, were designed in 1905 to protect wine products in France. GIs protect geographical origin and the marketing that will be promoted with trademarks and other tools. ‘Pierre de Bourgogne’ is legally protected in French and in translations to other languages. It is also protected against passing off or illegal use such as evocation. In order to benefit from the denomination ‘Pierre de Bourgogne’ legal use and to market products under the name of the GI ‘Pierre de Bourgogne’, the extraction, processing, shaping and finishing of the product must be carried out at 100% within the geographical area recognised by the GI specifications by a certified enterprise (called ‘operator’). All steps of production must meet the requirements of the specifications. A certified operator is inspected every year (for processing) or every three years ( for extractors) by an external certification body.
- quarry stored blocks extracted before the date of approval may be marketed as GI product
- blocks extracted and shipped before the date of homologation, so having left the quarry cannot be marketed as GI product
- blocks stored at the factory before the date of approval cannot be marketed as  GI product
- finished products manufactured before the date of approval, cannot bear the GI name
Salvo asked, please explain how dealers or specifiers can uniquely identify antique, reclaimed or salvaged stone, traditionally described as 'pierre de bourgogne’ but whose origin may not be Burgundy?
Answer: There are 83 varieties of “Pierre de Bourgogne”. The geological formation allows the ‘Pierre de Bourgogne’ to be used indoors and outdoors. ‘Pierre de Bourgogne’ is a ‘living’ material with grains, fossils, various colours and veins more or less present. It's not a uniform material. This diversity makes its specificity. 
Question: Can any reclaimed stone from Burgundy be called ‘pierre de bourgogne’ - for example salvaged Indian flagstones reclaimed from a house in Burgundy?
Answer: It is not possible to call Indian slabs ‘Pierre de Bourgogne’ because they are located in Burgundy! The ‘Pierre de Bourgogne’ is a stone with specific physical and aesthetic qualities, related to the geology of the Burgundy territory and valued for millennia thanks to a unique and ancestral local know-how.
Association Pierre de Bourgogne See http://pierre-bourgogne.fr/en
(photo bottom centre, credit BCA Materiaux Anciens)

Dorset - Ace Reclamation has posted a handy guide to restoring a cast iron fireplace. A cast iron fireplace is a lovely feature for a room, but it is a costly thing. If you are lucky enough to own a run-down old fireplace you can restore it yourself with a bit of hard work and patience. You could even buy an old fireplace from a reclaim yard and restore it, saving yourself a lot of money.

Stripping and Cleaning a Period Cast Iron Fireplace
Remove the Fireplace from it's Current Location: If you can remove the cast iron fireplace from its place in the wall, this will make your job easier. If not, make sure you put down protective sheeting as the job can get messy. An old shower curtain makes a good protective cover for the floor, as it is waterproof.
Remove any old Paint From the Fireplace: Firstly, you need to remove any old paint from the fireplace. Don't try to burn it off with a blowtorch, as cast iron is a brittle material and can crack easily. Also, chances are the old paint contains lead and you don't want to burn it, releasing toxic fumes.
Use a Paint Stripper: Use a paint stripper such as Nitromors to remove the paint. Make sure you wear protective gloves, goggles and old clothes, and ensure the room is well ventilated as this type of paint stripper can be caustic and also gives off harmful fumes. Brush the paint stripper on using a paintbrush, then scrape it away with a plastic or wooden scraper - don't use a metal scraper as you could scratch or damage the fireplace.
Use a Stiff Brush on Tricky Bits: For intricate bits of detail, a stiff nylon brush will be of help. You may find there are several layers of paint on your fireplace, so have patience and keep working at it to remove it all.
Wipe Down With White Spirit: Clean off the fireplace with a cloth soaked in white spirit once you've got the paint off. Don't let water get anywhere near the cast iron or it will start to rust quickly.
Remove any Rust: If there is any rust on the fireplace, use wire wool to clean it off. A wire brush can be used for more stubborn patches.

Painting or Polishing a Period Cast Iron Fireplace?
Once your fireplace is restored back to its original state, you need to decide whether to paint or polish it. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you buy the right stuff to do it with. Grate polish can be applied with a rag, or if you prefer a burnished look, you can use WD40.
If you are planning to paint the fireplace, give it a coat of red oxide first to prevent rusting. Buy a specialist paint, available from most DIY shops.
If your fireplace is likely to be exposed to cold air at all, then a coat of Iron Paste or Black Lead can be applied, which will protect it. This can be buffed to a polished finish.

Story Type: News