This case study focuses on the restoration and repairs to the timbers of the Totem Pole using Rotafix repair methodology and materials.
This magnificent totem pole is located in Windsor Great Park. It was donated to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by the Canadian people in June 1958 to celebrate the centenary of the proclamation of British Columbia as a Crown Colony.
The Totem Pole was carved from a single red cedar tree, in keeping with ancient Native American tradition. The tree, believed to be 600 years old, was selected from a forest 500 miles north of Vancouver, on Queen Charlotte Island. It measures over 100ft in height and weighs approximately 12 tonnes. Recently areas of decay had become noticeable above ground level causing structural engineers to be concerned about the long-term stability of this historic structure.
Timber investigation specialists, Rotafix Ltd, were requested by the Surveyor of Works at the Windsor Estate to provide a solution. The survey of the Totem Pole, both above and below ground level, indicated that the timber was above moisture saturation point below ground level and in desperate need of timber repairs.
A mechanical hoist was used above ground level in order to quantify the amount of damage. There was found to be considerable deterioration to the carved features.
The Totem Pole is located on a brass pin placed centrally within a cylindrical reinforced concrete tubular base. Water had been trapped in the concrete container and water ingress had saturated the cedar wood. The first task was to open up the existing sealant around the perimeter base in order to remove as much moisture as possible, at the same time a loose tent was used to keep the surrounding area dry whilst maintaining air movement.
Rotafix commissioned Boron expert, Dr Bill Beauford of ACS, Yeovil, to produce a remedial template for the installation and use of Boron rods. Rotafix then provided purpose manufactured augers for the drilling a series of 1.6m deep holes at 45 degrees, all in order to install a Boron rod system. This system was monitored and the sacrificial Boron rods replenished as necessary with no disruption to the structure. This operation is believed to be one of the deepest applications of solid Boron rods anywhere in the world.
Timber repairs were undertaken using specially selected western red cedar, cut to shape, and bonded in place with Rotafix Structural Adhesive (RSA) and Rotaflex Glass Fibre Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) rod combination. The alternative method of restoration would have required the temporary removal of the Totem Pole – another triumph for Rotafix ‘low intervention timber repairs’.
For further information about products to make the timber repairs used in this project or any queries with respect to structural adhesives and on-site bonding please contact us on +44 (0)1639 730481 where one of our technical team will be happy to assist.