Cetacean Society International
Whales Alive! - Vol. XIII No. 3 - July 2004
Conny Painting, Glazing and Railings
By Robert F. Victor, P.E., CSI Treasurer
Thanks to a generous donation by Jakob J. Köllhofer, Director of the German-American Institute, Heidelberg, Germany, in June 2003, CSI is able to partner with the Science Center of Connecticut in West Hartford to rejuvenate Conny (the life-size ferrocement model of a sperm whale built by CSI in 1976) for the presentation of "WHALES, GIANTS FROM THE DEEP" opening June 26 and lasting through the summer of 2004. There is much to do and the project started with some brainstorming and a plan. In early April, 10 gallons of Thorosheen paint and 10 gallons of Thoroglaze was ordered from Pennsylvania with a request to make the paint as black as possible. By May, the rains and winds of April had died down enough to let us get the job started! At its peak, about 2000 school children pass through the Center each day, until 2:00 p.m. making it difficult to get things done. By May 31st, the painting, railings and glazing had been done.
Martha Fitzgerald holds the ladder while Robert Victor paints Conny.
Artistic Wrought Iron Mfg. Co. of West Hartford, CT was contracted to fabricate and install the railings, which are modeled after the railings installed at the UCONN Dairy Bar in Storrs, CT. In a short time, the railings were installed in time for the Science Center's Fund Raising event. Between the rain, wind and unlimited kids, the painting of Conny was done by Martha Fitzgerald, Bill Rossiter, Robbins Barstow and the author. Martha was particularly adept at underside painting and the white, way inside the mouth!
Since Conny is very rough-sided, a 3/4 inch nap roller worked best, along with a couple of 1/2 inch nap and small professional rollers. Final touchup was done with a can of black spray paint!
Concrete pedestals were sprayed with dark grey paint to finish the paint job.
The last weekend of May was spent waiting for the wind to die down so the glazing could be sprayed all over Conny, so it would glisten in the sun. The cracks and joints in the walkway were caulked and sealed that weekend. Just remember why you don't trip over the cracks!
On Monday, May 31, 2004, the wind had died down and there was a cloud cover. Conny gets very hot in the sun and can flash dry just about anything. So the morning started with a hosing down to cool and dampen the surface, followed by the glazing applied with a low pressure sprayer. The glazing formula has changed to a water-based emulsion with ethylene glycol from the previous high-VOC mixture. It's too nasty to spray on anyone, so this was a one-person job, as long as I kept my face out of the spray! Well, it got done without spraying any visitors. I wasn't as lucky!
To come will be the inside finishing, carpeting, lighting, spout with compressed air and educational enhancements. It's going to get busy around here!! (To be continued.)
Conny completed, with new railings and new paint.