Thursday, June 28, 2007

Wending Our Way through the Underbelly by Layla Windwillows

Birds have an appreciation for the markers on the river trail and they demonstrate it with enthusiasm. The weathering and corrosion of the metal industrial tools contributes to the capture of guano and it can be a challenge removing it, even with the variety of brushes and sponges we use. Curiously, there was another type of splatter: red and dark green paint. That’s wild. It took quite a bit of elbow grease but we got the rust stains, guano, and paint off. Then we repainted the lettering. Odd that so many (but not all) of the markers have the letters painted with a dusty, pinkish paint.

Marker #6 verified this. There was paint spatter of the same color spotting the cement base (where the phrase: “A Sign or Symbol. Watermark” is etched). It took acetone to remove it and the puddle of baked on linseed oil coagulated at the base of the metal tool. The linseed puddles have been a common occurrence in the markers we’ve seen thus far, with the exception of #29.

Being that #6 had full exposure to the elements, its accumulation of “wrong” told a different story. Its surface coating was brittle. It was awkward cleaning it because the dryness (it can be very windy in spots along the trail) and sun baked the stains, oils, paint spatter, and guano into a stubborn enamel-like finish. Hercules would break a sweat getting this stuff off without becoming yet another erosive force.

Our efforts were well-rewarded this week: by the end of each project each marker GLOWED. The repainted phrasing stood out and was legible at a leisurely pace. The passing citizenry went wild expressing their appreciation. I’m still finding confetti in my hair. Another gratifying week!

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