Restoration Approaches the Final Threshold


The Jay Ice House restoration process is well under way (to catch up, see The 3 R’s: Restoration, Recovery, Revival). Last week, the doors were spliced, painted with a base coat, and safeguarded with borate crystals.  Now, the connecting hasps have been added – tinted bright red with primer – and the wood is all pieced together.

Almost finished door

The doors will soon make their way out of the workshop and onto their rightful hinges! The task is not as simple as just putting them in place, though.  The wooden casement into which the doors fit has also aged and rotted.  It had been rebuilt and recut.  The ornate, aged stone wall that surrounds this structure actually creates quite an intricate obstacle.

Uneven edges
Uneven edges
Bruce MacDonald uses a scribing tool










What is the solution to the irregularities of the weathered stone? A scribing tool is the key to securely reinstalling the ice house doors and ensuring their stability.  This device has a pencil and a metal rod on either side, not unlike a compass used in a geometry.  The metal rod follows the nonuniform line of the stone wall, while the pencil traces that same pattern onto the wood casement, allowing the entire element to mold perfectly into the threshold.

Screen shot 2014-07-23 at 1.35.34 PM
The scribing tool used for this project

Sporting the same crimson shade as the door hinges, two small castings will also take their place in the final touches of this project.  These vintage hardware pieces, fitting the top corners of the ice house doors, will be returned to their original green color.  The bottom two castings, though, will be replaced by a common pintle hinge as the original pieces were lost before the birth of the Jay Heritage Center.

The Ice House threshold

The ice house certainly maintains many of its authentic components – boasting a ratio of about 80% original to 20% modified.  The doors should be hanging the end of this week (weather permitting), ushering in a new era at the Jay Ice House.

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Written by jayheritagecenter

Jay Heritage Center (JHC) is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit that manages and operates the Jay Estate in Rye, a National Historic Landmark site, as a public park and learning center. The site was once the childhood home of Founding Father, John Jay (1745-1829) his descendants and many other men, women and children - witnesses to the evolution of our country - who left their personal narratives, whether free or enslaved, native or immigrant, on this land. As part of its mission, JHC examines the legacy of Jay and his family together with the stories of the individuals who followed them and preserved this place through their own vision and stewardship. To that end, we host numerous educational programs in American History, Social Justice, Architecture, Archaeology & Environmental Conservation. But we can't do it without our volunteers! Because we receive no annual government funding from the City of Rye, Westchester County or New York State, we rely heavily on volunteers to help us preserve and operate the Jay Estate. This blog, powered by some of our most dedicated volunteers, is one more way for us to share our discoveries, accomplishments and original research with the public in real time. We are immensely grateful to the authors of these entries and oral histories for the investment of effort they have expended on our behalf and yours!

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