King Street Station Plaster Restoration – Seattle, Washington

We’re doing some plaster work in Seattle, Washington at the historic King Street Station to renew the interior back to it’s former glory.

We are responsible for the station’s ornamental plaster rehabilitation work, which includes an extensive process of removing plaster ornament, creating molds using liquid Vytaflex rubber, and casting new ornamental pieces which will be installed and painted into the place where the previous ornament adorned the ceilings and columns. We’ve been employing many different methods and techniques to accomplish the task, several of which can be seen here in this video.

Heres what we’re doing:

Mold forms sometimes have to be created from scratch when an original piece is not available, or too damaged by time. Other times a large removed original section with damages could be repaired prior to mold casting. Molds can also be made directly on an original piece in place. The ultimate goal is to create a rubber mold to use for future plaster replications.

The low viscosity of the Vytaflex allows it to be brushed on and flows into small complex details. A hard plaster back is also often added to hold the flexible rubber mold shape during future casting. Removing the Vytaflex could be a very difficult task for extra large pieces during the initial mold castings. However, future replication casting using the Vytaflex mold is made easier with certain non-stick chemical applications.

Once a Vytaflex mold is created, it can be used for the reproduction of hundreds of pieces. Here, the artisan is adding a layer of hemp to the plaster itself for additional tensile strength. Hemp is often used in layers, and makes the plaster pieces much sturdier over time, and helps prevent dried pieces from falling if the ornament ever becomes damaged from general wear and tear or time in the distant future. The plaster is very warm to the touch and chemical vapors can be seen while the plaster is curing.

Via Seattle Department of Transportation. Photography by John Stamets.

Ornamental plaster restoration work is expected to be completed by Spring of 2013.