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Salvaging Historic Architecture from Ground Zero NYC after 9/11

Constructed in 1924, The Verizon Building proudly stood in the shadows of The World Trade Center until September 11. When the Twin Towers collapsed, the Verizon Building sustained heavy damage including intricate hand-carved ornaments that adorned the building's exterior. Restoring these ornaments was a priority and designer/restoration pro, Bob Carpenter, was given the go-ahead with the expectation that the job would be done quickly.

Less Than Favorable Conditions: It was mid-October by the time support structures were in place and work could proceed safely. However, anyone who makes molds knows that cold weather will prevent most mold rubbers from curing. The outside temperature at Ground Zero in October was about 50°F/10°C during the day – colder at night. The temperature of the stone elements to which mold rubber would be applied was no more than 40°F/4°C. Mr. Carpenter tried a few mold products that did not cure in the cold. He then called Smooth-On and was turned onto PoYo® Mold Putty, a mix and apply-by-hand silicone.

With PoYo, there is no mess, no weight measuring, no mixing containers or sticks. Carpenter brought only the PoYo kit to the Verizon site with hopes that it would work – time was now short. He applied PoYo and within minutes had an exact mold negative of the positive ornament. The rubber was fully cured and strong. And the rubber released without any surface preparation. His next call was to Smooth-On to get enough PoYo to finish the job. In the end, 35 molds & support shells were completed in a short period of time – sizes ranged from 2'x3' to 6'x6'.
 The historic Verizon building was badly damaged by the collapse of the Twin Towers during the 9/11 attacks.

The historic Verizon building was badly damaged by the collapse of the Twin Towers during the 9/11 attacks.
 Historians looked to salvage some of the damaged exterior ornamentation.  Bob Carpenter was given the job.

Historians looked to salvage some of the damaged exterior ornamentation. Bob Carpenter was given the job.
 The original exterior ornamentation was highly detailed and presented unique mold making challenges for Carpenter.

The original exterior ornamentation was highly detailed and presented unique mold making challenges for Carpenter.
 PoYoŽ putty is mixed and applied by hand.  One major advantage of using PoYoŽ is that no surface preparation is required.

PoYoŽ putty is mixed and applied by hand. One major advantage of using PoYoŽ is that no surface preparation is required.
 After 30 minutes, PoYoŽ can be removed from the wall.  Being able to accomplish the task quickly meant Carpenter needed  only limited time with the original.  Work on the building would not have to be suspended because of him.

After 30 minutes, PoYoŽ can be removed from the wall. Being able to accomplish the task quickly meant Carpenter needed only limited time with the original. Work on the building would not have to be suspended because of him.
 Mr. Carpenter worked diligently to salvage and restore the intricate pieces.

Mr. Carpenter worked diligently to salvage and restore the intricate pieces.
 Mr. Carpenter displays his work.  The PoYoŽ mold (left) is used to reproduce the damaged original (center).  The piece can then be fully restored (right).

Mr. Carpenter displays his work. The PoYoŽ mold (left) is used to reproduce the damaged original (center). The piece can then be fully restored (right).
 The finished casting reflects perfect detail captured by PoYoŽ putty.

The finished casting reflects perfect detail captured by PoYoŽ putty.
 The finished casting reflects perfect detail captured by PoYoŽ putty.

The finished casting reflects perfect detail captured by PoYoŽ putty.

                   
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