Posted by: PearlSBuckHouse | 03/12/2010
March 11: Wood Epoxy Reinforcement
To date, the design specifications of the structural steel members to be installed in the House have been submitted and fabrication of the steel components is in process. Since the Wood Epoxy Reinforcement (W.E.R) system is crucial to the work that is being undertaken to sure up the floor of the Pearl S. Buck bedroom, a mockup of the W.E.R installation process is undertaken. Two separate lengths of wood troughs meant to replicate some of the existing conditions of the rough hewn summer beam has been made to receive the epoxy used in the W.E.R. system.
The preparation of the epoxy mixture and installation into the cavity of the summer beam must be done correctly and within proper time limitations. The mixture (comprised of a modified epoxy resin mixed with a reaction product until the desired viscosity, pigment and accelerators are achieved) is similar in composition and color to motor oil. Once mixed the epoxy needs to be installed (poured) before the liquid hardens (within approximately 20 minutes). Working quickly but meticulously, the epoxy is mixed in a bucket, and then poured into a funneling tray to direct the epoxy into the channels of the mock beam. Another funnel like tray is placed on the other side to catch any overage and to prevent slow moving epoxy from escaping.
Because the liquid must be evenly distributed throughout the routed beam, a worker hammers the wood mock up case, to create a vibration resulting in a leveling of the epoxy liquid.
Given the full span of the massive summer beam supporting the second floor under Pearl Buck’s bedroom, bolts will also be installed to control potential expansion and support the steel plates, wood inlays, and epoxy of the W.E.R. system. During the mockup demonstration, the bolts, as well as any natural checks in the lumber that may not be evident to the eye are monitored throughout the pouring process so that any epoxy leakages are promptly eliminated. If leaks are evident, additional plasticine is applied to further seal the area.