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New Haven Courthouse Door Refinishing Complete

New Haven Courthouse Door Refinishing Complete

Seymour, CT – The New Haven County Courthouse is located in the Downtown of New Haven, Connecticut. It has been a prominent and stately presence on the New Haven Green since its opening in 1914.

The New Haven County Courthouse at the corner of Elm and Church Streets, was one of a handful of buildings commissioned by New Haven County to bolster its City Beautiful movement. Modeled after St. George’s Hall in Liverpool, England, the courthouse was designed by New Haven architects William Allen and Richard Williams. The building’s design infused Beaux-Arts principles in a Neo-classical style. Construction began in 1909 and five years later, at a cost of $1.3 million, the structure was completed. It officially opened its doors on March 24, 1914. Statuary in front of the Courthouse by noted sculptor J. Massey Rhind and murals and lunettes inside by famed early 20th Century painter T. Thomas Gilbert help give the imposing building its aesthetic appeal. Today it serves as the Geographical Area #23 Courthouse. The building added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 16, 2003.

Grand Light was selected to refinish the massive New Haven Courthouse Church Street and Elm Street doors to their original glory. The Church Street giant cast plate doors are over 8 ft tall and are estimated to weigh well over 800 pounds each. The restoration of these doors includes repairing and filling holes, removing all aged finish, and an application of a new beautiful red rust patina. Grand Light created a special recipe to replicate the original red rust hot patina finish. The Elm Street entrance doors, trim, and transom panels measuring 24 feet by 10.5 feet wide were too massive to remove and required Grand Light artisans set up an mobile shop on-site. The refinishing of the Elm Street entrance doors required removing all aged finish and an application of custom elegant red rust patina.

 

In-Factory Refinish

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Shown above is a New Haven Courthouse Church Street door prior to being refinished. The doors original finish was covered years ago by an application of black paint. Grand Light artisans task was to refinish these doors through the use of a custom red rust hot patina formula to replicate the original red rust patina finish.

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Shown above are two Church Street doors after the removal of the pre-refinish black paint. The surface of the doors were media blasted to remove all aged paint and foreign material in preparation for an application of base statuary bronze patina.

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Shown above is the application of the base statuary bronze patina. To apply the statuary bronze patina to the entirety of both sides of all the doors, Grand Light artisans required the assistance of a forklift to delicately flip each door on its underside.

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Shown above are Grand Light artisans applying a red rust hot patina coat to the Church Street doors. Two artisans heat the surface of the door using torches while another artisan sprays the red rust patina on the door. This uniform process allows for a consistent paint finish and the prevention of paint drips, marks, and stains.

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Shown above are the Church Street doors after an application of red rust hot patina before lacquer is applied.

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Shown above are the post refinished Church Street doors after an application of lacquer. Grand Light artisans applied lacquer to the doors to provide a hard, protective coating to the red rust hot patina finish.

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Shown above are the Church Street door transom panels after a statuary bronze base patina application. The statuary bronze base patina had to be thoroughly burnished before applying the red rust hot patina to avoid any inconsistencies to show through in the custom red rust patina finish.

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Shown above are completed Church Street doors transom panels with custom red rust patina refinish. Grand Light artisans took care to make sure each transom panel refinish matched. The red rust patina finish is translucent and looks different at every angle.

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Shown are the New Haven Courthouse Church Street doors post refinish and wrapped for shipment. Grand Light artisans constructed custom shipping mounts in order to safely deliver these historic doors back on-site for installation. Custom mounts were built to safely suspend the doors above the ground and prevent the risk of damage to both sides of all the doors.

On-Site Refinish

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Shown are the New Haven Courthouse Elm Street entrance doors and trim panels. Due to the massive size of these doors and the difficulty it would be to remove them, Grand Light committed to working on-site to refinish these historic doors. Grand Light artisans had to build a 30 foot scaffolding tower and set up a mobile shop. On-site work had to commence after hours only during the weekend when the courthouse was not operating and all scaffolding and equipment was deconstructed and removed after every weekend work period to allow for the courthouse’s normal operations to commence during the week.

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Shown above are the New Haven Courthouse doors trim panels prior to custom red rust patina refinish. The original finish was painted over with black paint and this paint has since begun to deteriorate leaving the doors with an unsightly finish. The Elm Street entrance doors rosettes and accents have an extensive amount of detailing which were indistinctly represented in its pre-refinish state.

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Shown above are the doors and trim panel securely quarantined to safely media blast the black paint pre-refinish off and not allow excess media from leaving the work zone.

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Shown above is the mobile media blast station the was set up to properly remove the pre-refinish from the Elm Street Courthouse doors.

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Shown above is a media blast specialist garbed in protective attire to safely remove the pre-refinish paint from the Elm Street Courthouse doors.

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The removal of the old paint prepares the surface of the doors and trim for a base application of statuary bronze patina and remove any surface corrosion or any material foreign to the base surface.Once the surface is prepped and free of all debre, Grand Light artisans applied a base statuary bronze hot patina coat to the door and trim panels.

 

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The application of the base statuary bronze hot patina required one Grand Light artisan to apply heat from a torch to the surface while another sprayed the base finish onto the doors and trim panels. The doors and trim panels, measuring 24 ft by 10.5 ft wide, required artisans to work from the top ascending down to each layer of scaffolding in order to cover the entire exterior.

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Once the base statuary bronze patina was applied, Grand Light artisans hand burnished the entire surface in order to create a smooth and consistent finish. Shown is the difference hand burnishing has on the surface consistency. The top panel has already been burnished while the bottom portion still requires work.

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Shown above is the Elm Street doors, trim, and transom panels after an application of base statuary bronze patina and burnishing. It was extremely important that the statuary bronze base patina was thoroughly burnished and surface prepped before the red rust hot patina was applied; any disparity in the base patina would show prominently in the red rust patina finish.

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Shown above are Grand Light artisans burnishing the base statuary bronze hot patina coat on the rosettes and accents. This process is used to highlight the beautiful accents and rosettes on the doors before the red rust patina is applied. This is done so that the gold highlights will shine through once the red rust patina has been burnished.

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Shown above is an Elm Street door rosette and accent after an application of statuary bronze patina has been burnished.

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Shown above is a Grand Light artisan heating the surface of the bronze Elm Street doors. A torch is used to preheat the surface to 185˚-200˚ while the patina is sprayed on the door. Heating the doors are carefully temperature controlled to ensure that the red rust patina instantly drys on contact with the surface producing a consistent finish bereft of drips, marks, and stains.

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Shown above is a Grand Light artisan applying a custom red rust hot patina coat to the doors.

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Shown above are the Elm Street doors after an application of custom red rust hot patina before lacquer has been applied.

 

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Shown above is a door rosette before and after being burnished. Burnishing the rosette allows for gold highlights to shine through producing a beautiful finish.

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Shown is a Grand Light artisan applying a coat of lacquer to the doors. The application of lacquer over the red rust patina begins a curing process which produces a durable finish.

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The first coat of lacquer required immediate application after the red rust patina had settled in order to protect the patina from foreign material and dirt while it cured. Same day application of the red rust patina and lacquer was essential, and took our artisans well into the night. The use of flood lights were required to finish the job.

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Shown above are the refinished Elm Street doors with custom red rust hot patina and lacquer. Grand Light artisans burnished all rosettes and accents to emphasize the intricate detailing of the doors, trim, and transom panels. The custom red rust patina finish on the Elm Street doors, trim, and transom panels are translucent and looks different at every angle.

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After quite the extensive process to refinish these gigantic doors on-site, Grand Light is pleased to see these historic doors restored to their original finish thanks to a custom red rust hot patina formulated to match the original finish.

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Shown above is the Elm Street bronze doors next to a newly installed front entry lantern that was previously restored by Grand Light artisans. This massive cast bronze lantern is 65″ tall and 30″ wide and are estimated to weigh 400 pounds when fully assembled. The restoration of this fixtures included mechanical repairs, rewiring, and refinishing of all the fixture components. Grand Light used the same custom recipe to replicate the original red rust hot patina finish to color match both the lantern and doors.


More information regarding this project can be viewed online by clicking the link for New Haven Courthouse Doors Refinish.

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