During October 15-19, 2022, Kent LeBoutillier, Head of Restoration, went to Lynchburg, Virginia, to meet with Spencer Young of Buckingham Slate, a subdivision of Boxley Materials Company. A previous trip had identified this company as the best option for the quality, grade and color of slate to match our existing floors, plus they had ability and the willingness to cut the slate to templates provided.
Our needs for the lighthouse required that the slate to be cut to a 2” thickness and pie-shaped as well as curved pieces to fit around the center weight tube and bullnozed edges on exposed ends. Kent took the floor shape templates we created from the existing slate floors to ensure the vendor had them before quoting and fabrication.
Each of these large, pie-shaped pieces weigh approximately 345 pounds. Buckingham Slate recommended cutting our slate pieces out of one slab of slate for each floor, ensuring uniformity in thickness and nature’s coloring and growth patterns. The slate’s properties include unfading color, low absorption rate, a lifespan of 150 years or more, natural textures, and luster that provide both function, longevity, and beauty.
The process of removing the existing slate floors and replacing them with new ones will be an engineering feat in and of itself; even in this modern world of technology, old-world systems will be needed to scale the inside of the tower with each old and new piece of slate, since the slate pieces are too large to be lifted up the outside of the tower and through the small windows.