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Introduction | Restoration | Cleaning trials | Under the microscope | Quarry | Stone carving

Restoration at Binny Quarry

Although the decision was made not to clean the stone due to the damage it would sustain, restoration went ahead. In the mid 1990s, a joint project with funding from the Heritage Lottery fund, Historic Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council was started. This two-year restoration programme involved replacing old repairs and damaged areas with Binny stone. The quarry at Uphall was specially re-opened to excavate the stone with which to repair the monument.

At the quarry.Stone being cut by large circular saws.


These photographs above, were taken at the Binny Quarry. The first shows a selection of stone chosen by architects and quarrymen, including Miguel Sanchez, the restoration architect, who is pictured on the far right.

After the stone is quarried it is cut into ashlar blocks on massive circular saws. It is then numbered and delivered to the site. Provision for future restorations was made by storing over 300 blocks of stone in the chamber beneath the Monument. These are numbered and measured so specific requirements of stone can be met.

Stonemasons at work

A stonemason at work. Stonemason at work on an indent.

The first stonemason is working on a new carved detail. Sections of stone were added and fixed with stainless steel dowels and epoxy adhesive, smaller details were generally carved in-situ after fixing a suitably sized stone. He is using a stone chisel and masons ‘mell’, a specific type of round hammer.

This second photograph shows a stonemason at work on an ‘indent’, which involves removing the top face of a damaged stone before fitting another in place.

The following text is taken from the ‘Repair criteria’ from the Restoration study report:

“Full indents when the entire face of a masonry unit is decayed or seriously fractured. Full indents may also be specified when a part indent would be particularly unsightly or structurally questionable.” “Part Indent: When only a small section of a large unit is severely decayed or fractured. Care to be taken to respect the original joint pattern, to avoid excessive number of small indents. These part indents should be at least 37-50mm on bed and should have mortar joints of approximately 2mm and securely tied to sound masonry with stainless steel dowels set in epoxy.

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