Texas Gravestone Conservation
Texas Gravestone Conservation

About Me, Service Area, and Costs

Hello,

My name is Lowell Herzog, and I am a fifth-generation Texan.  I was born and reared in Brenham, where I still make my home.  I attended Blinn College and transferred to Texas A&M University where I earned two degrees—a B.A. in History (1989) and another in English (1991).  I taught high school for 21 years until my Type 1 diabetes made working on a fixed schedule everyday a great challenge.  I resigned and continued to do what I had already been doing in my spare time and during the summer—conserving gravestones.

 

I received my training from Jonathan Appell who owns Gravestone Conservation (see "Links to Associated Sites" page) in West Hartford, CT and was certificated by the International Preservation Studies Center in Mount Carroll, IL.  Mr. Appell's expertise of more than 25 years well prepared me to begin my business.  It also assured me that if I were to follow the “best practices” known to, and developed by, organizations such as the Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS), the Chicora Foundation, the National Park Service’s National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT), and the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works (AIC), I could provide a much-needed service to cemeteries, organizations and individuals who wanted to see gravestones preserved.  I am a member of  AGS and AIC (although I will no longer be a member of AIC after 2018.)

 

As of Sept 1, 2018, I have conserved over 350 stones, the work ranging from simple cleanings to consolidation of broken stones with infilling of cracks to fabrication of new bases for tablet-style stones.  Some have been as small as 14 inches high, while another was over 11feet tall.  I have been hired by clients from Alaska to Virginia to conserve family gravestones in and around southeast Texas.

For any job, I will:

1.  use the most compatible and appropriate materials for the job at hand.

2.  follow the “best practices” known to the field of stone conservation at the       

     present time.

3.  do the very best work that I am capable of doing.

4.  guarantee my work and materials to stand the test of time, excepting acts of

     nature, accidents, vandalism, or the like.  To ensure this, I make a point to

     revisit conserved stones on a yearly or bi-yearly basis, and encourage clients 

     to contact me if they see something amiss.

5.  follow the the AIC’s Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice.

6.  record my work through photographs for my own records as well as the 

     client's.

 

I consider myself a conservator first and foremost.  I cannot "restore" a marble gravestone to its original condition and would never claim to be able to.  I treat each stone as an artistic work, carved by an individual to commemorate another's existance.  Just as a professional conservator strives to keep a 500 year-old painting or 4000 year-old Egyptian grave relect in safe condition and preserve it for the future, I do the same for gravestones. 

 

 

Service Area

 

I will conserve gravestones in roughly a 160 mile radius from Brenham.  If you are outside this area, give me a call, as I can make exceptions if the job warrants.

 

**Bids and estimates are no cost to you if you are within 40 miles of Brenham; for greater distances, I charge $.25/mile beyond 40, but the cost is credited to the final amount if my bid is accepted and I take the job.  For groups or organizations in a county or town, I can assess several cemeteries in one visit and you can split the cost.

 

 

Costs 

The cost to clean a stone can vary from $20 for a small stone, to $125 or more for a heavily soiled, 4/5-life size angel or very large monument.  Most are $50 or less.

 

Resetting will run between $70 for a small tablet to upwards of $1000 for a large monument that is obstructed by trees, curbing, or nearby stones.  Most resets cost between $100 and $300.

 

Broken stones/infilling are on a case-by-case basis, as each stone and its condition is unique.  I will remove smaller stones that are broken into many pieces from the cemetery and take them to my shop as it is much cheaper for you and I can control the environment for conservation.  Stones broken in two pieces are usually conserved at the cemetery, unless it is during the winter time.

 

Even though I have posted 'usual' costs, I still quote work on each stone on a case-by-case basis.

As of Oct 22, 2018, I am not taking on any more projects.  The summer heat and weeks of wet weather has put me behind on the ones I already have comitted to.  This DOES NOT MEAN that I am not interested in projects for later in 2019, just that until I get caught up, I'm not contracting with groups for more work.

Thoughts for Fall

Why is it such a bad idea to just pour concrete around all the stones in a plot?  Aesthetics aside, old stones (such as marble and limestone) will be damaged by the incompatible material through long-term curing/hardening, and thermal changes.  As well, some people have the idea that concrete and Portland cement based mortars are adhesives; they are not.  If you don’t believe it, look at the photos of the mortar that was on a marble tablet and the photo of the same tablet with the mortar removed on the     "Workshops & More Photos" page of this site.  If it was an adhesive, then it failed.  Cement will also hold water, causing a slow degradation of the natural stone it is in contact with.

 

If you'd like more information, contact me at

(979) 836-7715, herzogtamu89@gmail.com

or browse my website.

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