Thomas Aquinas, part 2: sawing

Thomas Aquinas, part 2: sawing. Two large sandstone blocks

1. Two large sandstone blocks of Udelfanger sandstone: 1 for the statue of Thomas Aquinas, 1 for Serge's angel

Two large blocks

The work on the on copy of the statue of Thomas Aquinas has finally started. I had received two large blocks of Udelfanger sandstone some time earlier: one destined to make two angels out of it and one block from which I had to carve the two parts of the statue of St. Thomas from St John's Cathedral in Den Bosch and fit them together. So the first step was to divide both blocks into two with the diamond chainsaw.

Thomas. Aquinas, part 2: sawing.  I halved the block with the diamond chainsaw

2. The block is cut in half with the chainsaw

Thomas Aquinas, part 2: sawing. Presawing the lower body

3. Sawing the lower body

Presawing Thomas

After that I put one block on my copying saw and started presawing Thomas' lower half. The dividing line of the two parts was meant to be near the line of his hood, so that it will be almost invisible. Reminder: in an earlier post I wrote that the old statue was made from a single piece of stone, in which the layers run vertically. Because it's more desirable that the layers run through the statue horizontally (in that case, there's less chance that an entire big slice comes falling down at once, after weathering) it will be different in this copy. But the quarry has no banks in which the stone is higher than 120 cms. Therefore, the head was to be made from a separate piece.

Because of the large color differences between separate blocks of Udelfanger sandstone I was sent a very large block from which I had to cut the two parts. From this I made the body and the head of Thomas.

Thomas Aquinas, part 2: sawing. Upper body presawed.

4. The upper body was cut from the second half

Thomas Aquinas, part 2: sawing. Rough carving the head and body

5. The head and the body are roughly carved

Fitting together of the two parts

Then, the two pre-sawn parts of the head and body had to be made to fit to each other snugly. That wasn't so easy, because the dividing line doesn't run straight. It follows the wavy line of the hood and needs to be higher at the right hand, because otherwise the joint seam would run through the knuckles. These inclined faces need to fit together well. For this, it should first be clear what will be located where, and for that I needed to rough carve the two parts for quite a ways. I carved the upper body and the lower body so that I could see where it all would be going, and I could see where the dividing line was to run. Then I could find the joint surfaces.

Thomas Aquinas, part 2: sawing. Making both planes fit

6. The joint surfaces are being made to fit

Thomas. Aquinas, part 2: sawing. The head and body are bonded.

7. the two parts are bonded together

Joint surface

Because I made this joint line visible on both pieces, I could demarcate the joint surface and carve away the excess stone. By keeping on fitting the pieces together and scribing the excess stone, I could ultimately achieve a tight seam. When the fit was tight enough, I scribed off where I wanted to put the stainless steel pins and drilled four holes. Two holes in each piece, so I could adhere both parts with strong epoxy glue and two thick threaded rods. Also, the joint plane itself was bonded with a suitable breathable mortar. You should actually never make a horizontally extending closed off gluing surface on a statue sitting outside. The stone above such a dense glue layer can't lose its moisture and will start to rot right above the glue seam.

Serge's angel

Copying an angel for St. John's Cathedral

The other block was halved as well. From the one half this angel was presawn for Serge

My colleague Serge had an commission in Udelfanger sandstone as well for St. John's Cathedral in Den Bosch. He was asked to copy this angel. He had previously made one and asked me if I wanted to saw this one as well. So, here goes.

Read more soon about the continuation of this project. is the blog of Koen van Velzen, sculptor in stone and bronze. Look up my website as well:

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Refurbishing a war memorial

Recently I, along with assistant Gerard van Esveld, added some sandstone cappings to a brick wall in Amersfoort.

These videos were made by Rob Lampe, who creates local reports for Amersfoort Gezien. He lives in the Westerstraat in Amersfoort, where in the year 1945 a bad policeman was shot by the resistance. In retaliation ten prisoners from camp Amersfoort were executed on the Appelweg just around the corner by the Germans. The wall where that took place was decorated as a monument very soon after the war was over, made possible by a gift from the doctor who lived there. The bullet holes are still visible. …Read the whole article…

Installing: A garden bench for Castle Twickel

During dead quiet weather, a very thick branch of a tree fell down.

During dead quiet weather, a very thick branch of a tree fell down.

During dead quiet weather, a very thick branch of a tree fell down.

The concrete backrest with lead relief and the seat were the most damaged parts.

← to the first post about this project

Today, it was a hot sunny day. With a little power shovel machine and lifting straps we lifted the components of the garden bench and assembled them on site. …Read the whole article…

Patching up and replacing new blocks

Stevenskerk jointing 2

On a scaffolding often means working in quite tight corners

← to the first post about this project

'Patching up’ was originally a fishing term for repairing fishing nets, from a time when these still had to be painfully repaired by manual labour with a spool of wire. Nowadays the term is used in all sorts of professions as designation for the re-filling of holes in work previously done. …Read the whole article…