Replace the Quarryman? Damage much worse than expected.
A sudden sharp cracking sound is never a good thing to hear when lifting a 1,000-pound object made of wood.
In a split second, before anyone could react, the Quarryman statue fractured below the waist Wednesday, Oct. 14, and fell into multiple pieces near where it has stood for years.
Stunned, department of public works employees and the Quarryman artist stared as the sawdust settled and the now legless body swung around in the air on the end of a tether.
“Everything I told you is out the window,” Lake George chainsaw artist Tim O’Brien said moments later inspecting the damage.
O’Brien looked up at the figure just minutes before with complete confidence and explained how he planned to fix the Main Street statue. O’Brien said he planned to use a combination of techniques to repair the damage and in the worst-case scenario have the figure back in place looking out toward Braymer Mountain in the spring.
Damage had been spotted some time ago and the village took steps to combat the discovered insect invasion.
Spraying seemed to have taken care of the powder post beetle problem, but a new multi-legged invader destroyed the inside of the statue as carpenter ants wreaked havoc with the silver maple symbol of all of the quarry workers in the area past, present and future.
In the process of laying the figure on its side for moving it to another location out of weather for the repairs the extent of the damage became painfully clear.
The base of the statue with the legs and a portion of the original log remained resting on the ground and the Quarryman, at least from mid-thigh up, remained tied off to the backhoe that had been used to lift it.
Tiny holes sprinkled across the painted surface of the Quarryman gave O’Brien some indication of a problem. Last year he advised spraying to kill the beetles, but it might have been too little too late.
With the bug problem seemingly solved, O’Brien said he planned to use a number of techniques to repair the statue and possibly put it back in place before winter. That all changed with one loud crack.
O’Brien said he would do whatever the village wanted to do, repair the existing piece or create a new one.
“Let me know what you decide,” O’Brien said to wastewater treatment supervisor Dan Williams.
Should the village decide to have a new Quarryman created, O’Brien said, he could go a long way in cutting down his costs if he could find someone to donate a large tree trunk and truck it to his shop. “If someone had a piece of white pine about 14-16 feet and 42 inches in diameter that would actually be faster,” O’Brien said. With the new figure, O’Brien said, he could take precautions to prevent weather and insect-related mishaps like the one that had just maimed the Quarryman.
“You can see by the pieces of wood that it’s really just rotten inside,” Mayor Jay Niles said Thursday.
The parts of the Quarryman have been moved in the Granville Lions Club’s furniture warehouse to await their fate.
Niles said based on the damage he had seen and the recommendations of O’Brien replacement is likely the only option. The wood is simply too far gone.
“I looked at a piece and it still had insects in it,” Niles said.
The mayor said he planned to pitch the idea of the replacement to the board at the November meeting; by that time he expects to know more about the potential costs.
Until then, the search for a possible donor for the large white pine has begun.
“He (O’Brien) said if we can get a log and get it to him he’d carve a new one at a minimal cost,” Niles said.
“We’re looking into folks who are currently logging or doing tree work who might have one already; we’re going to talk to tree people in the area,” he said.
Niles said village officials thought between $500 and $1,000 in repairs were needed before the Quarryman crumbled.
“It’s an important symbol for the Granville community. I think we want to continue to have the Quarryman represented,” the mayor said. Niles said he was optimistic something would be done soon.
“I think we’re going to do what has to be done to ensure we have another one,” Niles said.