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Removal of a Church Spire
Lens: HD DA16-85mm f3.5-5.6 Camera: K-3II Photo Location: Marysville, CA 
Posted By: ToddK, 09-13-2020, 06:31 PM

My company is in the process of renovating the St Joseph Catholic Church in Marysville, CA, and last week we removed the spire. This church was constructed in 1855 and I believe the spire is the original, although at some point it the shingles were replaced. The spire was still structurally sound, but it had developed a twist and curve that was unattractive, not to mention the shingles needed replacing. As you can see the spire came down intact, however, it was not without drama. We could only estimate the weight by calculating the components based on inspecting it from the inside, and it ended up quite a bit heavier than anticipated. Fortunately we allowed an adequate margin in the crane capacity, but it got much closer to the load capacity than I am comfortable with.

FYI, the base of the spire is at 90 feet above ground level and is 40 feet tall.

In a few weeks we will be erecting the replacement spire and I will post some photos. We will also be using a drone to capture some aerial shots.

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09-13-2020, 07:04 PM   #2
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Great series, definitely a big job you captured it well.
09-13-2020, 07:07 PM   #3
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Glad to see it here vs the news, great series, Bravos!


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09-13-2020, 07:58 PM   #4
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Wow! Does the unexpected weight translate into the crane getting a bit bucky? What part of this job is yours?

09-13-2020, 09:00 PM   #5
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This was quite the dramatic rigging exercise . You would not want a cut rate crane with a rookie operator . Will the new spire be solid or laminated and what type of lightening arresting design be used? TFS

Last edited by pichaser; 09-13-2020 at 09:10 PM. Reason: more comment
09-13-2020, 09:58 PM - 1 Like   #6
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by foxandcrow Quote
Great series, definitely a big job you captured it well.
Thank you foxandcrow!
QuoteOriginally posted by MikeMcE Quote
Glad to see it here vs the news, great series, Bravos!
Me too! Thanks for viewing and commenting.
QuoteOriginally posted by mroeder75 Quote
Wow! Does the unexpected weight translate into the crane getting a bit bucky? What part of this job is yours?
The crane operator handled it well. When the load hit 90% of capacity, the alarm bell on the crane started beeping and stayed beeping until it was on the ground. Otherwise you would never have known it. We are the General Contractor and hired the crane company for the operation.
QuoteOriginally posted by pichaser Quote
This was quite the dramatic rigging exercise . You would not want a cut rate crane with a rookie operator . Will the new spire be solid or laminated and what type of lightening arresting design be used? TFS
You are correct about that. The crane operator was extremely competent. He had to drop the collar over the cross at the top without damaging it or hanging up the rigging, and then make sure he was centered to keep it from moving excessively. We were mostly worried about the shingles coming loose and falling to the ground, but not one came loose during the lift. We don't get much lightning in the Central Valley so lightning protection is pretty rare. The new spire is being manufactured in Texas and will have a fiberglass shell over a steel frame. We found some old photos from the 1800's that had scalloped shingles which we are going to imitate with the fiberglass molds. In addition, we have been re-finishing the exterior plaster and the stained glass windows are being refurbished in Iowa. It is a very interesting project...
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