Heavy duty sealing


POSTED: Sunday, May 24, 2009

For the first time in 40 years, the two massive bronze state seals are not gracing the mauka and makai faces of the state Capitol.

Although the seals have been cleaned and inspected since the Capitol was completed in 1969, they have never been taken down, until now.

The two seals, weighing 7,500 pounds apiece and measuring 15 feet in diameter, have been lowered for a cleaning. The job, contracted to Abhe & Svoboda, Inc. is budgeted at $312,000. Art preservationist Rosa Lowinger was hired as conservator for the project.

The seals have been relocated to the Ewa portion of the Capitol mall where they will be cleaned and the conservator will put a protective coating on them, according to Russ Saito, state comptroller.

The seals are hung and restrained from four chains and lowering the seals was a three day job for each one. The makai seal could be reached by a crane which put the workers in position to attach another set of chains with a winch and slowly lower it.

On the mauka side, there was not enough room for the crane, so scaffolding was built which the workers used to attach the winches and lower the seals, according to Saito.

Saito said he expects the seals to be back in place in August.