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Restoration tips provided at expo

April 2, 2017 GMT

Charles Loew stood near his table saw and a few other woodworking tools, ready for his demonstration that would come later. But first, Bruce Conklin was explaining the finer points of plastering and drywall in another room of the recently opened TekVenture locale on Griffin Street, site of the former River City Complex.

They were just a few of the demonstrators at the inaugural ARCH and TekVenture Preservation Expo on Saturday.

The expo featured demonstrations and lectures on various restoration tips, from Loew’s woodworking and Conklin’s plastering, to masonry repair, window and door restoration, gardening and landscaping.

International scagliola expert David Hayles, who was a lead consultant for the restoration of the Allen County Courthouse, also gave demonstrations of his art.

“ARCH has always done hands-on preservation workshops,” said ARCH representative Douglas Sagstetter. “A couple years ago, we saw TekVenture was doing the same thing, so we thought what a great partnership to start. They have essentially all the space and the tools for the community to use, so I thought we could put our two organizations together and we started doing about four to six workshops a year, and we started talking and branching off of those. If we could do all of our workshops in one day, that could bring in a broader audience.”

TekVenture president Greg Jacobs said the goal of the expo was twofold: to make the community aware of its new location and to provide those who have older or antique homes with renovation suggestions.

Loew’s specialty of restoring or replacing woodwork helped provide one of those suggestions.

“If you’re missing a couple feet of baseboard ’cause somebody remodeled or it was damaged, and it’s a baseboard like this, from my 1893 house,” Loew said as he displayed an estimated 6-inch piece of old wood. “You can’t buy this at just any lumber yard, certainly, and if you go to a custom lumber yard, they can grind and replicate it, but you’ll have to have a setup charge.

“We’re saving them money, and getting a near exact match to the original profile, and we can also make it in whatever wood is needed.”

He was there to show how it’s done.