Monday, January 08, 2007

Cleaning the floor tiles at Barley Hall: 5

The last day of tile cleaning. And there was one patch to do in front of the dias and leading up to the doorway. Since we should have finished yesterday, no other volunteers were due in, and I worked on my own. It would have been difficult to get two people easily in to the available space anyway. We would have been wondering which bits had been done or backing into each other's cleaned area at some point.

The photo (right) shows a section of the floor, with the risers of the dias at the back. The two (authentic re-productions of the medieval items) bowls contain de-ionised water - one with the specialised detergent, and one without. The orange item is the trusty Barley Hall Ruler - removing chewing and candlewax, for the use of. The tiles to the left hand side have been cleaned, but not buffed. On the right handside, the tiles are still dirty

Not surprisingly, there was a lot more wear on this section than on others as it is the only way into and out of the hall. Other patches of wear were under the top table, where people rested their feet. Also tiles were worn in other areas, particularly if they had a convex surface to begin with. With the brown tiles, it was difficult to gauge the degree of wear. However, it was sometimes noticeable that were was 'drag' particularly when using the non-stick scourers. Previously, when near the window, close to the settles, or near the cupboard, this proved to be a sign there was more candle wax to come off. But on the open area, it was actually where the glaze had been worn down to the body of the tile. With the brown tiles, of course, there is just one layer before hitting the body. With the yellow tiles, there are two layers - the glaze and the slip (which is what makes the tile surface seem yellow). However, some of the yellow tiles showed a little glaze wear, but not down to the slip. The most obviously worn yellow tile occurred just to the left of the surface in front of the dias.

There was no tile wear behind the settles, though the accumulation of dust and chewing gum still made it hard going. Hopefully, after our experiences with the stuff, chewing gum will be banned from the hall. The other problem was candle wax, but that is something that is a natural part of the hall's display, so we'll have to put up with that. It was noticeable that some tiles had chipped edges, particularly where the edges were higher than the mortar.

Total amount of material used:
4 pairs medium gloves (Superdrug; 2 for 1 deal)
2 pairs small gloves (Superdrug; 2 for 1 deal)
3 pairs large gloves (Poundland)
10 200g packs cotton wool (Poundland)
5 non-stick scourers (Woolworths)
11 litres de-ionised water (9 litres from Halfords, 2 litres from Barnitts; Barnitts was cheapest at the time, though I subsequently saw de-ionised water for 51p per litre in Tescos; much cheaper than either of those shops)

Also: 1 box soap flakes (Barnitts)- only used experimentally on a small patch. Seemed to work OK.
And: Several Barley Hall rulers were extremely useful in removing chewing gum and candle wax

Cleaning hours clocked up today: 4.15

Overall total so far: 39.45 hours

So let's call it 40 hours or so to individually hand-clean all the tiles in Barley Hall!

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