Montpelier Restoration Update – 8/6/2008



The painters continue to prepare and prime the trim in M-108 (Drawing Room). They have also started to prime the reconstructed window sashes.




Gene Lyman and Keith Forry have installed the doors between M-104 (Mr. Madison’s Room) and M-105 (Dining Room), M-101 (North Wing, East Closet) and M-102 (North Wing Passage), and M-102 and M-105 (Dining Room). Gene has also started to install the mortise locks for the doors. The mortise is first cut with a router attached to an automated mortising jig. The mortise is then deepened to match the depth of our reproduction locks with a forstner drill bit. Finally, a shallow, rectangular mortise is cut with a chisel to receive the lock’s mounting flange.


Keith Forry also continues to repair the doors and he is currently working on the front door to the Mansion. This door was originally installed in circa 1812 and was painted light blue by the last owner of Montpelier.




Blaise Gaston continues to make interior doors and reproduction iron screws. The reconstructed shutters are also currently being milled at Gaston and Wyatt’s mill shop in Charlottesville, Virginia. A computerized router that mills the individual pieces of the shutter directly from an AutoCAD drawing is being used produce individual pieces of the shutter. The above video was shot at Gaston and Wyatt and the new shutters are copies of the original Madison shutters. The original shutters were removed and placed into a barn on the Montpelier estate by the duPonts in circa 1901.

M-008 (South Wing Cellar Passage)

Bill Bichell has installed the new doors on cellar passage’s east and west doorways. These doors were not found in the Madison house (the cellar passages were originally left open to the elements) and the new doors are being installed to help regulate the cellar’s environment.


M-100 (North Wing Room)


Mason Kevin Neito has re-laid the brick hearth in fireplace.


M-108 (Drawing Room)


Mason Kevin Neito is patching the small cracks in the plaster around the windows and doors.




Mac Ward is installing the decking for the South Wing’s east deck. He has also partially cut out a bed joint in the masonry just above the decking in order to install the flashing.

The original Madison road in front of the Mansion has been finished and the gravel base has been installed. The picture above shows a view of the road that would have been seen by visitors or slaves returning to the house from Madison’s stable (which was located near the recently completed visitor center). This is the first time in over 150 years that we have been able to see this view and this road will serve as the main visitor path to the Mansion.

Kevin Neito is repairing the damaged bricks on the east elevation of the North Wing. He is using pigmented lime putty to infill any bricks that have lost major amounts of material. These bricks have proven to be very fragile and so the repairs will also serve to protect the surviving brick behind them.

Les Lamois and Thomas Tyler are raising the grade around and under the Colonnade. By raising the grade they are ensuring that water will not be able to pool against the foundation and drain into the cellar.

The archaeologists have been looking for a kitchen that was built by Madison in circa 1797. Today they found evidence for what they believe is the kitchen’s southeastern corner and so it looks like much of the building’s footprint has survived intact under the later duPont kitchen. Check out the Montpelier archaeology blog in the coming weeks to learn more about this exciting discovery (


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