Replicating an existing weather vane or finial can be challenging.
We are very interested in reproducing ornaments using the original techniques
required for an accurate replication.
In our shop we can work with many types of metals including:
copper, brass, bronze, aluminum, stainless steel and hand forged iron.
We are able to finish our commissions with hot verdigris patina, lead coating and gold leaf.
In some instances, we can repair or replace worn parts and prolong the life of a rooftop decoration.
But many times it can make even more sense to substitute a worn and fragile ornament with a facsimile.
This way, the valuable original can be safely displayed and protected indoors.
"Quill and Cap" on the Noah Webster Building (Goshen Town Hall) Goshen,NY
Goshen Restoration Unlimited, Inc. commissioned Denninger to handcraft a
replica of the old quill weather vane which had been removed from the steeple
of the historic Goshen Town Hall. The original vane (shown in the first
photograph, alongside Al holding the new one) is now in the collection of
Museum Village of Orange County in Monroe, NY. The quill design commemorates
the fact that the Goshen Town Hall was originally the Farmers Academy in which
Noah Webster (of dictionary fame) is reputed to have taught.
Al hand hammered the copper into a mold he created from the original quill's measurements, tooled in the feathering using the repoussé method, soldered the pieces together the same as a 19th century coppersmith would have done, and finished the vane in an antique verdigris patina. He then gilded the letters N S E W and the two decorative globes with 23k XX surface gold.
"110-year-old Banner and 1991 Replica" for Christ Church, Pelham, NY
The brand new banner for the bell tower of the 1843 stone church was commissioned to commemorate the sesqui-centennial of the church, and donated by a member of the Parish of Christ the Redeemer. The original banner was worn after over one hundred years of exposure to the weather, salt air and bullets.
The new banner, an exact replica of the original in copper and brass, is an example of a style of vane which was very popular in the Victorian era. It is personalized with the initials "CC" for "Christ Church" and four small crosses. Tucked safely inside the copper cone and globe at the top is a note describing the event, a "time capsule" for future congregations.
"Trefoil Cross with Leaves" for Christ Children's Church, Shreveport, LA
This beautiful piece is a replication of the cross atop St. Peter's St.
Paul's, Mittenwald, Germany. In his European travels, a benefactor of the newly
constructed Christ Children's Church in Shrevesport, LA captured the original
in a photograph and asked us to reproduce its likeness for both the church
steeple and for the altar.
The steeple cross is surrounded by four stars on globes. The altar cross was mounted on a heavy bronze base which had been salvaged from a candlestick from the old church. All six copper and brass liturgical pieces were finished in gold leaf.
"Stanford Arrow and Cap" for Bethany Presbyterian Church, Bethany, PA
As part of their extensive restoration, the congregation of Bethany
Presbyterian Church contacted us to provide the proper weather vane for the
steeple. The vane which had blown off many years before was not the original,
and did not suit the classic architecture of the oldest church in Wayne County.
Our Stanford Arrow, patterned after the design called the "Church
Scroll" in many old catalogs we have studied and seen on scores of
churches and meeting halls throughout New England, seemed perfect for this
application and for the church budget.
After an on-site consultation and crane ride (see first photo above), Al determined that the steeple had been left exposed for so long that the wooden headblock was badly deteriorated. During installation, the rotten wood was removed, a hole for the rod was drilled deeply into the remaining headblock, a specially designed steel bracket was lagged into solid rafters, and the cavity was filled with polyester resin. A large copper cap protects the apex.
"Rooster Finials" for Trinity Baptist Church, 1910, New York City
Fifty Three Restorations, Inc., specializing in restoring religious
buildings, hired us to replace the original rooster finials for the Trinity
Baptist Church on E. 61st Street in NYC.
The original wrought iron finials had deteriorated quite badly after only 80 years due to the extreme pollution and salt air. After much discussion, we decided to replace them not with wrought iron but with bronze and copper which will better withstand the urban conditions. In the picture above, the original iron rooster finials are flanked by our bronze and copper replicas standing 36" tall.