Cemetery Restoration and Stone Repair Toolbox
Suggestions for Your
Cemetery Restoration and
Stone Repair


Below are some (but not necessarily ALL) of the equipment, materials and supplies you should consider before hiking cross-country to an abandoned pioneer cemetery to do restoration work. 
Of course, the materials you will need will vary with every project, but this checklists should help you make better use of your on-site time by making you think beforehand of things you should consider taking along.  Like this Zag Mobile Tuffmate. Some of us find big plastic storage tubs an excellent way to organize these supplies so they aren't always rolling around loose in the back of our cars. 

 ** A note of caution, don't leave epoxies in a hot car.   Set the chemicals outside before you go hiking. *** *

Also a point of reality.  Websites change their web addresses, my appoligies if the links are bad.  I try to update at least once a year.

If you need to review the steps again... click here

Most of us or our parents have tools in our garages that can help start us out with cleaning up the cemetery yard.  Take the time to really evaluate each step.  Safety should be your first priority.   

Safety Equipment , pack these first.

  • Gloves (leather work gloves, jersey work gloves and rubber gloves)
  • Cellular phone (sooner or later someone will fall over a tombstone or footstone)
  • Drinking water                                 Sunscreen and hats
  • Boots                                                Bee and wasp spray
  • Long-sleeved shirt                           Safety goggles (if using equipment)
  • Insect repellant                                First Aid kit
  • Antibacterial liquid soap and/or waterless instant hand sanitizer (such as Purell)
  • Protective hand lotion (such as "Gloves in a Bottle" or Ivy Block   (poison ivy, oak and sumac protection)
  • Snakebite kit (available from sporting goods stores that carry camping and hiking goods)

Site Cleaning equipment:   when your ready to start restoration.

Portable leaf blower, rakes,  shovels and spades,  trowels,  Grubbing hoe   Machete,  Chain saw,  Weed eaters,  Wheelbarrow,  Pruning shears   Probes (i.e., "T-style probe" sold by Amazon or your local plumbing supply dealer or Hardware store.  Ask for Tile probes. You need a permit to use probes first. 

To record the position for your cemetery, the County Area Plan and the DHPA's Cemetery and Burial Ground Registry.  You need a hand held GPS device.   Please share your findings with in your County and preserve it in your County Historical Society or Public library.  Also now online to Findagrave.com or BillionsGraves.  Cemeteries are still being destroyed.

Stone Cleaning supplies

A note of caution, their are many new products out on the market for stone cleaning.  Please understand you are working with historic family monuments, mostly over 160 years ago.  The first four cleaners below have been proven safe and are recommended.  Who can really say what these new cleaners will do to the surfaces?  As my mother told me, "don't do anything you can't live with later" .  Please don't make the surface worse.   If all you can do is get it wet and photograph, then just do that.  

  • Lots and lots of water, always start with water and finish with clean rinsing. 
    Soft-bristled plastic, nylon or natural bristle brushes only.
        Preferably white brushes.    

  • Also you might try 1 part Ammonia and 5 parts water.  Be sure to rinse the stones well with clean water in the beginning and at the end.  Start at the bottom and work upwards to prevent staining.  This works fairly well on most surfaces.  It will remove most of the black leichen if your patient.  Be sure to check the surface first.  Don't destroy what is left. 

  • Orvus soap by Proctor & Gamble (available at farm and animal supply stores; 1/4 cup to 1 gallon water for cleaning)  Wash stone with Orvus and  water, using a soft-bristled brush; rinse thoroughly

  • Kodak Photo-Flo (1/4 oz. to 5 quarts of water; used for initial cleaning) [wash stone with Photo-Flo and water, using a soft-bristled brush; rinse thoroughly]

  • ReVive - biological growth cleaner.   Simply dilute with clean water as directed, and apply BioWash to the surface. A short contact time, gentle scrubbing and a water rinse are normally enough to remove light-to-moderate soiling and staining typically encountered on building surfaces and monuments.    Can sometimes be found at paint stores.

  • D/2  biological growth cleaner  [YouTube demo] Jason Church NCPTT demo.


Stone Repairing supplies

  Epoxies Used:       Photo of Tenex & Mastico

         Atlas Preservation Supplies

  • TENEX   from Bicknell Supply Company. 1-800-241-7105 

  • MasticoClear epoxy with hardener is available from Hilgartner Natural Stone Company, 101 W Cross Street, Baltimore, Maryland  21230.   410-752-4832 I always call.

  • Akepox 2010 Epoxy Transp L-Spec (Honey) - 2.25 Kg.   Most economical option.  Available from your local monument dealer or from GranQuartz,  PO Box 33569,  Decatur, Georgia 30033; 800-458-6222. You can download their catalog. 

  • Last Patch, from Bonstone  Good for areas where you need to secure the edges together, or build a corner with something more durable.  See photo

  • Barre Pak Epoxy - 70 gram Kit (in Gray)  More expensive, but handy for smaller repairs; dual barrels of epoxy and hardener.  Available from   Miles Supply Company  Inc.,  PO Box 237, Barre, VT 05641-0237; 802-476-3963.  This suplyer also has Stone setting compond.

  Bonding of stones back together has a lot to do with the condition of the break. A stone broken many years ago  weathers, leaving you with very little contact points. This may require a knife-grade epoxy. Where as an Epoxy such as Mastico, is thin flowing and best used when plenty of stone to stone contact is there. I use several types epoxy, depending on the stones need.   The Barre Pak bonds well, yet it is gray in color and thick in content. 
Better used when the break would be below ground. GranQuartz  has some excellent epoxies. Order catalogs from BICKNELL,  Miles Supply or any other company that deals with stone products. (11-14-2005)  

More supplies to think about:

  • Denatured alcohol and acetone (for cleaning the broken surfaces; use rubber gloves) 

  • Clean rags  (for applying acetone & denatured alcohol) old white cotton T-shirts {washed WITHOUT fabric softener} WITHOUT fabric softener} 

  • Old Tupperware or margarine containers (for mixing and holding epoxy and mortar)

  • Tongue depressors, wooden paint stirrers or "popsicle sticks" (for mixing and spreading epoxy; available  from craft stores)

  • Duct tape (for masking surfaces when applying epoxy or mortar)

  • Clamps, Carpenter's Level , Portable workbench (i.e., Black & Decker Workmate , Portable drill and bits , Generator (to power the drill), Turkey baster (for blowing dust and loose dirt out of the pin holes), Fiberglass or nylon pins (used to stabilize the stone  while the epoxy cures; you'll need drill bits to match; do NOT use metal pins), Scrap lumber (for bracing repaired stones), Compressed air (used for  cleaning computer keyboards, etc.; useful in removing
    dust and tiny debris before applying epoxy to a stone's broken surface)


Resetting Stones

  • Shovels and spades                            Tamper or old wooden ball bat 
  • Garden trowel                                     Tape measure
  • Carpenter's Level                              Wheelbarrow  
  • Mason's trowels                                 Mixing box or hard plastic tubs
  • Scrap lumber (2x4s and scraps of plywood; for bracing reset stones)
  • Sand  (regular not silicone)                 White Portland cement
  • Hydrated lime                                    Pea gravel
  • Sand and pea gravel (Mix 1 part sand to 1 part pea gravel for under stones and bases.)
  • Hoist  Using a Hoist
  • Setting Compounds & Setting Cushions used under corners under the edges of stacking layers. Miles Supply Company 


Reinserting Stones into intact bases  (click for more photos showing the process)


1 part Portland cement
4 parts hydrated lime
8 parts clean sand

Water (used sparingly; mixture should be very stiff and almost "dry")

After inserting stone into wet mortar, prop it with cut 2-x 4's until mortar is dry.  Be sure to clean off any excess mortar before it dries.  Taping also help keep a clean surface.  Remove tape after mortar is dry.  


Finish your project with a new sign.  Indiana Historic Bureau Cemetery Heritage Signs

Back to History links

The Indiana Pioneer Cemeteries Restoration Project.
Copyright 2008 -Indiana Pioneer Cemeteries Restoration Project



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