Lucille T
Lucille T
  • Hometalker
  • Imperial, PA

Restoring a 65 Year Old Cement Statue


I still have a statue of a bear my Father got in about 1945. It was painted as a polar bear then. We have since painted it as a black bear. It is now at home at my daughters house in Ebensburg PA, We put it on the porch to paint. A storm came up and the wind blew over that 300 lb bear and broke into pieces. This DIY is about restoring him. I hope you enjoy our project. It was a group effort. My Daddy was looking down and guiding us.
I had done some research on the internet to get info to do this. One of the monument companies I called told me about the Bondo used in body shops on cars. Without that we would not have been able to repair this part of my history. I am very happy and excited to create a lovely home for him by the woods. Enjoy.
Joy Ritenour Tomchik (on FB)
This is our bear 60 years ago with my Granma.
This is our bear 60 years ago with my Granma.
This is him as a black bear in the garden last year.
This is him as a black bear in the garden last year.
This is what he looked like after the storm.  I cried.  It was so sad.
This is what he looked like after the storm. I cried. It was so sad.
Here we are mixing auto repair Bondo to glue the pieces together.  Dries in minutes so you have to work fast. My friend Ron has a body shop so he knows how to work with the Bondo.
Here we are mixing auto repair Bondo to glue the pieces together. Dries in minutes so you have to work fast. My friend Ron has a body shop so he knows how to work with the Bondo.
The bottom is together and curing.
The bottom is together and curing.
Here we are putting the body together.
Here we are putting the body together.
Jeff, Renee's husband, cut a shelf from Lowes to make a rebar to hold it all together.
Jeff, Renee's husband, cut a shelf from Lowes to make a rebar to hold it all together.
Jeff is adjusting the rebar to fit on the back of the bear.
Jeff is adjusting the rebar to fit on the back of the bear.
Then the guys mixed quick set cement to seal the rebar in place.
Then the guys mixed quick set cement to seal the rebar in place.
We let it dry for 24 hours before we set him up. I wasn't sure of the date so I wrote 1943.  It was probably 1945 or 1946.  I was only 5 then.
We let it dry for 24 hours before we set him up. I wasn't sure of the date so I wrote 1943. It was probably 1945 or 1946. I was only 5 then.
HE IS UP AND ALIVE AGAIN!!  So many cracks and holes.  A big job ahead.
HE IS UP AND ALIVE AGAIN!! So many cracks and holes. A big job ahead.
We used a powder quick set cement to fill ii all in. I wet my hands to shape the grooves and smooth it out. the next 3 pics show the steps.
We used a powder quick set cement to fill ii all in. I wet my hands to shape the grooves and smooth it out. the next 3 pics show the steps.
He is looking good.
He is looking good.
The rock was easier than the body.
The rock was easier than the body.
I let him dry over night and then I sanded, chipped and put the details in.  The ear and mouth required a lot of attention.
I let him dry over night and then I sanded, chipped and put the details in. The ear and mouth required a lot of attention.
I painted it with 2 coats of Kilz2, to seal it.
I painted it with 2 coats of Kilz2, to seal it.
I used this photo to get the face as close as possible to a real look.
I used this photo to get the face as close as possible to a real look.
Ron sealed the back with auto rubberized undercoat to protect it from the elements and to seal the cement.
Ron sealed the back with auto rubberized undercoat to protect it from the elements and to seal the cement.
He is done and looking good. We used several coats of a clear coat in satin to seal the whole bear. Ron as a body expert was able to spray the final coat so it was not shiny at all.  He is ready for his new home.
He is done and looking good. We used several coats of a clear coat in satin to seal the whole bear. Ron as a body expert was able to spray the final coat so it was not shiny at all. He is ready for his new home.
The head is as close as I could get it to the picture
The head is as close as I could get it to the picture
The rock looks good too.
The rock looks good too.
Here is his new home at the edge of the woods  We plan to stack a few large rock beside him. We have many of those.  I will create a new garden for him with pampas grass,  hostas and low flowering ground cover.
Here is his new home at the edge of the woods We plan to stack a few large rock beside him. We have many of those. I will create a new garden for him with pampas grass, hostas and low flowering ground cover.

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2 of 21 comments
  • Carroll G.
    on Oct 5, 2015

    Personally I never noticed any zippers, to bad someone would say something like that. I found this very interesting. Projects are always so much more rewarding when there is a personal connection. I hope Mr. Bear has a long life...

  • Dawn Harris Bybee
    on Oct 5, 2016

    interesting and helpful.

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