CRLA CCC Bench

The CCC Bench was designed and hand-crafted by the Civilian Conservation Corps (see references below) for the Crater Lake National Park; MPF Conservation conserved the historic bench for the NPS, and this page documents the conservation treatment.

The CCC also built the matching CCC Table.

There are three benches in the park. The other two were conserved years before by Harper’s Ferry (the NPS’s in-house treatment facility). The one shown right was the most damaged, probably from exposure to heat and freezing temperature, then use.

When we assessed the bench it was sitting in the storage room next to the historian’s office. The historian’s office is where the CCC Table lived for years.

Before images above, right and below.

Many techniques we used to repair the damages are similar to the manner of the CCC Table. Rather than repeat ourselves, we will show the Bench before treatment and after treatment, with a few notes.

Above, images of the bench before treatment. The upholstery showcover was a mid-century product of Masland Duran Yearling Duraleather out of Philadelphia, PA. It appeared to be a second generation covering and was in good condition, but did not match the other benches in the park.

Photos above show the acute fragmentation of the Myrtle wood substrate extending from the leg mortise all the way up to the decorative chamfered surface. Chunks of wood falling off like puzzle parts. Thankfully no bits were missing, allowing us to reconstruct the puzzle parts into a cohesive leg top.

In two areas MPFC had to fill voids which were part of an excessively deep mortise cavity created by the craftsperson who designed the bench. Our supposition is that much of the breakage stemmed from the miscalculation of the original mortise creation, which was cut using paring chisels. The wood was shaved off symmetrically around areas which contained knots on other grain anomalies.

Many pieces were separated to be returned to the top of the legs, above.

Shrunken tenons were treated by laminating same species veneer to their surfaces into the void, and into voids on the puzzled tops.

Once the platform was stable the puzzle pieces were glued into place using warm hide glue and gap filling adhesives, shown above and right.

There were several cracks in the frame, though the one shown above was the largest. It was well on its way to splitting the top of the frame. This was repaired using warm hide glue, and losses were infilled with warm hard wax. This protocol was utilized in many places on the bench.

The finish was an encaustic wax treatment with a mixture MPFC creates in house, imparting a warm finish.

We chose a beautiful warm brown leather which was close to the showcover Harper’s Ferry utilized. MPFC cleaned and reused parts of the buildup which was viable, covered the top in a muslin undercover, and the leather completed the benchseat., and complimented the historic finish on the bench, above right and below.

Below, the bench after treatment, first in our studio, and bottom, in its new home..

The bench now lives in the entrance to the Superintendent’s offices in Crater Lake National Park.

References or further reading for the NPS projects:

  1. Civilian Conservation Corps (NPS);
  2. Civilian Conservation Corps (History.com).

For other Crater Lake projects, see the following:

To return to Crater Lake National Park home page, click here.