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Second life for historic copper roof

Bangor Public Library's old copper roof was installed in 1912. It was old, it was leaking and it needed to be replaced. The new roof was installed the spring of 2014. So, what happened to the copper from the old roof? Quite a lot has been made into jewelry by the owners of Maine Jewelry and Art. Some of the jewelry, and many of the ornamental pieces were sold at an auction at the library January 2014. Thanks to overwhelming response from people in Bangor and all over Maine, the jewelry has been a huge success.

Amanda Coburn is using a torch to anneal a piece of copper.

Copper that doesn't have the
green patina can be hot worked.

Keeping the copper in the community

It was Roxanne Munksgaard, co-owner of Maine Jewelry and Art, who came up with the idea of using the copper for jewelry making.
The majority of the roof was already sold as scrap when Roxanne presented her idea of preserving the rest for the community in the form of jewelry and other usable items. Barbara McDade, executive director of the Bangor Public Library, agreed. Since January 2014 we have been making jewelry as part of the fundraising for the renovation project at the library. And thanks to great response from the public, we have been able to raise a substantial amount of money for the renovation.

How we make
the jewelry

Over time all copper will get a green patina, called Verdigris. It's a green pigment that develops naturally as the copper is exposed to air and water.
It has been a challenge to work with the copper and at the same time preserve the patina. For instance, we would lose the patina if we used heat or tried to solder the copper. We had to come up with many creative ideas, using various techniques such as riveting, stamping, engraving, hammering, and metal etching.
So far we have been able to make hundreds of items with different designs.

Anne Reigstad is removing dirt and discoloring from the copper with a steel brush on a drill press.

Roxanne Munksgaard is making smooth edges on a bookmark with a flex shaft.

This is some of the raw material we work with. By cutting, filing, hammering and riveting, we have been able to make lots of beautiful jewelry.

Raising money for the library

The jewelry we make from the old roof is part of a fundraising effort for the library. A large part of the sales goes back to the library. November 2014 we presented a check of $17,306 to the Bangor Public Library. At the end of 2018 we had raised more than $35,000.

From left: Roxanne Munksgaard, Anne Reigstad, Amanda Coburn, and Bangor Public Library Director Barbara McDade.

We still have a great selection of copper roof jewelry in our store at 100 Harlow Street in Bangor. And you can also shop our jewelry online, in our Etsy store.

History in a bottle

We have only a limited amount of copper from the old roof. Sooner or later it will all be gone.
That's why we save all pieces that can't be used for jewelry. They go into these small "time-capsules", - available at our store.

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