QUINCY -- A group of professional painters is donating time to clean, prime and paint the extensive picket fence bordering Quincy's historic John Wood Mansion at 12th and State.
About 10 journeymen and apprentice painters from the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 58 will take on the project Saturday morning.
The work is part of the union's annual community day of action -- a time when members voluntarily step forward to do something to help a local community.
"We like to help out in the communities and make improvements," said Jonathan Elliott, an organizer for District Council 58, which has offices in Collinsville, St. Louis and several other cities. The council represents 170 contractors and about 5,000 members in central and southern Illinois, and eastern Missouri.
"Things like that fence are important because the Historical Society doesn't have a ton of funds, and the mansion is an important landmark in the state of Illinois. So if we can donate time to help preserve a landmark -- or help improve a community -- it improves everybody," Elliott said.
Chuck Radel, who is on the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County Board, which oversees the John Wood Mansion and the History Museum at Fourth and Maine, expressed gratitude for the union's willingness to help.
"This donation of labor and materials will be a great savings for the Historical Society and will allow us to complete more of the preservation and maintenance projects needed for the proper care of the John Wood Mansion and the History Museum," Radel said. "Having professional painters perform the work helps reassure us as to the quality of their work."
Several volunteers from the union were in Quincy on Tuesday to power-wash the fence in preparation for Saturday's painting.
Elliott said power washing is a quick, effective way to remove peeling paint and clean the wooden surface so the primer and paint will stick better.
"The paint was flaking really bad," he said. "About 50 percent of the fence was down to just bare wood."
Saturday's project will involve using brushes and rollers to apply a layer of latex primer on all fence surfaces. After the primer dries, which takes about an hour, the crews will apply a coating of acrylic latex paint using a spray applicator, Elliott said.
"By the time we make our way around with a prime coat, we'll be able to turn around and start painting the finished coat," he said.
Elliott said the application process for the finished coat will involve one person using a paint sprayer while another stands on the opposite side of the fence with a spray shield to catch the overspray.
"We're going to have one crew painting the inside and one crew painting the outside and work toward each other," he said. "Then we'll have to pass each other at one part of the fence and keep going the other way."
Elliott estimates that the fence is about 600 feet long, which means painting both sides will require covering 1,200 linear feet of surface.
He said the Sherwin-Williams store in Quincy agreed to donate all of the finish paint for the project, but the Historical Society must buy about 10 gallons of primer needed for the project.
"The store manager at Sherwin-Williams gave them a good discount on the primer, but Sherwin-Williams did donate all of the finish paint, which is a couple of thousand dollars' worth of paint," Elliott said.
The paint job "should last them for eight to 10 years," he said. "Being exposed to the weather, it's not going to last forever. But we want to make it last as long as we can."