The work in the studio, the jewel-in-the-crown room at Howlets, is in full swing. Our goal is to make the studio comfortable year-round by adding heat and insulation. Because much of the work is planned for the ceiling, 26 feet above the floor, there was no question we needed a staging structure of which Michelangelo would have been proud. Unlike Michelangelo and his helpers, most of the work on the staging in the studio will not be done lying down.

Walk the plank

Because the staging is rented only until August 28, the clock is ticking. In all, the staging will be used for six different projects. Jim Fritz of Fritz Carpentry, the general contractor, will use it first to tape off the rafters and nail strips for the sheetrock to be applied. Steve, the electrician from Noble Electric, will run the wiring for the ceiling fan, smoke and fire detectors, lighting and a heat exchange thermostat. March and Martin will then use the staging to spray insulation between the rafters. Jim will use it again to fasten the sheetrock to the strips. Enos Painting will paint the sheetrock a crisp ceiling white. Finally, Jim will remove the protective tape to reveal a soaring 100-year old ceiling with all of the modern conveyances hidden behind the insulation and sheetrock. Between each rafter, soft lights from below will sweep up to the ridge pole line.

An infallible check of the work

Completing all this work by August 28 will be a challenge. The music that keeps playing in my head is the music from the scene in Fantasia, the sorcerer’s apprentice. Faster and faster the proverbial buckets of water need to be emptied. As the deadline draws near, the music plays faster. Did Michelangelo feel this pressure from Pope Julius II (known as “il papa terribile”)? Luckily for Michelangelo, the Pope’s staging was probably not rented from Lynn Ladder and Scaffolding with a strict return date.

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