Alcatraz Guard Tower Restoration Project 2013

The tower is one of the few first historic structures immediately seen when landing at the dock on the legendary Alcatraz Island. “It stands a centurion watch over the main road and tourists arriving Alcatraz Island,” describes Jasun Boles, Bara Infoware Site Superintendent and Quality Control Manager for the Alcatraz Dock Guard Tower preservation project. Kleen Blast supplied blasting media and equipment for the project. I got a chance to get down to some nitty gritty about the project and here is a snapshot of what we talked about.

Sherry: For a job this size, what type of blasting material was used and how much does a job like this require?

Jasun: “Approximately twelve thousand pounds of blasting media was estimated. Our choice….30/50 Brite Blast. We used 50# palletized bags because it was easier to handle the material in the containment, keep the work area clean, and it’s far more accurate for record keeping of work completed vs material quantity left on hand.”

Sherry: I like Brite Blast — It is a ‘green product’ where typical beer bottles and other glass disposed into home recycling bins has been repurposed for blasting media. Best of all, it is silica free!

Jasun: “Yes, which makes it safe for the men using it! The application and clean-up is a whole lot less meticulous!”

Sherry: Why did you select Brite Blast media for the job?

Jasun: “After talking with the Kleen Blast team, we selected Brite Blast because of the product’s eco…”green” nature, and to meet our required painting profile and project specifications. “

Sherry: What is being blasted off, and the desired profile?

Jasun: “We were removing a two coat, non-lead based paint system which had varying degrees of corrosion after 20 years of exposure to salt air and shade which kept residual moisture from drying off the surfaces. We wanted to obtain a brush blast SSPC-SP-7 finish over areas which had not been affected by corrosion. A 2.5 mil profile with a SSPC-SP-6 commercial blast was achieved on the corroded areas. Due to varied conditions of the steel’s surface, many areas of the SSPC-SP-6 reached an average 3 mil profile!”

Sherry: What were some of the tricky things or special considerations on this job?

Jasun: “Working on any island presents several unique challenges: physical, environmental and positive public relations.

  1. Materials are transported via barge. If there is a shortage, it is no longer just a quick trip to the store!
  2. Humidity and damp air created moisture traps at the compressor and pot. Even cooling the airline in ice water didn’t eradicate moisture in the blast line on rainy and foggy mornings. Conditions are monitored daily to ensure delivery of the best product possible.
  3. Tourists are welcomed on one side of the Tower and the Bay is on the other. Full containment was put in place to protect the public and the San Francisco Bay from being exposed to the blast material. Plus, the Guard Tower is a noted historic feature of the island, and we’ve worked through the protected bird nesting season! Every day is a challenge to maintain a positive public image while keeping the site operational.
  4. Last but not least the biggest challenge was the rust itself. Some areas of rust were so thick there was no steel left to blast. The pack rust was thicker than the steel itself and required repair or replacement.”

Sherry: How has Kleen Blast made this job easier?

Jasun: “Kleen Blast has been amazing. While setting up the order, they answered all questions and made sure every part and piece was compatible with each other, our equipment and project spec’s. Kleen Blast had everything necessary for this project or sourced it immediately.”

Sherry: Kleen Blast provides customers with a full service operation……abrasives, equipment sales, parts, rentals, and spent abrasives recycling….

Jasun: “We bought our Bullard Air Compressor, 1” id air supply lines, debris bags and Brite Blast media from Kleen Blast. The ‘spent media’ was tested through the sister company, Kleen Industrial Services. They recycle the spent media (abrasives) when the project is completed. It’s easy and we don’t have to handle any of that! We would definitely rent from and continue purchasing from Kleen Blast.”

Sherry: I am glad to hear you have done well by the Kleen Blast full service business!

Jasun: “I highly recommend Kleen Blast to anyone looking for an industrial/ commercial supplier of abrasive blast media, rental/purchase of blasting equipment and KIS recycling! We will definitely rent from and continue purchasing from Kleen Blast.”

Sherry: Sounds like Kleen Blast is “With You To The Finish!