For a century and a half, the spire of Christ Church Cathedral has extended a heady 198 feet above the ground. When the spire started to show signs of instability, this was a hint that the Fredericton, New Brunswick-based church needed serious restoration. Years of battering by the harsh maritime elements, a lightning strike and subsequent fire, and some makeshift repairs had left this place of prayer with many wounds: The sandstone buttresses were pushing, instead of supporting, the east wall; two buttresses on the east side had to be rebuilt; and two sandstone pinnacles had to be dismantled and fully rebuilt. In addition, many of the mortar joints needed repointing, the copper cladding on the spire and roof had to be replaced, and the limestone dressing of the exterior tracery on the east window had decayed beyond repair. Intervention (not divine) was sorely needed. The project team based the restoration sequence on what was "most in need," then adopted a three-phase approach: Phase 1 involved work on the tower, the roof and the spire; Phase 2 included work on the east elevation tracery window and walls; and Phase 3, due to begin next year, will involve work on the west elevation and the rest of the church. Consisting of all the work necessary on the tower, the first phase cost $1.1 million and took place from May through December of 1995. The second phase, from May through December of 1996, cost $750,000. Due to begin next year, the final phase will cost approximately $1 million. The stonemasons used traditional tools, such as mallets/hammers and chisels, as well as custom- designed air guns that powered tungsten-carbide-tipped chisels. These powerful chisels used both on- and offsite, are harder and stay sharp longer than other chisels. Used in combination with air guns, they have a finer impact--hitting the stone hundreds of times per second--and it's possible to work the stone to the dust (to the finest degree possible), since you can control the velocity of the air. Masons repointed the entire tower in Phase 1. Mortar samples were analyzed and recreated exactly. The pointing mix consisted of a sand aggregate, a slaked lime putty and a white cement at a ratio of 6:1:1.