Damaged Bronze Sculpture
Off to Ottawa
My wife and I drove up to beautiful Ottawa, Canada to restore a water-damaged sculpture at our embassy.
Ottawa is a 4 hour drive north from our home in Montpelier, Vermont. A clean and safe city, and fun to walk around even in the winter. Reasonable hotel and food prices, and the local cuisine – all kinds of food – is delicious.
This project involved a bronze sculpture Fountain With Frog by the Missouri artist Joseph Pozycinski. The water feature badly rusted the bronze surface. I was asked to restore the original smooth shiny surface and adjust the pump so it wouldn’t overflow.
Water damage had badly etched the surface with rust and stained the finish on the finely-crafted wood and stone pedestal, completely destroying the signage.
It took several long days to remove the rust with metal buffing attachments on a high-speed Dremel. Then I repainted the flat-black water receptacle, polished the black stone surface of the pedestal and sanded the wood top. I repainted the wood top with several coats of water-based clear satin polyurethane, lightly sanding between coats. The small water-damaged plastic name-plate was re-fabricated by my go-to guy for all signage, Jim Madden of ‘On the Button’ archival art services. Finally, I coated the metal surface with a satin polymer known as Everbrite which will prevent the water feature from damaging the surface.
- Related Projects:
- Art Conservation of the World’s Tallest Buddha
- Graffiti Removal
- Sculpture Restoration at the Winfield House
- Sculpture Installation at the US Embassy in Athens
- Ceramic Restoration
- Art Restoration at the Denver International Airport
Weird Water Problem
Next I checked the pump. People said it was noisy and splashed water “all over the place!” The pump turned out to be in perfect condition, but needed a quick adjustment to reduce the water flow so it wouldn’t splash.
However, the water receptacle is a bit ill-conceived in the sense that the water can’t be too high or too low in this small receptacle. If too low the pump is noisy. If too high the water splashes. There is not much difference between those two limits. Thus someone needs to keep an eye on it throughout the day to be sure the water doesn’t run too high or low. I don’t know any office employee who has the time to devote to a sculpture like this. So embassy staff decided to simply no longer operate the water feature. Disappointing, but the sculpture looks wonderful nonetheless.
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