general statue repair hdr (T)386-956-1724
clay statue repair pic
Statue Repair
by Brian R. Owens
"God is in the details"

- unkown author
statue repair 1

The repaired trophy, ready to ship to the client.
This statue repair project is notable because of the materials originally used to make this delicate figure. Its about 12 inches at its widest point.

The statue repair was limited to the figure of the dog, a "saluki" to be precise. It was severely damaged in a fall. Structural damage, not just cosmetic damage. If not for the aluminum armature running through the supporting legs, it would have been delivered to me in several pieces. The statue sits atop a trophy, the type that travels to whomever wins it, from one year to the next. Interesting concept. The holder of the statue required that it be repaired in such a way that there be no evidence of the repair. Not all statue repairs should be handled this way, incidentally. There are cases when taking a repair that far can adversely affect its market value. A seamless statue repair may cost more than the statue itself, in some cases. The client had explored all of her options and thought it through before calling me. So the challenge was two-fold: One, restore - to the degree possible - strength to the broken ankles and legs, then finish the surface so that the statue repair would not be visible even on close inspection.

statue repair 2

All of these cracks go completely through the legs. You can't just do a cosmetic repair of the surface and let it go. Whatever the method, the statue repair has to reach deep into the leg in order to be strong.

sculpture fix 1

This statue consists of 2 layers of resin. The outermost layer was a very thin layer consisting of resin mixed with bronze powder. This mixture is called bonded bronze or cold-cast bronze and has a bronze-like appearance when polished. Naturally, you cant weld it and grind it down as you can something made of real metal. Also, it is difficult to feather the edges of a patch made of bonded bronze so that it blends in seamlessly. Time was of the essence and there was little margin for error. So, I decided to custom-mix some paints that matched the rest of piece. But first, it had to be reassembled.

I completed the statue repair without removing it from the rest of the trophy for several reasons, not the least of which was I did not know how it was mounted. I thought I might further damage the statue by removing it. So, the trophy was completely covered during the repair with plastic wrap and aluminum foil at the top, as you can see in the photos below. The statue repair involved bending the aluminum armature back into its original shape. This was the only way that the pieces would fit back together properly. Two adhesives were used; a thin adhesive for the legs and a thick, hard adhesive to strengthen the ankles. At this point, the structure was repaired but the cracks were still quite visible. The cracks were filled and hidden using automotive finishing techniques, similar to the methods used to repair auto body panels, except on a much smaller scale. Then I painted the repaired areas.

sculpture fix 2

The materials and methods that I used create a lot of dust. The blue tape keeps dust from getting into crevises.

sculpture fix 3

The slender legs and ankles that make this piece so appealing also make it easy to break. So, it is transported (to whomever wins it next) in a rather impressive, heavy-duty shipping case, the type used to ship electronic devices such as high-end camera equipment. This Pelican Case model 1650 is watertight and comes with a screw-down top, quick-release latches, multiple folding handles, wheels, a retractable come along handle and a foam interior that may be cut to custom-fit whatever youre carrying. Learned something new on this statue repair project. I recommend this approach to people who need to transport items such as this to special events.

sculpture fix 4

The Pelican Case model 1650 in all its glory. Holes for the machine screws are seen to the far left and right of the center handle.

sculpture fix 5

This type of case is routinely shipped by carriers such as Fedex.

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Brian R. Owens
(T) 386-956-1724

© 2004 Brian R. Owens (T)386-956-1724
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