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Subject: Wood filling materials

Wood filling materials

From: Detlef Klein <detlef.klein>
Date: Friday, March 22, 2002
Antonia Iliopoulou <iliotonia [at] hotmail__com> writes

... The Icon has insect damage on the wooden support which
>has caused some loss of paint and loss of wooden material(holes,
>tunnels). ...
>... I would like to know which material is best to
>use as a filler  for the wood.

Filling the holes of wood-boring insects in timber (polychrome
surface or natural) is in my opinion generally not a good idea.
Technically it is fraught with problems since it is only possible to
fill to a very limited depth, so there is no stabilizing effect.
Removal of excess around the hole, regardless of the manner in which
it is done always affects surrounding original surface negatively.
And of course, once the holes are filled, future options in respect
to consolidation below the surface with improved resins are severely

Ethically it is also problematic in that it becomes a restoration
process, with the aim of pretending that there is no damage caused
by wood-boring insects.

Mostly it is an emotional issue generated by the mistaken belief
that filling the holes will  be good for the longevity of the
object, would prevent further damage by the wood-boring insect and
so forth. I suggest you carry out consolidation beneath the surface
if that is necessary to stabilize what may be a fragile item
(injection of suitable consolidant, such as acrylic resin, but NOT
animal glues, polyurethanes or epoxies) the main issue in
consolidation being assurance that your medium will penetrate to all
areas and will not become brittle on curing. Leave the holes as they

Detlef Klein
Te Manawa
396 Main Street
Palmerston North
New Zealand

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:65
                  Distributed: Tuesday, March 26, 2002
                       Message Id: cdl-15-65-003
Received on Friday, 22 March, 2002

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