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Subject: Stainless steel in outdoor sculptures

Stainless steel in outdoor sculptures

From: N.J. Bud Goldstone <budgoldstone>
Date: Wednesday, September 4, 2002
Stainless steel reinforcements within cement mortar sculptural
members had been used for repairs and conservation in 1979-1985 of
the complex sculpture "The Watts Towers" by Simon Rodia. After only
eight years (1995-1998) during failure inspections, we found severe
damage from cathodic reaction between the stainless and Rodia's
original mild steel reinforcements. Rodia's work was done between
1924 and 1955. Has anyone else found this unexpectedly early
problem? The degradation of the artist's 1924-1945 mild steel was
severe in 1995 after stainless steel was used nearby, not
necessarily attached to the original.

While working currently on a 1920's sculpture, I have recommended
against using stainless for repairs in proximity to original mild
steel reinforcements used by sculptor Carlo Romanelli. What is your

N. J. Bud Goldstone, conservation engineer,
co-author, The Los Angeles Watts Towers, 1997
and 2002 published by J.Paul Getty Museum.

                  Conservation DistList Instance 16:18
                Distributed: Thursday, September 5, 2002
                       Message Id: cdl-16-18-015
Received on Wednesday, 4 September, 2002

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