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Subject: Consolidant


From: Linda S. Roundhill <artsconservation>
Date: Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Claire Daly <claire_daly [at] birmingham__gov__uk> writes

>I am to conserve a large panel with applied "Grinling Gibbons"
>carvings, which has suffered from severe Furniture Beetle
>infestation.  After Thermo Lignum treatment, I need to consolidate
>the flight holes.  Does anybody have experience of consolidating
>Gibbons carvings, or can anybody recommend a suitable consolidant,
>which will give sufficient depth of penetration and also avoid
>swelling the wood fibres?  Paraloid B72 in acetone has been
>suggested, but I am interested in alternatives.

I have no experience with Gibbons carvings, but you might find that
using B-72 in toluene or xylene will give better penetration and
cause less darkening and skin formation.  Of course these can't be
used without proper precautions, and will require a higher
concentration of resin to be effective.

If acetone is used, make sure it has a very low water content.  Many
commercial acetones are loaded with water and this will impede
penetration and soften the fibers.

I like using Butvar (polyvinyl butyral) in anhydrous ethanol, as it
darkens less, is an excellent water repellant and the fumes are less
dangerous.  I have not scientifically compared penetration aspects,
but I am guessing that Butvar in ethanol would not penetrate as well
as B-72, as it is more viscous in solution.

Many folks insist on using low viscosity epoxies, but I don't think
that is a good option except in certain circumstances where
load-bearing or weather protection is crucial.

Keep in mind any surface treatments that may be adversely affected
by the different solvents, as well as reversibility factors and any
gap-fills that might be used later.  I am sure you know most of this
but I mention it all for the sake of completeness!

Hope that is somewhat helpful, though I am sure there are other
options I have no experience with.

Linda S. Roundhill
Art and Antiquities Conservation, L.L.C.
18121 157th Ave NE
Woodinville, WA 98072

                  Conservation DistList Instance 20:1
                  Distributed: Saturday, June 24, 2006
                        Message Id: cdl-20-1-010
Received on Wednesday, 21 June, 2006

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