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Subject: Lacquer


From: David Harvey <topladave>
Date: Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Martha Seelenberger <martha.seelenberger [at] parks__nyc__gov>

>I would like to know if anybody has heard about a certain "Nichols
>Lacquer" being used on outdoor bronze sculptures.  If so, how can I
>get access to information on this product like, an MSDS, durability,
>your own personal experience, and even which sculptures have been
>treaded with this type of finishing?

I am not a big proponent of lacquering outdoor metal sculptures. I
have just seen too much damage to surfaces from lacquer coatings
that were not applied properly (breakdown along brush strokes) or
from lacquer films degrading with associated severe localized
corrosion. I have seen deep corroded stripes across surfaces, the
eruption of pustules with associated pitting, and ruined original

Also, old degraded lacquer films can be tremendously difficult to
remove and you have to have a high degree of expertise in applying
lacquers to metals in order to have a coherent coating. For an
object that is indoors and in a controlled environment or in certain
instances where the object has to be outdoors but has severe
inherent vice, lacquers may be needed. But when you choose to
lacquer you have to commit to aggressive monitoring and maintenance
and the associated costs.

>From my experience all too often lacquered outdoor objects are just
left to sit until severe problems develop.

So I guess that my question would be, why lacquer?

Why not apply a wax coating onto a warmed metal surface? It is far
easier to maintain, does not have nearly the issues that lacquers
have with blooming and orange peel, etc. and is certainly protective
and can be easily maintained.

I am not familiar with the specific lacquer that you mentioned but as
always in conservation it is better to work with materials and
properties that you know than to go with something different that
hasn't been tested by science or experience.

David Harvey
Los Angeles, California USA

                  Conservation DistList Instance 20:28
                 Distributed: Monday, November 27, 2006
                       Message Id: cdl-20-28-008
Received on Tuesday, 14 November, 2006

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