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Subject: Adhesive and filler for alabaster

Adhesive and filler for alabaster

From: Linda Roundhill <artsconservation>
Date: Monday, April 16, 2007
Robert K. MacDowell <macdowell_r [at] mediasoft__net> writes

>We have just received for possible conservation a few lamp parts
>made of alabaster and would very much appreciate hearing from anyone
>who has had experience in bonding and filling missing chips and
>other pieces with regards to the adhesives they would choose and the
>filler material.
>I'm concerned about the hardness of all of the repair materials we
>have in relation to the very soft nature of alabaster and the
>problems that will likely arise in trying to shape any fills without
>damaging the surrounding, soft, alabaster.

Yes, alabaster is soft and often somewhat translucent like marble,
so you were correct in thinking that the normal methods might be
inadvisable.  In addition, alabaster can be damaged by contact with
water, especially distilled.  I would dust the edges well of debris,
consolidate them with 5% Acryloid B-72 and mend with the same resin
in adhesive strength, banding gently and allowing to set for at
least a week.

Fills can be made of B-72 bulked heavily with glass microspheres, as
long as you are not trying to reconstruct whole sections or parts.
Pigments can be added to this to match translucency and tint.

I have no other suggestions at the moment.  Plaster fills will
probably be too opaque to blend well.  Removable fills or
reconstructions can be made from epoxies, though they have more of a
tendency to yellow.

Without knowing more about your fragments I cannot be more helpful.

Linda Roundhill
Art and Antiquities Conservation, LLC
Woodinville WA 98072

                  Conservation DistList Instance 21:1
                 Distributed: Saturday, April 28, 2007
                        Message Id: cdl-21-1-005
Received on Monday, 16 April, 2007

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