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Subject: Durham Putty

Durham Putty

From: Christopher White <chrisewhite<-a>
Date: Monday, October 13, 2008
Len Hambleton <hamblesl [at] gmail__com> writes

>Would anyone share their method or experience in possibly dissolving
>Durham Putty? Someone in their brilliance or lack of, has used it in
>the consolidation of a tall clock case. The splintered area around
>the hood's hinges of the round door was "repaired " using this
>material. Physical excavation is unthinkable!

The Arizona State Museum has had lots of experience with Durham's
"Rock Hard" putty used on the ceramic collections.  This was a
popular and cheap plaster alternative during the University field
schools in the 1950-70's.  If I remember, it's essentially gypsum
plaster.  Unfortunately, it's a one-way reaction; no magic solvents.
However, deionized/distilled water does a pretty good job at
softening the plaster if given enough time.  A poultice (Laponite
RD, methylcellulose, or a carbopol gel) might work but it would be
pretty slow.  As a disclaimer, I'm not sure I'd advocate that
strategy although it works well for ceramics.  Water is going to
partially dissolve the Durham's and will probably wick into the wood
pores to deposit all sorts of salts.  You could end up with an ugly
white halo for your trouble.

Chris White
Northwest Art Conservation, LLC.

                  Conservation DistList Instance 22:23
                Distributed: Saturday, October 18, 2008
                       Message Id: cdl-22-23-003
Received on Monday, 13 October, 2008

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