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Subject: Furniture damaged by fire

Furniture damaged by fire

From: Paul Storch <blitzpost<-at->
Date: Thursday, October 22, 2009
Melissa Carr <hiattcarr [at] earthlink__net> writes

>I am preparing to treat a carved and turned arm chair that was badly
>damaged in a fire.  In addition to the effects of water, heat and
>soot on the finish remnants there is evidence of combustion and
>charring of the wood.  The curators intend to display it "as-is" but
>want to ensure that the surface is reasonably stable and will not
>shed friable material in the future. ...

I've had experience in treating charred and checked long-arms
stocks. In those cases, the decision was made to restore the surface
of the wood back to the original level.  Abatron Liquid Wood Epoxy
was used to consolidate the charred areas and strengthen them,
followed by reconstruction with Abatron WoodEpox Wood Restorer
putty.  That was shaped and colored to blend with the extant wood.

It sounds like you need to do surface consolidation for a
stabilization-level treatment.  Did the charring compromise the
structural integrity of the chair to support its own weight?  It
doesn't sound like it from your inquiry, but if so, then more than
surface stabilization might be called for.  If not, then
consolidation with Butvar B-98 has been used successfully for
stabilizing checked wood.  It does have a tendency to yellow, so
B-72 could be used as an alternative, perhaps with a small amount of
fumed silica added to adjust reduce the surface gloss.

Paul Storch
Objects Conservator
Museum Science Consultants
St. Paul, MN

                  Conservation DistList Instance 23:15
                 Distributed: Friday, October 30, 2009
                       Message Id: cdl-23-15-002
Received on Thursday, 22 October, 2009

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