Outdoor Sculpture Conservation, Coatings Research and Refinishing:
Protective coatings for outdoor sculpture conservation are constantly being evaluated by our firm. For four days in a cold week of March 2013, polymer scientist Dante Battochi, D.Eng., PhD of Elinor Specialty Coatings, Fargo, ND, conducted field trials of the new protective coating BronzeShield with our staff and some monumental bronze here at the McKay Lodge Conservation Laboratory for outdoor sculpture conservation.
The unique urethane clear coating claiming long-term durability and easy reversibility (by application of a supplied liquid product) based on accelerated weathering and other tests, is now commercially available for outdoor sculpture conservation and new works. In development at this time are variable mat/gloss versions intended to suit differing surface aesthetic considerations.
This urethane clear coating has had over a decade of gradual development, coming to maturity at the illustrious North Dakota State University polymer research center, and eventually being licensed to Dr. Battochi who founded the company Elinor Specialty Coatings to see its further refinements and ramping up to commercial production.
Dr. Battochi’s field trails at the McKay Lodge facilities were intended to test various application methods, appearances of the product on differing corroded/patinated bronze surfaces on real outdoor weathered bronze, and fine-tune the chemistry and methodology of the removal methods.
A large outdoor sculpture equestrian bronze from Milwaukee we had for treatment was a perfect candidate for tests as part of the conservation work for that statue was to use it to trial differing cleaning and patination methods. Thus, at the time of Dr. Battochi’s visit, we were able to use this bronze to create a variety of surfaces on which to test BronzeShield.
In addition, this was an opportunity to compare our real-time outdoor weathered coupons (with partial immersion) bearing various clear coatings being tested for permeability, on clean, reactive steel, including samples of BronzeShield.
We continue to have a dialogue with Dr. Battochi on this product and continue to test and evaluate other protective coatings for outdoor sculpture conservation.