Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back to Taking off the Surface Coating

If you've been following the story of our Bounty cannon conservation project, you'll know that last week we had great success removing the surface coatings. The coatings were applied by the Western Australian Maritime Museum in the 1980s when the cannon received treatment in WA. The coatings are Kephos primer, F & T Imerite 390 and polyurethane which our Conservation Officer Janelle Blucher, removed with Kwik Strip.

Late last week Janelle and Sue Brian (our wonder volunteer) began the process of removing surface corrosion and applying rusticide. This involved several days of working with a magnifying glass, wire brush and scalpel, slowly working their way away across the entire surface. The good news at that point was that the level of corrosion was less than anticipated, and with advice from Karina Acton from International Conservation Services, there would be no need to immerse the cannon in a solution tank.

However our good progress was interrupted early this morning. With a strong light, Janelle could see that there were still microscopic spots of the surface coating still intact. This means that we will have to go back to the  process of applying Kwik Strip then brushing and washing it off and carefully picking away at every inch of the surface. This is extremely detailed work and will require many hours of work. But it is necessary to make sure that all the old coatings have been removed before new ones are applied. This really just re-inforces for us the point that conservation work is usually detailed, hardly ever straight forward and a process of determining an action, gently seeing how it goes and moving on one step at a time from there. 

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