Sunday, August 22, 2010

Conservation Work Begins

What a fantastic two weeks we had with Phillip Smith from the Museum of Tropical Queensland, over here to make a replica of our Bounty cannon before conservation work begins today. Phillip, his wife Claudia and son Lennox left us on Saturday returning home to Townsville. We were so lucky to have had Phillip over to do this work, not only is he an expert in this area but he fitted in to the Norfolk way so easily. We really look forward to a lasting relationship with Phillip and the Museum of Tropical Queensland.
The final product - a perfect replica of the Bounty cannon

So the replica is now on display in the Pitcairn Norfolk Gallery at the Pier Store Museum. Lee Irvine finished off the painting - and except for the label, visitors would not know the difference! The story now moves to the conservation work to be carried out. Janelle Blucher leads this for us with specialist advice available by phone from Karina Acton from International Conservation Services.

Janelle will begin her work by taking off the surface coatings which were applied in the 1980s by the Western Australian Museum. The cannon went to WA along with items from HMS Sirius, including anchors and carronades, which had been recovered during official expeditions on the Sirius's wreck site. During this treatment the cannon was immersed in a treatment tank then wire brushed, chipped to remove scale and given Dimet Rust Treatment. The surface coating that Janelle is now removing is Kephos primer and F & T Imperite 390 and a layer of polyurethane. During Karina Acton's last visit in March this year, she took a sample of the coating away with her to test for the best removal method. The results of her testing determined that applying Kwik Strip in small sections and washing off to be the best option.

Inspecting the barrel
Barrel corrosion
 We estimate that it will most likely take the best part of a week to remove the coatings. Janelle is being helped with this task by volunteer Sue Brian. Sue and Janelle donned their protective masks and got stuck into the job first thing this morning. We will  keep you posted on their progress.

Janelle and Sue ready for action
Applying Kwik Strip

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