Here is a perfect example of the first stages of the
surface of the bronze starting to deteriorate. The original protective
wax coating has worn
away and allowed moisture and air to penetrate
down to the bronze, initiating the corrosion of the surface.
Since this was caught when the first signs of oxidation
was starting to appear. A light conservation service with minimal
intrusion on the bronze was required We start by taking photos of
the entire monument and document surface condition before any work
The monument is then washed with a mild detergent
to remove all pollutions and dirt. When rain comes in contact with
the sulfur from automobiles and other pollutants that have settled
on a monument it produces an acid that if not removed is destructive
to the finish.
After the first wash to remove the dirt, a second
wash is then performed to remove the remaining old protective wax.
The corrosion is then removed using a micro blaster with walnut
dust / flour. This process allows us to remove miniscule surface
corrosion without any detriment to the monument. The surface is
one more time with alcohol to remove any contamination
from the surface. We then apply a conservation wax to the surface
of the bronze.
This wax contains an oxidation inhibitor that will help retard the
corrosion process. Made by Ron Young of Sculpt
Nouveau; we don’t believe there is a better wax for sculptures
then this one. They come pigmented allowing us to still produce
the artist perception without chemically changing the original composition
of the surface.
After the first coat is applied and has dried for
twenty-four hours a second coat is applied and then hand buffed.
Arlington Cemetery’s approach to conserving
our Nations historical monuments and sculptures will insure that
future generation will be
able to appreciate them and the soldier
and heroes that they honor.