Alabaster Figure Repair
This antique alabaster statue of a little girl came to us in three pieces recently damaged from a cross country move. A earlier repair was done as the result of earthquake. The owner’s father made the first repairs fixing the base and reattaching the head. These repairs while visible were still intact. Understanding that these repairs showed the hand of her father we agreed not to attempt any further work on them.
The process to repair the new break was fairly straight forward. Holes are drilled to allow for pins to be epoxied into place. The pins are fitted and shaped so the two pieces can be reassembled in their original position (see the first photo). Once the epoxy sets any epoxy that keeps the two pieces from fitting exactly is removed.
The next step is to just about fill the receiving holes with epoxy, set the two pieces together exactly and support them until the epoxy sets (see the second photo).
Once the pieces are successfully attached and bonded cracks and chips are filled. Since this piece was alabaster our clear epoxy was mixed with white powdered stone to make a white epoxy paste. The paste is then worked into any voids, open cracks, or missing pieces. After the paste cures small hand grinders, files, and sandpaper is used to re-sculpt the piece (see the third photo).
To blend the new looking repairs and the natural antique patina the piece has to be sanded until and even finish is achieved. We are not trying to remove the patina, just help the new blend with the old. Once a desirable finish is achieved a light coat of wax and buffing completes the process (see the fourth photo).
As with any stone repair it is noticeable to the critical eye since light reflects differently with different materials. By using pins we are assured the pieces will remain together as they help make a mechanical bond similar to how puzzle pieces lock together. The end result is a delightful antique sculpture able to be enjoyed by the next generation of family.