BRONZE SCULPTURE & HISTORIC ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES
WHICH PROTECTIVE COACTING IS MOST SUITABLE FOR MY BRONZE FEATURE?
Bronze Sculpture & Historic Architectural Features:
We usually recommend a wax coating for sculptural items. The wax acts as a barrier layer and slows the rate at which the surface will degrade. Sculpture that lives outdoors will need the wax coating replacing more often than those located internally. Wax is a traditional finish on sculpture giving a mellow, satiny finish appreciated by artists because it brings out the hues in the bronze to their maximum advantage. We use both micro-crystalline and beeswax blends to maintain sculpture depending on the specific environment and situation.
In some circumstances, sculpture may require a lacquer coating. In these cases, we often use Incralac which contains a corrosion inhibitor and is relatively easy to remove, if required. It is a more robust coating than wax but visually it is not as pleasing. It does scratch easily, if handled by the public, and is not a very suitable coating to apply in situ as the environment is so hard to control and this can result in a compromised finish.
New Architectural Bronze:
Clients always want the most robust protective coating to prevent maintenance costs. Lacquer seems like an obvious choice as it is so much stronger that wax. However, it really depends on where the feature will be located to determine what coating is appropriate. If the bronze is low level and likely to be touched, there are several disadvantages to lacquer. Unfortunately, it will scratch. Multiple scratches will look very unsightly and often happen quite soon after installation. Once damaged, removal of lacquer in situ is not a quick process and this must be done before the bronze layer is touched-up. The aesthetic is also more synthetic than a tradtional wax finish.
Waxes, however, are easily penetrated. Detergents can remove them, cola, urine and even polluted rainwater will penetrate the surface and the bronze may become damaged. The advantages are that the wax layer can be removed easily and the bronze touched-up and the wax can be re-applied without complication. The finish is also more pleasing to the discerning eye.