Heritage brought a bronze outdoor fountain to our studio for a restoration project. Our staff used chemical compounds to clean the fountain’s surface and make it presentable once again.
When bronze comes into contact with water for an extended period of time, it will cause wear on the surface. A layer of discoloration called a patina will eventually form. This blue-green tint is an oxidation that is caused by the surface bronze giving up electrons to the running water. Heritage Restoration was asked to restore the fountain by removing the patina and exposing the metal underneath.
To begin, our artisans select a single leaf on the fountain’s bowl to serve as a test area. A set of chemical compounds are tested here to assess which would best remove the oxidation. We discover that a multi-step process will be required. Light solvents and heavy compounds will be applied in layers to remove each level of the patina. With the tests complete, this method is used to clean the entire rim of the fountain’s bowl. The concave nature of the rim’s leaves necessitated fine detailing with brushes in order to get into their small crevasses.
The fountain’s ornate back plate is the area worst effected by decay. Splashing water lapping up and down has built up layers of rot in the dozens of small recesses that cover the decorative plants and vines. To clean these effectively requires multiple applications of solvents and compounds. Each application is then followed by a period of brushing to get rid of the oxidation. After a lot of elbow grease, the patina was removed from the back plate and lion’s mouth. At last only the base of the fountain remains to be cleaned. This area is the least discolored and easiest to restore. Only two layers of solvents and some firm brushing are needed to get rid of its patina.
A layer of a wax-like compound is applied over the whole fountain. This will provide temporary protection from further water damage. As a final step in the restoration process, Heritage takes the fountain back to our client and reinstalls it. The renewed bronze is once again visible for all to see and enjoy.
View Our Work - Lion Head Fountain