Porcelain and China Repair

We have had many questions about whether our ceramic repairs are visible under ultraviolet light. A number of years ago some repair materials fluoresced, which they no longer generally do, so our repairs should not be visible in ultraviolet light. All ceramic repairs can be detected with a straight pin or a needle. There is no need to drag the pin, as that would damage the repair. One need only push the point gently to feel if it dents the surface in question. On any ceramic, the point will not go in at all if it encounters original material. If the area has been repaired, the pin will push in slightly. We have tracked down numerous reports on fused or re-fired ceramic repairs over the past 20 years, and have never seen a repair that actually re-fused or melted a ceramic or glass object. Every supposedly "fired" repair has turned out to be based, like our repairs, on some form of polymer technology.


Restoration of Chinese Porcelain Bowl

Porcelain Bowl Repair Porcelain Bowl Repair
  BEFORE
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  AFTER
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  This porcelain bowl was similar to many late eighteenth-century Chinese export bowls, but unique in that it belonged to John Adams, the 2nd President of the United States. It came to us from The Adams House Museum in Quincy, Massachusetts. The method that we use for seamlessly reconstructing such a piece depends on the capillary action of our adhesive. What this means is that we carefully put the whole piece together with no glue—just scotch tape—and then apply an epoxy, drop by drop, on each and every crack. Capillary action sucks the drops into the cracks, and when the epoxy sets, the bowl rings like a bell. This method also makes extremely close joints that fit almost perfectly. There is, however, a question about the reversibility of epoxy because it requires dangerously strong solvents to take apart. We therefore pre-coated all the breaks with a very thin coat of B-72, our conservational acrylic, before we put the pieces together. Studies have shown that B-72 is quite strong in its own right and show the bowl is strong, with very inconspicuous breaks, and it can be taken apart by applying much milder solvents (like xylene or acetone).  

Ceramic Vase Repair

Broken Ceramic Vase Repair Ceramic Vase Repair
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  AFTER
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  This unusual Fitzhugh-style water ewer is entirely underglaze blue with gold decoration. It was recently attributed to Paul Revere himself and is now on display at The Paul Revere House in Boston, Massachusetts.  

Restoration of Sèvres Porcelain Plate

Broken Porcelain Plate Porcelain Plate Repair
  BEFORE   AFTER  
  This is one of 36 antique porcelain plates in a Sèvres set of scenic views of France. It dates to about 1830 and has a view of the Port D'Austerlitz in Paris. Invisible repair, in this case, means meticulous attention to the hand-painted scene. We needed to airbrush the line as it went through the clouds and the green border, and all over the back as well, matching the colors so well that a quarter inch band of it can not be detected with the naked eye. We re-gilded the border decoration where necessary, then coated the repaired area only, not the whole plate, with optical epoxy and blended in the gloss to make the repair truly invisible.  
 

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