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The care of bronze sculpture
Although sculpture cast and fabricated in bronze alloys may last for centuries, their delicate patinas as well as their surface finishes may be disturbed by foreign contaminants introduced from the bronze's immediate atmosphere. To avoid or slow this degenerating process, regular cleaning and rewaxing is necessary. Remember that all bronze darkens as it ages, but by waxing the surface of your sculpture, you may be able to slow this oxidation process for a time.
Tools needed for maintaining indoor bronze sculpture:
- 2 brushes (free of any dirt or oil)
- Wax (commercially available wax is recommended such as Trewax, Johnson or Renaissance)
- Buffing cloths (clean, dry, low lint cotton towels only)
1. Using a soft cloth gently wipe the surface free of any dust and fingerprints. 2. Clean deeper crevices or recessed areas with one of the brushes. 3. Open the can of wax and using the second brush, lay the bristles across the wax surface back and forth in a sweeping motion. Do not dab the brush into the can of wax as this will overload the brush. It is essential not to apply too much paste wax or become too vigorous in applying paste wax to the surface. Allow the wax to dry. 4. Using a clean, dry cotton cloth, begin gently rubbing the surface of the bronze until the desired shine appears. Work the cloth in a circular motion on large smooth areas of the surface. 5. Repeat steps 1-4 if necessary for a better protective coating.
For more comprehensive coverage of this important subject please refer to the book "The Care of Bronze Sculpture" by Patrick V. Kipper.
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