Before I start showing you the restoration process, first let’s take a moment to
marvel at this extraordinary ball. I rarely post full-size images, but the texture
on this damaged ball is so beautiful, and the construction so extraordinary,
that the one above is full size. (Double click to get the full effect.)
The ball was made with pieces of wood which were pieced together
(probably with hide glue) then rounded into the ball shape.
Square head nails were used, and then there is the interesting rectangular fastener, above.
I am not a woodworker, and so I am not good at telling you more than this.
(Woodworkers may weigh in as they like!)
Our process for this project is to repair the damage done by the stripper,
then to paint the ball using the same type of paints, bringing it to its glory days.
The repainting is restoration, since the ball was stripped, rather than conservation.
This ball will not be used again, however, but sit on our client’s desk.
As we said in the first installment, the ball was stripped inappropriately.
This led to layers upon layers of lifted desiccated older wood.
Older wood cannot handle the harsh chemical strippers,
which tend to separate the molecules and make them far more brittle.
These layers had to be secured.
One way was to meticulously glue each layer down using hide glue,
which is impractical, given the hundreds of lifted pieces.
We used a museum-approved consolidate, which both filled under the layers,
and also was able to fill huge chunks which fell out during the stripping process.
The consolidate was pulled under the layers, above, and acted as both a glue and fill.
After curing, ridges were smoothed first using chisels, then the ball was sanded to
take the excess consolidate down to the surface. You can once again see the ridges
of the wood and the fasteners, both of which my clients wanted to see.
He was not interested in a new, smooth ball.