Repairing a statue can be a daunting task, especially if it is made out of materials that are not so easy to fix, such as metal and stone. Fortunately, with a little work and the right kind of glue, it is possible to repair a broken spelter and marble statue so that it will become a piece that can be enjoyed once again. While glue may not seem ideal for repair, it is in fact the preferred method of professional restorers, as the process can be reversed.
Find out a little about your statue. Most statues made with spelter are not valuable, as spelter is a softer, less expensive alternative to bronze, but some spelter statues are valuable. If you have a valuable statue, you can hurt the value by doing repairs yourself, and you should find a professional restorer. If the statue is valuable to you, even if not to collectors, then you can attempt repairs yourself.
Clean the area that is to be repaired thoroughly -- the cleaner, the better. You can use acetone or vinegar for this, but the method does not matter so long as the statue is clean and dry with no residue before you begin gluing.
Mix your epoxy according to the instructions. Note that other glues can be used effectively, but epoxy is a good choice, especially since it can be used to repair a crack in the marble, as well. Use a paper cup and a craft stick to mix your epoxy to keep the mess contained; make sure that the epoxy is uniform in colour once you have mixed it to ensure a thorough mixture.
Put some epoxy on a piece that you want to repair. You need enough to create a good bond, but don't use too much. Epoxy can bond marble to marble, spelter to spelter, or spelter to marble, so this glue can repair any break in the statue. You can use a craft stick, brush, or even your fingers to put the epoxy on the desired piece, although if you want to use your fingers, it is best to wear a glove. Press together firmly the two pieces that you want to glue.
Mix some marble dust into the epoxy and stir thoroughly if you are trying to repair a crack in marble. Spread the mixture into the crack. It is possible to buy a kit for marble repair that contains epoxy and marble dust.
Scrape off excess epoxy with a razor, and let the epoxy set for at least 24 hours.
Sand with 120 grade sandpaper, taking care to sand only the epoxy and not your statue. Sand with 320 grade sandpaper, and finish with 1000 grade sandpaper.
Working with epoxy requires you to be quick, so be sure that you know where all of the parts of your statue go before mixing. It is possible to repair spelter by welding, but the method is more complex.
Always work in a well-ventilated area when using epoxy. Epoxy is very difficult to remove, so cover your workspace with newspaper or a dropcloth.
Tips and warnings
- Working with epoxy requires you to be quick, so be sure that you know where all of the parts of your statue go before mixing.
- It is possible to repair spelter by welding, but the method is more complex.
- Always work in a well-ventilated area when using epoxy.
- Epoxy is very difficult to remove, so cover your workspace with newspaper or a dropcloth.