So we’ve had a rather long period of radio silence here on the blog. We’re going to try to prevent that in the future! There have been some changes in the lab. Dave, after over a decade with the Monitor, has gone off to chase a new dream with the Naval History and Heritage Command. We wish him all the best, but he is greatly missed here. We’ve added some new faces, too. Lesley joined us a new assistant conservator in December; she’s a recent graduate out of the University of Cardiff conservation program. Some of our long-time readers will remember Elsa. I am happy to say that she rejoined the team at the beginning of January. We’re thrilled to have her back.
Elsa and I have been getting to spend some time with an old friend of hers. Yes, we are once again working away at the wooden gun carriage sides. We’ve talked about these before – a couple of times. We’ve been doing mechanical cleaning of the sides and edges in preparation for chemical cleaning, which will remove most of the iron staining.
For the chemical cleaning, we’ve been testing solutions for iron stain reduction. We prepared five different solutions and tried them out on little pieces of sample wood. This has helped us narrow down our options for treating the gun carriage sides. We want to make sure we are using the correct solution and the right amount (good for the object and for our budget). Conservation is less about following one particular method and more about choosing the best treatment option for a given artifact.
We’ll try to update again soon with ongoing projects. Hope everyone is doing well out there!