There are generally two categories of restoration/conservation problems that we are asked to address. In one scenario, an object has become damaged and we are fortunate in being the first conservators to deal with it. In the second case, some repair work has already been done.
When work has been done elsewhere, this almost always requires that the prior work be dismantled, as we cannot rely upon the existing repairs to be reliable and stable, even though the work may appear to be sound. We have no way of knowing what materials were used and cannot in good conscience work over a partially or badly completed repair.
Our only option is to remove all prior repairs, as we can not finish or continue work on a project that was begun elsewhere for reasons just explained.
Having to reverse prior work requires extra time, effort and expense, and we will no longer accept projects that have been glued or bonded together. We suggest that this fact be considered before entrusting any art object to a restorer who may not deliver results that will be satisfactory in the long term. Ultimately, this work will have to be done over if, indeed, it can be.
Unfortunately, much work has been and is currently being done that employs materials that do not 'measure up', and using techniques that cause unnecessary damage to the objects. Generally, this is because of emphasis placed on doing the work with a quick profit uppermost in the restorer's mind and little or no regard for the future of the object or its owner's best interests.
Much of this damage is permanent; it detracts forever from the historic integrity of the object, its financial and artistic value.
If you are in possession of a damaged article, please do not 'glue the pieces together to be sure they are all there'. Under no circumstances should you use silicon adhesive, as it is nearly irreversible. Presence of adhesive and repair materials greatly increases the level of difficulty involved, increases costs and can result in additional damage.
Please, if you are in control, make certain that any restoration/conservation work that you commission is done by a reliable firm experienced in the field involved.
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