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RESTORATION OF AN AFRICAN MASK

african mask broken

This African Mask was carved out of one solid piece of wood.

Size: 195 x 68.5 x 5 cm 
Origin: Côte d’Ivoire
Material: Painted Wood

It had broken into three pieces.

What first seemed to be a simple task of just reassembling, turned out to become a little more complicated.

Breaking, especially on wooden boards, occurs along the grain lines – vertically.

Shrinking in wood occurs perpendicular to its grain lines – horizontally.
(ref.: “inner gapping of mitres on old picture frames”) 

After a breakage, energy in the wood is released. It deforms and therefore the broken pieces won’t align perfectly anymore. Careful adjustments without putting tension onto the wood have to be made whilst assembling. 

To strengthen the newly bonded areas, doweling and dove tail techniques were applied. The adhesive of choice was Balcotan 100 as it has tremendous gap filling properties.

african mask restored

The areas where losses were filled were retouched with watercolours.

The original matt and chalky texture of the object was preserved. 

 

 

 

The final result was most pleasing to both the Client and myself.