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11-20-2022, 02:07 PM - 4 Likes   #1
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ismaelg's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
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Restoring an art piece


I don't work on other people's cameras or things. Yet I have this particular ability to get myself in trouble... Me and my big fat mouth
So this friend of mine likes to travel the world over. Whenever she can take vacations she is traveling to some far away country. A few months ago we spent some time going thru her camera for an upcoming trip to Morocco and the Sahara desert. She is not into photography but wanted to make the most out the camera. I ended up showing some of my restorations and she asked me for help: "I have an authentic metal art piece made and bought in Toledo Spain decades ago, and it got very rusty. Can you take a look and see if you can save it?"
The piece depicts Don Quijote, the most famous character in Spanish literature published in 1605 (we are forced to read it in high school). It is metal with 24K gold embossing!!! This is not just an art piece. This is something old, rare, unique and I suppose not cheap!

For documentation purposes I photographed it as I received it.
It is about 8 inches across. Very rusty and a "chalky" dark residue.

I have no idea what green gold is.

So, after a few days of working on it only a few minutes at a time here and there, this is how it turned out.

But sunshine really makes it pop!

As for the process, I started by carefully cleaning the rust with white vinegar been very careful not to touch the gold. Then the lightest touch with a wire wheel on the Dremel (a bit more aggressive on the back) followed by a vigorous wipe down with IPA. Metal polish paste was then used, followed by a vigorous clean with a toothbrush and Dr. Mech, a local cleaner similar to Mr. Clean. Every time I wiped it down with a damp cloth it went at least 20 minutes into the hot tropical sun. It got so hot I could not handle it. Multiple iterations of the process and at the end I applied a thin acrylic clear protective coat on top, and a light automotive glaze wax on the back.
I just shared these pics with the owner, an art collector who asked to remain anonymous. She was telling me the story of this piece, bought on site in Toledo Spain.
After seeing the pictures it seems she is very happy!
We will meet soon.


11-21-2022, 02:11 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Fantastic job as usual!

For those curious, the inscription on the bottom right reads "En un lugar de la Mancha" (Somewhere in La Mancha), which are the first few words of the novel.
11-21-2022, 04:59 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Green gold is an alloy of gold and silver, which is supposed to have a greenish tint.

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