The carrying out of the practical work is often only one part of the process of conserving and restoring heritage metalwork. Bookending the practical work will generally be some combination of a condition survey of the metalwork in question, analysis, research, specification writing, budget formulation, funding applications, post-treatment reports and on-going maintenance recommendations.
It is for this reason that amongst the services we provide we include:
- Advice – The advice we are able to provide may be practical or technical solutions to problems with specific objects, general advice on our experience with conservation and restoration processes or likely outcomes where a range of approaches may be being considered for projects.
- Condition Surveys – There is no substitute for a detailed survey of heritage metalwork by an experienced specialist. They will be able to use the opportunity of surveying the relevant object to gather information about construction, condition and significance, along with any vulnerabilities to further deterioration. Following a survey well-grounded specifications, time estimates and budgets can then be formulated based on the information derived from the survey. A good survey enables smooth workflow, adherence to set budgets and compliance with timetables by allowing the identification of potential issues at early stages of projects.
- Analysis/Investigation – Depending on the condition of metalwork and nature of the project, further analytical work may be required either as part of or after the carrying out of the initial condition survey. This type of investigatory work may be required to identify the alloy(s) used in pieces, historic paint schemes/surface coatings or corrosion products present – all of which information can then be used to inform conservation/restoration proposals. We work with specialist providers of various analytical services (particularly paint analysis and XRF) and can arrange for these to be incorporated into any projects we are working on as appropriate.
- Research – Research may be required for projects for a variety of reasons. Sometimes there may be elements missing with no remnants that are sufficient to allow reconstruction. In this case, consultation with archives may be required to identify whether there any records from earlier dates exist which may provide sufficient information. Alternatively, where the maker of a piece is known then reconstruction may be possible based on what is known or can be ascertained about their style and regularly incorporated techniques/motifs.
- Specifications – Specification writing for the conservation of heritage metalwork is a specialist skill, and is an area in which we can provide significant practical input. We have many years of involvement with conservation of heritage metalwork, and have found that on some occasions specifications have been written by those with limited understanding of this particular area. We are therefore happy to advise on projects from an early stage in order to help scope a realistic and well-grounded specification. This time investment always pays off later in a project, as expectations will have been set realistically based on previous experience with a wide range of comparable projects.
- Reports – Well written reports are an essential part of the conservation process, and we therefore provide these as standard on all conservation and restoration projects with which we are involved. They provide a necessary record of not only all decisions over where and how to intervene, but also materials used, techniques employed and the specific positions of any interventive work undertaken. As part of our reports we also include a detailed set of maintenance recommendations relevant to that object and its particular location, as without maintenance even the best coating system will eventually fail.