Unique Approaches to Stone Conservation

Outside the Canon: A Review of Unique Approaches to Stone Conservation

12th International Congress on the Deterioration and Conservation of Stone
Columbia University, New York, NY

Authors: Justine Posluszny Bello, Daniel Lane, Mark Rabinowitz, Joseph Sembrat

For the best of reasons, conservators tend to rely on tried and true means and methods when treating stone at the expense of innovation. Failures with previous inventive materials and applications have made us cautious about trying new approaches. As a result, most practitioners rely on a relatively narrow range of proven treatments.

The authors present examples of new and not-so-new treatments they have performed using materials, means and methods that are outside of the generally accepted canon of cleaning, biocidal treatments, structural repairs, surface treatments, and material replications for outdoor stone monuments and sculptures. Some treatments have been developed recently while others have been in service for decades yet remain obscure. These include the use of bacteriostatic detergents and polymeric gel cleaners for biocidal treatments, alternative lasers and ultrasonics for cleaning, re-purposed traditional scagliola and mosaic techniques, grouted anchors, and several structural reinforcing and strongback designs.

The authors describe their techniques, review advantages and disadvantages, provide guidelines on how and where they may be applicable, and assess their long-term effectiveness if known. As these treatments are relatively obscure, relevant publications are limited but available references are sited.