Conservation

Battleship Texas "Ship's Bell", circa 1913

The Bell had heavy oxidation, large sections missing along the bottom, with various dents, dings and scratches. Due to prior metal work done on and around the bell there was notable damage from high temperature steel slag all along the exterior with some spots having slag embedded in the surface. OnAim combatted the heavy ferrous oxide accumulation and staining in the smaller divots manually, followed by a mechanical polishing. Finally, OnAim applied a wax treatment on the exterior and interior of the Bell, then buffed to a shine.

Restoration

Donald Lipsky: "Unknown Title (from the Water Lilies series", circa 1990

Parts of this glass sculpture were broken in transit, leaking the interior fluid and damaging its contents. OnAim started by fabricating new Drainline pipe pieces to replace the broken parts. A close working relationship with the artist led to the remaking of the artist-specific solution to fill the interior of the sculpture and preserve the long stem red roses. Finally, OnAim let the sculpture sit at changing angles to ensure that there were no leaks and left room allowing for temperature expansion and contraction of liquid.

Restoration

Sandstone Sculpture: door lintel

This Cambodian sandstone lintel was broken in two sections in transport. OnAim found that there was a lot of detailed carving work on the lintel that had been covered and preserved by compacted sand over the years. OnAim used this opportunity to do some more detailed cleaning and uncover the more intricate carving work. Using distilled water, dental tools,  soft bristled toothbrushes, and a vacuum cleaner the door lintel was scraped, scrubbed and cleaned until all foreign matter was removed.

After installing a wire framework, we were able to build up structural fill to start laying down the less hard more pliable material consisting of plaster of paris mixed with an acrylic bonding solution. Bit by bit we were able to fill and sculpt until there was an almost seamless transition from old to new.

To faux the color of the repaired section to match the rest of the sculpture, a selection of acrylic paints was used mixed with a pastel ground medium. A darker base color was used for the ground, followed by thin layers of various color mixtures sponged on to recreate the natural variations of the surrounding sandstone relief.

A new steel frame was constructed to securely hold the piece upright without straining any parts of the actual sculpture.

Restoration

Sandstone Sculpture: "Meditating Buddha being shielded by Naga"

This Cambodian sandstone sculpture was broken in transport. The broken sections were first cleaned then dry fitted together to visually note discrepancies along the fracture line.  Using specialized syringes, sandstone colored non-sanded grout was injected  along fracture lines and a colored acrylic medium was applied to faux a patina in order to better hide evidence of breakage. All epoxy adhesive previously used on the piece was left as is so as not to risk further damage by trying to remove it. OnAim constructed a new base to ensure the sculpture securely stood in an upright position at its final destination.

Conservation

Various Art Deco Lamps & Chandeliers at Houston City Hall

What was thought to be a patina original to the design was a combination of slight oxidation, tarnish, and a heavy hardened tar residue that was caused by previous policy of allowing smoking indoors. A combination of inherent moisture in the air and tar residue has caused dust particles to adhere to all horizontal metal surfaces.  

Focusing on one fixture at a time, all glass components were removed, cleaned and buffed, then set aside.  With glass safely set aside OnAim utilized a small shop vac, 2” chip brush, and a soft bristle toothbrush to carefully remove all dust and dirt particles. The structure was then cleaned and polished using metal polish, steel wool, and cloth rags.

 

Conservation

“Once Every Thing Was Much Better, Even The Future” by Nir Hod

This motorized snow globe sculpture was having mechanical issues when turned on. There was evidence of fluid leaking from the globe. Upon closer inspection after draining all liquid, OnAim determined that all hoses and pumps/motors would have to be replaced, partly due to normal wear and tear.

Using the original manual from the fabrication of the snowglobe, OnAim was able to source and replace the damaged parts as well as follow the electrical and mechanical schematic to reconnect everything back in its place. All of the electrical components were working properly and kept original. No changes were made to the original design.

Once the mechanics were sealed and deemed leak-proof, fluid was poured back into the globe. The outside of the sphere was cleaned with acrylic plastic cleaner and subsequently polished with a two part polishing system.

Conservation

"Red Figure" by Tony Cragg

This bronze sculpture suffered some large indentions and deep scratches during transport. After cleaning the sculpture, the sculpture was wiped down with mineral spirits to remove old wax. The damaged areas were lightly sanded and filled with bronze filler.

When OnAim removed the wax coat, it became clear that the wax layer was tinted black and that there wasn't a lacquer layer. Once repairs were done, comparable black tinted wax was applied to warm surface then burnished and buffed during the cooling process.

Conservation

"Leda and the Swan" by Reuben Nakian

This small tabletop bronze suffered a penetrating fracture that caused a small piece of the extended foot to break off. OnAim did not recommend using brazing or tig welding methods as this would cause the need for a complete stripping and refinishing of the patina and finish. Instead, two small holes were drilled and a small brass rod was installed to create a mechanical lock between the sections. A two-part epoxy was used to join the two together.

Conservation

"John Connally" by Sharon Connally Amman

‘John Connally' is a bronze monument on a granite base. Everything was cleaned with a power washer as well as all crevices detailed using a soft bristle brush. Remnants of old wax were removed. The sculpture was then burnished and a new coat of wax was applied and buffed to a light shine.

Preventive Conservation

"Kneeling Figure" by Donald Baechler

‘Kneeling Figure’ is a 5 foot tall bronze sculpture and fountain. Oxidation was occurring along the bottom front that is to be expected with fountain sculptures.

Entirety of sculpture was cleaned using a basic mild detergent.  The piece was then “flashed” with a propane torch, better allowing the metal to receive wax. 

Conservation

"Call Ernie" by Jim Love

“Call Ernie” is located at Houston's Hobby Airport. Any spots showing rust or a bubbling of the paint were addressed by cleaning, sanding and then primed and painted. The entirety of the sculpture and base was hand washed using an AWLGrip AWLwash cleaning solution.

Entirety of the sculpture was buffed using an optical grade cutting polish followed by two coats of a rub on polymer treatment (AWLGrip AWLCare) that is recommended by the paint manufacturer AwlGrip. 

Conservation

"Light Wings" by Ed Carpenter

“Light Wings” is located in a pedestrian connector at Terminal A at the Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. It is made of laminated dichroic glass and cellular polycarbonate panels suspended by stainless steel cables attached to stainless steel pipe. The piece spans 78’ feet long, 40’ feet wide, and 15’ feet deep.

The installation was cleaned on site with a scissor-lift, provided and operated by airport staff. OnAim used a variety of magnetic and microfiber dusters attached to extension poles to remove dust from dichroic glass components, stainless steel cables, turnbuckles, and tensioning nuts. Using a mild detergent solution, OnAim spot cleaned all parts of the lower level glass and removed all bird droppings that could be safely reached. Hardware tension was inspected and tightened as needed to ensure the safety of the piece.

Sculpture Restoration

Bob Fowler

This 10 x 8 x 22 foot steel sculpture (corten and stainless steel) was in bad condition. Various areas of the sculpture had been rusted through, with large rust sections visible. Rain had washed rust from the corten onto the stainless panels, creating a discoloration. The underlying structure was damaged in part and needed sections replaced. This piece needed a full exterior rebuild.

OnAim set up scaffolding on the median and started cutting away panels to get a closer look at the underlying structure. As panels were removed, damaged structural pieces were fixed, and a template system was created to cut the new panels to skin the outside.

Except for the top spire, all stainless panels were replaced and installed with an eighth-inch reveal so that water can run off behind the panel and not stain it.

Sculpture Restoration

Horace Farlowe

This 10x10x10 foot steel sculpture was in bad condition. Various areas of the sculpture had been rusted through, with large rust sections visible. It needed a partial rebuild.

OnAim cut the sculpture into three pieces and transported it off site. All paint was stripped off, all damaged surfaces replaced, and then primed.

The piece was reassembled on site using a crane. Once stable and welded back in place, it was painted back to the original color.

Sculpture Restoration

Jonathan Thomas

The totem pieces by Jonathan Thomas had been installed on a ledge inside a swimming pool. The chemicals had broken down the black paint on the steel poles that hold the pieces, slowly causing the steel to rust and breaking down at the base.

OnAim replaced the poles with stainless steel poles that can withstand the chemicals inside the pool. The rust stains on the concrete bases were removed. The actual pieces were carefully cleaned of all debris, restoring the pieces to their original vibrancy.

Stained Glass 

'Lady of Transformation'

ONAIM cleaned and installed a seamless LED light panel behind this stained glass and steel piece by Mik Miano.

Glass Restoration

Rob Wynne "Feel It"

The mirrored backing for each glass piece was stripped and recoated. To prevent future moisture build-up that led to the deterioration of the backing, the piece was reinstalled with a thin gasket material at points of contact.

Sculpture Conservation

Frank McGuire: "Axis"

Restoration and preventative conservation of artist Frank McGuire's sculpture "Axis" located in Houston, TX. The sculpture received a complete sanding, washing, and repainting.

Sculpture Conservation

Rolf Westphal: "West of the Pecos"

Restoration and preventative conservation of artist Rolf Westphal's sculpture "West of the Pecos" located at the Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, TX. The sculpture received a complete sanding, washing, and repainting.

Preventative Conservation

John Clement: "Firefly"

Conservation of artist John Clement's sculpture "Firefly" located in The Woodlands, TX.

Mosaic Restoration

Dixie Friend Gay

Restoration of artist Dixie Friend Gay's mosaic murals located under the Waterway Avenue Bridge in The Woodlands, TX.