Missing elements, or losses, can be visually detracting. More importantly, they can contribute to additional problems. Losses can threaten structural integrity, allow for damaging water ingress, or encourage theft of neighboring objects. Using historic photographs and models as visual guides, Conserve ART works closely with skilled stone carvers, such as Christoph Henning, and metal foundries to create missing items in stone and metal with comparable “like” materials to match the original. Similar stone for carved replacements, or “Dutchmen”, can often be obtained from historic quarries to match the original grain structure and color. Analysis can determine the exact alloy content of original metal casts to determine appropriate alloy content for casting matching replacement elements.
The use of dissimilar materials can have advantages. Replacement with composite patching and resin casts are desirable options for historic objects, particularly in a museum setting, that often allow for maximum retention of original material, differentiation of repairs from the original and increased retreatability. In the case of outdoor objects, particularly bronze sculpture, resin casts provide cost effective replacements that curb the repeated theft of attachments, such as swords and plaques, mindlessly taken for scrap metal.