Repairing smashed ceramics

by Jun 21, 2022Restoration

Fixing a broken china lamp

This lamp came into Gadsby’s in 24 pieces of varying sizes. The client was sure (or at least hopeful) that they had all of the pieces but until the rebuilding process is complete you never know for sure.

The first stage of the repair was to rebuild the lamp. This process is just like doing a jigsaw – putting the broken pieces together.

After the lamp has been re-built filler is added. The filler is needed because ceramics rarely break cleanly, material is almost always lost leaving small gaps and rough edges where the pieces fit together. Once the filler is set/dried then the pattern has to be painted back on to minimise the visibility of the repairs.

Limitations of ceramic repairs

Perfection is rarely achievable. Close inspection will usually reveal that the item has been repaired. Most clients realise that before talking to us and accept the breakage and repair as part of the history of their treasured artefact. Also, although not relevant in the case of a lamp, ceramic/china items are not suitable for use after restoration for eating or drinking.

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