Update from Kayak Restoration Project

Alexandra Allardt of Art Care Resources , working under the supervision of NBWM Conservator Robert Hauser,  submits the following Kayak Project update.

“We are currently working on both river kayaks constructed of caribou. It has been coated in the past with a yellow ochre paint along the seams.  A second repair coating, a white paint with a heavy resin content was also used liberally to solidify patches and small torn areas. “…

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Flickr set of this Kayak Restoration Project

…”A later addition was a shellac based coating that appears to have been applied as a preservative.  This has discolored an orange brown color and attracted considerable dirt which is now well embedded into it. Fortunately, this disfiguring layer is more readily removed with an alcohol/water based cleaning agent. The skins are also brittle and weak, but not as sun damaged as the first kayak. Due to the thinness of the skins and the loss of elasaticity, the tears will be stabilized with simple backing supports of several laminated layers of a heavy weight Kozo, a long fiber Japanese paper made of mulberry fiber. We are not filling in the areas of loss to make them flush with the skins or undertaking a cosmetic repair to make them appear like a native repair, but are only stabilizing the damaged areas. The paper has two advantages.  One, it is a similar color, unlike a leather patch, and visually blends in to a better (not perfect) degree, and it has a similar tear strength to the embrittled skins, thus should the skins continue to shrink it is anticipated the paper will tear before the skins do, minimizing further damage to the skins.  We also found a 1962 World Fair sticker from Seattle inside.”

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