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Putting the Cherry back in Chariot

At Progressive Bronze, we have a lot of capabilities, and a lot of experience dealing with unique jobs. That is why we don’t like to say no to jobs, even though some can be toughies.

A customer recently brought in one of those toughies – a statue of a chariot in pieces. Talk about your busted rides….

The horse team had become detached from the chariot, one of the horse’s legs was broken, the rider had come off the chariot, and her arm was off as well. So put it all back together, right?

Here’s the catch. The statue was white metal with an artificial patina. We’ve gone over white metal, aka pot metal before, but here’s a quick refresher: it’s melting point is too low to weld, and it doesn’t machine well.

So welding was completely out in this case, lest we melt the pieces we’re trying to reattach. On top of that we want to avoid discoloring the patina as much as we can, since it’s not easy to replace. That leaves us two options: screws and epoxy.

When attaching the team and rider to the chariot, we went the screw route. Screws give the larger elements a strong mechanical attachment, and of course are removable if need be. Luckily the bottom of the chariot was hollow, so we could conceal the heads. We still had to be careful, as there was some drilling through tiny feet and ankles happening.

The rider’s arm and horse’s leg could’t be screwed, unfortunately, because the breaks were pretty jagged, and there was no easy way to conceal the screw heads. For those, we chose epoxy. Epoxies are industrial-strength adhesives, and while they aren’t as strong as mechanical connections, our fix should last for a long, long time. After it dried we applied a little color to the epoxy to match the rest of the piece as well as possible.

Finally, we cleaned it up a bit, replaced the reign chain (that is a great and completely unintentional rhyme, btw), and it was ready to go!

Here is the chariot after repairs:

Apologies on the after photo. I have no idea why I shot it from that angle only.

If you would like to complain about the photography, or have anything else to say, please leave your comment below, or as always, send us an email.

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