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Lucy Branch

The conservation of metals begins with the process of assessing the condition, stability, and losses or alteration that may have occurred to metal objects. Conservators are then in a position to manage risk and take preventative measures to protect the longevity of the material as well as consider a variety of treatments to repair any damage.

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Each metal has particular conservation issues related to the metal species or alloy used, how the object was made (cast, beaten, formed, rolled, machined, or extruded), whether or not a decorative finish was applied, and the nature of the environment to which the object was exposed. Condition issues can be identified as being either structural or surface related.

Structural instability can be the result of manufacturing flaws or physical damage. How the object was made can in turn dictate how an object should be treated. For example, a dent in a cast bronze sculpture should not be hammered out due to the crystalline structure of cast metal; the most likely outcome would be the formation of a crack (...