Broken statue--heartbroken--advice?

ginny12January 16, 2010

I have a statue in my garden that someone lifted by the head which then broke off. It is a clean break. I have had this statue for many years and it has huge sentimental value for me. I am heartbroken.

I called Trefler & Sons in Newton which does artwork repairs but they said they could not guarantee the fix if the object were outdoors, which it has always been and where it needs to be.

It's about 24" tall and the head is bent slightly forward so a steel rod will need to be inserted. It has to stand up to all New England weather, as it always has.

Parks and cemeteries have things repaired for outdoor use so it must be possible. Does anyone of you have any suggestions within an hour or so of Boston, even more for north and west of Boston?

My heart really is broken over this. It looks just like my son when he was a little boy and that's when and why I bought the statue. He did so much to help us make our garden even as a little tyke. I need this statue back in my garden. Thank you.

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corunum z6 CT(6)

Hi Ginny,

Only assuming that the statue is made of concrete because you mention 'rod'. Marble is another story. If it is concrete, seems that Bondo is the repairing bonding agent of choice. Bondo is the same filler material used years ago on auto body repairs. Just because I like to find answers, I googled "repair cement statue" and came up with, naturally, links to gardenweb - folks who've had the same problem. If it is made of concrete, it is repairable. Is it concrete?
Good luck!

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Statue Repair

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 11:04AM
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runktrun(z7a MA)

Ginny,
I am so sorry. You sound terribly heart broken. I don't know what material your statue is made of but regardless I would pick up the phone and call around to headstone carvers as I am guessing they are often called to do repairs when vandals ravage cemetaries (never understood that one). If they don't do the repairing themselves they would likely know who to call.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 11:08AM
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ginny12

Thank you both. Yes, it is made of concrete--I left out that critical piece of info. Because the head of the little boy is bending over, it will definitely need a rod drilled into it or gravity will inevitably win.

To complicate matters, it has developed a beautiful patina over the decades that I want to keep. So I think I need to have a professional do this. The Bondo is a good idea that I could do but not drilling concrete without further damage.

Thank you both again.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 11:53AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Maybe you could contact a local museum that has an outdoor sculpture court and would know who could repair a statue. Does the Isabel Stewart Gardner Museum have an outdoor court (I haven't been there since I was a kid)?

Such a shame,
Claire

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 12:17PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Ginny, how awful. It's not easy to find a piece that just fits your situation, so I really hope you can repair it. I wouldn't have a clue, but it looks like you have a few good suggestions. Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 1:48PM
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javaandjazz(z6 CT)

Why not try a company that makes grave stones, they have all that equipment to drill into stone.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 8:57AM
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gardenman101(Z6 Spingfield, Ma)

Ginny,
Go to the local Home Depot or Lowes, they sell a product that comes in a tube for cualking guns it bonds cement to itself (cant remeber name)but it works great. We had a couple statues here at the church I work for that were decapitaded by vandels and I used the product to reatach the heads, you could not tell that they ever were broken. Although I did such a nice job the wound up being taken. But it works, again not sure of the name but someone at the HD or Lowes can help you.

Hope this helps
and Happy Gardening
Mark

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 2:40PM
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ginny12

Mark, Were your statues outdoors? That's the big question. This statue was outdoors all year and that's where I want to put it again.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 4:51PM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

ginny, really, not to worry.you're o.k. if you had a shattered piece, it would be awful but i think with cmeent and a clean break there's no huge worry. and yes, mark's solution is for outdoors cement.
also, i think the treflers person you spoke to probly was just giving the 'lawsuit safe' answer. they could definitely fix it if you don't want to try it yourself. they've done a number of things for me over the years. you might also want to talk to your local masonry yard; they do sell concrete/cement sealants. we used such on an outdoor slate fntn because of flaking potential but we have never treated our outdoor cement sculptures.

best,
mindy

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 7:00PM
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gardenman101(Z6 Spingfield, Ma)

Ginny, yes they were outdoors and the repairs lasted until they they were taken about a year with no problems.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 7:39PM
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gardenman101(Z6 Spingfield, Ma)

Ginny,
Were you able to get the statue repaired? Did you find the stuff i was talking about?

Mark

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 10:05PM
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mmqchdygg(Z5NH)

Thinset bonds remarkably well to concrete...they're the same animal. Would be a very easy fix.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 3:39PM
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ginny12

No, I haven't gotten it fixed or tried it myself. The problem is that the head of the statue is in a slightly bent position--he is looking down. So gravity will inevitably pull loose any bonding material.

I really think it needs to be drilled and an iron rod put in to attach the head and body for additional support. It is so sad to be without it. But I thank you for all your suggestions. And Mindy, you may be right about Trefler's giving the lawyer-safe answer.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 4:35PM
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sedum37(Z5 MA)

I too saw the advertizement for Treflers in the Boston Globe magazine (the recent garden issue - off topic: rather sparse issue this spring) and thought of them for your problem. Checking now I see you had already talked to them and Mindy chimed in with her opinion. I think it would be better to try to fix it then have it broken and hanging around. They sound like they'd do the job.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 3:54PM
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