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Painting on Wood and Fire Damage

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  • Painting on Wood and Fire Damage

    There is this lady that I know. A few months ago, her house burned down. Slowly but surely they have been finding little survivors in the ruin.

    One such survivor is an old painting on wood. An old family piece. However, it did take some damage. I haven't seen the piece, but the way she describes it, it sounds like soot and maybe some mild scorching.

    She is scared to try anything and I've never dealt with anything like this.

    Any general advice? Maybe a damp cloth on a small part of it to take a peek? I literally have no idea how to procede without advice. Any guidance, no matter how general, greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: Painting on Wood and Fire Damage

    I would generally advise against using a damp cloth until such time as you have established the extent of the damage and the materials involved in the original.

    You know that its is on wood and you believe that it has been painted but with what medium, oil or water based? Is it possible that the heat/scorching produced damage that will cause the 'paint' to react and lift of the wood backing etc?

    You could test a small unimportant area first and see what happens with a lightly dampened cloth but I think I would prefer to use a non water based solution first and even then it is important to test first. Pec-12 would be my first port of call

    Prior to undertaking this I would either photograph or scan the original in its currently damaged state and get the best image possible and also during the cleaning process make further scans - just in case any cleaning starts to damage the image further in certain areas


    • #3
      Re: Painting on Wood and Fire Damage

      I had a chance to talk to her for a few minutes tonight. I passed on what you said, Tony.

      Now, she did say that she doesn't know what kind of paint was used and that she is fairly certain that it wasn't sealed in anyway. She also said that she is going to try going really slow and soft in small spots with a dry cloth just to try to see the extent of the damage. If she does take pictures, I can't wait to see them. I would, of course, like to get my hands on the piece but circumstances are a bit... different between us.

      The next update will take some time. Good or bad, I'll let ya'll know.


      • #4
        Re: Painting on Wood and Fire Damage

        Finally got a chance to talk to her. Very briefly. She has decided to leave it damaged as-is for the time being. Some scars are a part of the journey and all that. Beautiful and sad. But respected.