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 Post subject: Smelter
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:37 pm 
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Not sure if this is the correct Forum but here goes! I inherited a pair of figures that an antique dealer named as made of smelter (I thought they were bronze)
Unfortunately they got damaged when I last moved house and I wondered what sort of tradesman would repair these. Also at what sort of cost? The main damage was done to their arms.
Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Smelter
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:50 pm 
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sheilamary3 wrote:
Not sure if this is the correct Forum but here goes! I inherited a pair of figures that an antique dealer named as made of smelter (I thought they were bronze)



I don't know about the restoration, but your antique dealer should have said "Spelter" not smelter.

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 Post subject: Re: Smelter
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 1:48 pm 
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He probably did,its quite a few years ago! :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Smelter
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 2:17 pm 
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as Ajay says Spelter, a mix of various metals and an absolute pig to repair from what little I know of it

A quick google takes me here..

http://www.restoration-advice.org/Pages/statues.html

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 Post subject: Re: Smelter
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 2:38 pm 
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Thanks for the link Wine...O. Very interesting and not looking too promising? If I had known that I would have moved my statues in the car with me with their seat belt fastened!
As it was,they travelled in a box with other items. They are not covered by insurance either as I moved all that sort of stuff myself.


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 Post subject: Re: Smelter
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 5:43 pm 
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Hi,

This brings back memories. I was taught to braze using "spelter" rods with oxy/acetylene sapphire welding torch over 50 years ago; here is a sample video showing a guy using solder which is a lot different to spelter; spelter is applied at an higher temperature than solder and once done it better matches the original colour; brazing is more difficult because the base metal has to be heated to a high degree with the risk of it simply pooling but I used to braze items with little difficulty. Brazing rod is rod one minute and in a blink it's suddenly liquid which takes a lot of controlling rather like lava coming out of a volcano only a lot quicker.



Here is a bit of brazing information;

http://www.weldingtypes.net/tag/spelter/

I've just had a quick web browse and sure enough the SIF bronze flux I used to use is still available; I might even still have some in the garage. The end of the brazing rod is heated by the torch then plunged into the flux which in turn coats the rod making it ready for brazing. Once the brazing is completed the hardened flux tends to form a very tough skin over the braze which is most difficult to remove unlike standard arc welding where the flux is easily chipped off.

Good luck with your repairs; I hope the cost doesn't bring tears to your eyes. :cb

Kind regards, Col.

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 Post subject: Re: Smelter
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 6:30 pm 
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Not 100% sure about this Col, and hope you don't mind me saying, but I think that the spelter used for these antiques is a white metal low melting point alloy, rather than the (basically) brass spelter used for brazing.

I'd probably look at using epoxy of some sort if possible.



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 Post subject: Re: Smelter
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 7:26 pm 
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Hi,

Thanks Dave54; no problem at all; I was just passing on my own knowledge of spelter which I used; bronze was mentioned in the first post and the spelter I used for brazing was a similar colour; there are so many different metals that only by examining the piece to be repaired can identify the metal used. In the video I posted the solder repair really does stand out; here's a bit of information regarding soldering;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soldering

Ordinary solder has a relatively low melting point; silver solder is a higher melting point and brazing which is still classed a soldering has a high melting point; a choice of repair by soldering can only be confirmed by examining the metal to be repaired? Of the three brazing is the most difficult due to the higher temperature involved.

I've never used it but there is a repair metal which can be bought in a tube and is applied cold like adhesive but once it sets it forms a very strong bond and can be treated as metal;



Depending on the breaks involved perhaps this cold repair might be a good choice?

Kind regards, Col.

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 Post subject: Re: Smelter
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 8:06 pm 
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I think "spelter" is one of those words that varies with the where and when. :-)
The only time I can think of brazing metal being called "spelter" in my own experience was the bit of brass shim that was used for brazing bandsaw blades with the resistance welder on the machine. We used to call that spelter IIRC. I've seen it (brazing metal) called that in books as well though.
I was interested in antiques at one time, and one bloke I know, an engineer who also used to renovate antiques, told me about the spelter used for statues etc. Apparently the actual make up of the alloy varies from where and when it was done, and it is difficult to successfully repair, but can be done with the right know-how and technique (Like most things I suppose!)

I reckon the JB weld is a good idea for anyone not used to doing it. :thumbleft: I've found it pretty good myself in general, similar to Belzona, but less expensive.



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 Post subject: Re: Smelter
PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:46 pm 
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Thanks for your replies. I will put a photo of the statue up. It is about 20" high and is a dark grey metal colour.
This one had his arm snapped off and is held by superglue at the moment. The other,one had a raised arm holding a hammer. This was the most damaged one and the glue would not hold it.
They have been in our family for over 100 years ,my grand parents were Irish so they could have been made there,I am not sure.
The metal fixative sounds interesting if it would work as I definitely cannot afford expensive repairs.


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 Post subject: Re: Smelter
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 8:55 pm 
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Without knowing the material, its difficult to say...
If its Spelter, its a mixture of tin, zinc and lead i think, the melting point will vary dependant on the quantities in the alloy used.

A solder would be the best bet i'd think. As for who, no idea, if they are worth anything or important to you, you want someone who knows what they are doing, a specialist. They must be around, but its finding one.
I have no idea how you could return the colour to the repaired area either.

I did these for a mate the other week, both were snapped off the back plates, and one had also lost the fish tail.
These were cast iron.... sometimes its another of 'kill or cure' type jobs.


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