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OUTDOOR SCULPTURE CONSERVATION: Protective coatings for outdoor sculpture conservation are constantly being evaluated by our firm. For four days in a cold week of March 2013, polymer scientist Dante Battochi, D.Eng., PhD of Elinor Specialty Coatings, Fargo, ND, conducted field trials of the new protective coating BronzeShield with staff and some monumental bronze here at the McKay Lodge Conservation Laboratory for outdoor sculpture conservation.

Dante Battochi mixes at our fume hood.

The unique urethane clear coating claiming long-term durability and easy reversibility (by application of a supplied liquid product) based on accelerated weathering and other tests, is now commercially available for outdoor sculpture conservation and new works. In development at this time are variable mat/gloss versions intended to suit differing surface aesthetic considerations.

Emmett Lodge brings a large bronze into the heated shop for applications testing.

This urethane clear coating has had over a decade of gradual development, coming to maturity at the illustrious North Dakota State University polymer research center, and eventually being licensed to Dr. Battochi who founded the company Elinor Specialty Coatings to see its further refinements and ramping up to commercial production.

Emmett Lodge tests application by airless spray at various viscosities and wet film builds.

Dr. Battochi’s field trails at the McKay Lodge facilities were intended to test various application methods, appearances of the product on differing corroded/patinated bronze surfaces on real outdoor weathered bronze, and fine-tune the chemistry and methodology of the removal methods.


Dr. Battochi doing the mixing during the applications trials.

A large outdoor sculpture equestrian bronze from Milwaukee we had for treatment was a perfect candidate for tests as part of the conservation work for that statue was to use it to trial differing cleaning and patination methods. Thus, at the time of Dr. Battochi’s visit, we were able to use this bronze to create a variety of surfaces on which to test BronzeShield.


Senior Sculpture Conservator Tom Podnar providing Dr. Battochi with a particular patina.

In addition, this was an opportunity to compare our real-time outdoor weathered coupons (with partial immersion) bearing various clear coatings being tested for permeability, on clean, reactive steel, including samples of BronzeShield.

We continue to have a dialogue with Dr. Battochi on this product and continue to test and evaluate other protective coatings for outdoor sculpture conservation.

Test removal of cured BronzeShield with the chemical remover, adjusted to various pH, and removal of the previously cross-linked coating with pressurized water.

Test removal of cured BronzeShield with the chemical remover, adjusted to various pH, and removal of the previously cross-linked coating with pressurized water.


Left-to-Right: Sculpture Conservator Jim Gwinner, Senior Sculpture Conservator Tom Podnar; Assistant and Coatings Specialist Emmett Lodge, and Dr. Dante Battochi.


Reviewing the results of outdoor weathered steel coupons bearing various clear coatings for outdoor sculpture conservation.


There may have been one outstanding clear coating.


Robert Lodge seriously mixes something to stubbornly prove his point while Jim Gwinner and Emmett Lodge have a laugh at him behind his back.