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Bronze fountain Statue---HELP!

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Think Green, May 21, 2010.

  1. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    I have been servicing a customer for quite some time now and we were asked to service a interior courtyard of a exclusive home. We have done the interior courtyard trees, shrubs and all for 12 years but here is the issue.
    There is a fountain in the middle of this Venetian designed courtyard. A cylindrical fountain made of Pennsylvania stone is erected with a Bronze Cherub fountain inside. This bronze statue was hand made by a Artist somewhere in Dallas Texas and was told that the statue is worth 25,000.00. Each Cherub is playing a specific instrument..............a flute and horns. The statue is stopping up from the pump system underneath this heavy sculpture. The plumbing is brazed together and the statue has to be hoisted with something more than we can handle. The sculpture was installed in this home as it was being built so going through any hallways or door ways isn't allowed.
    We need to unstop the instruments as the water isn't flowing through each figure as the client wants it to do. What bronze safe cleaners would you suggest us using as this is not a child's game of using something to corrode this master piece of artwork.
    What will break up the sludge and hard water deposits and not hurt this sculpture???????

    Please, serious responses needed!!!!!
  2. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    I would try poking the holes with a heavy/solid piece of wire. Every now and then I would then turn the pump back on to try and force some crud of it out.

    Is there any way to push more pressure through the fountain, say with a power washer, bigger pump, or air pressure.

    I'd steer clear of the chemicals as much as possible. Even if you could get it in there it would need to stay in contact with the deposits as long as possible.
  3. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    Go to a reputable gallery or look for one online and ask for a a referral for someone who cleans bronzes. I have one client with many original bronzes worth much more.

    We just had color problems because some of them had feet in the koi pond or reflecting pool and they were corroding and turning purple. It was easy for us with Scottsdale being right down the street with numerous galleries and artists. We found a person who specialized in cleaning bronzes and they looked like brand new when she was done.

    Not to minimize your situation but 25-K for a bronze is not that expensive and the musicians you are talking about is a very common piece so its not as bad as you think. On top of that how did this become your problem?
  4. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    The issue is of cleaning out the fountain that led to the horns not flowing as they should. You are familiar with customers asking questions and wanting help on keeping the sculpture functioning properly. Leaf matter from 4 upright yaupon trees has kept our job of maintenance a constant profit but the questions of hard water,etc. This part of the job isn't in our profession but would like to know some options for this customer so she can get the job done professionally. I mean, the sculpture isn't corroding or turning purple, it is the fact of the horns not draining water as designed. The sculpture isn't actually sitting inside the water as it is resting on a iron box shaped support. I understand the process of water sludge and other organic materials do get inside the pump from inside the water, so I am not going to jump into this position without some confident advice. I will not be doing this work at all, as I will not be responsible for this sculpture. I agree that the original artist or gallery should be contacted on this issue as they are the one's to offer her more advice but as we do maintenance to this courtyard on weekly schedules, the fountain doesn't work as this customer would like for it to.
    Our mall and some shopping centers have replicated Remington Bronze statures as part of their entrance appeal. These sculptures don't use water as a part of their beauty as this customer has. I understand that 25K isn't much for the millionaires but for me it is a lot of money to be horsing around with. I just want to help this customer with a nice piece of art.
  5. mdlwn1

    mdlwn1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    If you are still interested, I will get you the name of the group that cleans our artwork once a year. Our bronze has a patina that can easily be ruined.
  6. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,889

  7. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,889

    For statuesque fountains I use a progressive size set of nylon reams some have firm reverse hook snags for pushing in and pulling debris out and others have soft snags on them, some have blunt ends for pushing slime some have pointed bullet ends for going through thicker gunk. none of them will damage even the oldest softest copper or tubing. I use demineralized water for indoor hard to clean prone to scale clogging features.
  8. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    Thanks for the reply.
    I have since advised this customer to contact the company she purchased it from.
    Here is a play by play description of the problem. Coming off the pump is a nylon hose that clamps to the 3 valved tree that is soldered into place. Each valve is corroded and frozen in the full open position. I am under the impression that taking off the hose will allow you to take water hose pressure and back flowing the pressure and cleaning out any slime and hard water residue out of the valves. Well, it isn't that easy as the pump is under the large statue. I surmise that when this piece was designed and fabricated, cleaning wasn't in mind. It will require several hours to clean this thing thoroughly, so the best thing to do was divert the responsibility to some one more qualified.
    Thanks to all that have responded with their professional opinions.

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