Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: Plaza Ponce Statue
Title: [Report on maintenance of Ponce de Leon statue]
Full Citation
Permanent Link:
 Material Information
Title: Report on maintenance of Ponce de Leon statue
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: Plaza Ponce Statue
Physical Description: Report
Language: English
Publication Date: 2000
Physical Location:
Box: 8
Divider: Plaza - Ponce Statue
Folder: Plaza Ponce Statue
Subject: Saint Augustine (Fla.)
Plaza de la Constitucion (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Constitution Plaza (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine
Coordinates: 29.892527 x -81.311253
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00095510
Volume ID: VID00016
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text

126 Oneida Street, St. Augustine, Florida 32084 (904) 829-6761

June 28, 2000

Department of Historic Preservation
City of Saint Augustine
P.O. Box 210
St. Augustine, FL 32085

Page 1 of 2

The following is an outline of the work that was performed by Joseph Segal on the bronze statue of Ponce De
Leon in St. Augustine, Florida as requested by The City of St. Augustine during May and June of 2000. The
City of St. Augustine was responsible for removal, transportation, storage and reinstallation of the statue.
After attempting to remove the statue from the granite pedestal, it became evident that it was somehow
attached to the granite plinth which it stands on (photo # 1). The statue and plinth were transported to the city
warehouse near Oyster Creek where work was performed (photo # 2).
Separation of the statue from the plinth was necessary in order to inspect the interior condition of the bronze
as well as to insure air circulation within the statue. The base of the statue had been filled solid with mortar
which was preventing air circulation. Separation of the statue was accomplished by drilling out the bronze pin
which held the statue to the plinth and cutting through the mortar with a mechanical saw and then by hand with
a band saw blade (photo # 3).
Upon removal of the statue, the mortar was removed with a short stroke pneumatic hammer and an
inspection of the statue's interior was made (photo # 4). Investment from the casting of the bronze which was
retaining moisture was found. The investment was removed with water and Vulpex Soap. The interior was
found to be in good condition (photo # 5).
The exterior surface of the statue was slightly pitted in areas such as the legs and back. Light green and gray
corrosion were present throughout the statue (photo # 6). The statue was blasted clean using 60/200 mesh
ground walnut shell at 25-30 psig. The blasting did not remove the statue's patina but did remove pale
corrosion as well as dark grime (photo # 7). After blasting, a washing with Vulpex Soap was performed to
remove any particles left by the blasting. Once the statue was thoroughly dry, it was treated with a two percent
solution of the corrosion inhibitor Benzotriazole suspended in hot water and ethanol. Two coats of
Benzotriazole were applied to most of the statue with an additional coat being applied to areas more prone to
corrosion such as the shoulders and the head. Liver of sulfur was used to repatinate any areas where bronze was
exposed especially a small spot on the sword (photo # 8).
To apply the wax coating, the surface was heated to 175 degrees F using a propane torch (photo # 9). The
wax used was a mixture of the following: Bareco Victory Brown and Victory Light waxes, Polywax 2000,
Polywax 500 and Petrunuba in a solution of Naptha and Turpentine. Two coats of hot wax were applied along
with a final thin coating of paste wax.

June 28, 2000
Department of Historic Preservation
City of Saint Augustine
Page 2 of 2

To reinstall the statue a new hole was drilled in the plinth since the original bronze rod could not be removed
thoroughly enough to insure a solid installation (photo # 10). The statue was therefore rotated 180 degrees on
the plinth. A 3/4 x 10 inch silicone bronze rod was set into the stone using a two part granite epoxy. A one inch
diameter copper tube was placed under the bronze nut within the base to provide extra support during
tightening of the nut (photo # 11).
The plinth was placed back on the pedestal without any mechanical or chemical bond between the two, just
as they were originally installed (photo # 12).
A bead of 3M's 5200 marine adhesive was placed under the base of the bronze to stabilize the statue. A two
inch gap with no adhesive was left on each of the four sides to allow air circulation within the statue (photo #
Upon completion of restoration, the surface of the statue appeared as a unified brown color with areas of
green showing through the wax finish (photo # 14). The conservation method described above was not intended
to be the final step in the maintenance of this statue. A wax coating can be expected to last for no more than a
year in St. Augustine's climate. It is strongly recommended that a light washing and reapplication of wax be
performed at most, once a year. Without regular maintenance, the metal surface will become exposed to the
elements and begin to corrode once again.

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