Friday, January 23, 2015

A Close Shave – Should Have Used BSI Epoxy on King Tut

BSI Expoy for Vaulable repairs - 15 min epoxy - 30 min epoxy - Bob Smith Industries Adhesives Should Have Been Used
This incident seems to be an example of choosing an epoxy with too short a working time. Our guess is that they used 5 minute, when BSI's 15 or 30 minute epoxy would have been more appropriate. This would make a great Saturday Night Live comedy skit!

Beard on King Tut's burial mask damaged after epoxy gluing

Published January 22, 2015

The blue and gold braided beard on the burial mask of famed pharaoh Tutankhamun was hastily glued back on with epoxy, damaging the relic after it was knocked during cleaning, conservators at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo said Wednesday.

Three of the museum's conservators reached by telephone gave differing accounts of when the incident occurred last year, and whether the beard was knocked off by accident while the mask's case was being cleaned, or was removed because it was loose.

They agree however that orders came from above to fix it quickly and that an inappropriate adhesive was used. All spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of professional reprisals.

"Unfortunately he used a very irreversible material — epoxy has a very high property for attaching and is used on metal or stone but I think it wasn't suitable for an outstanding object like Tutankhamun's golden mask," one conservator said.

"The mask should have been taken to the conservation lab but they were in a rush to get it displayed quickly again and used this quick drying, irreversible material," the conservator added.

The conservator said that the mask now shows a gap between the face and the beard, whereas before it was directly attached: "Now you can see a layer of transparent yellow."

Another museum conservator, who was present at the time of the repair, said that epoxy had dried on the face of the boy king's mask and that a colleague used a spatula to remove it, leaving scratches. The first conservator, who inspects the artifact regularly, confirmed the scratches and said it was clear that they had been made by a tool used to scrape off the epoxy.