• Giant Sequoia: an extraordinary case study involving Carbopol® gel

      McKibbin, C; Allington-Jones, L; Verveniotou, E (Archetype Publishing LtdLondon, 2017-10-18)
      In 2016 a project was undertaken to stabilise and aestheticise the transverse section of giant sequoia on display at the Natural History Museum (NHM) in London, UK. This iconic specimen, which now dominates the top floor of the central hall, was 1300 years old when felled and has been part of the exhibitions for 122 years. Measuring over 4.5 metres in diameter, it posed many challenges during remedial conservation. The largest involved removal of the discoloured waxy substance and opacified shellac-based varnish that had been applied in the early 1980s. Solvent tests revealed that the coating was soluble in Industrial Methylated Spirits (IMS) and that the gel worked most effectively at a 1 hour application time. At longer durations the varnish itself gelled and the waxy component was re-deposited. The waxy substance was effectively removed by wiping with alternate white spirit and IMS swabs.