Conservation Research Laboratory Reports

Composite wood / iron objects: pole arms and partisans

La Salle Shipwreck Project
Texas Historical Commission


Throughout the conservation process, the wood shaft part of the partisan had been kept wet by wrapping it in damp rags.  It was conserved only after the blade was cast.  The encrustation around the wood was carefully removed using a mechanical air scribe.  Silicone oil was used to treat the wood in this instance, although acetone-rosin would have been just as appropriate.  Both are very good when the wood to be preserved is broken in several pieces and has to be repaired.  PEG was not appropriate as conservation treatment in this case, since there was some metallic iron remaining on the blade.  PEG attacks and can be potentially damaging to iron unless specific precautions are taken.

Once the partisan was cast and the wooden handle conserved, final photographs and drawings were made of the reconstructed complete piece.  Observations, such as the success rate of the treatment used and the final appearance of the object, were also included in the conservation record.  The notes made before, during, and after the conservation process aid in the analysis of artifacts.

See how we conserved the iron blade.

Find out more aboute pole arms and partisans.

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