Repairing and Restoring Chinese Porcelain

Chinese porcelain is used in making exquisite wares, utensils and other artifacts; but although it’s fired in the kiln and is more sturdy than porous ceramic ware, it is still quite fragile. The items break easily in case of a fall, bang or other impact. China repair is a fairly lengthy and delicate process but the results are worth it in the end. The following are the basic steps involved in the self-restoration of china.

Repairing Chinese Porcelain

Collect the smashed pieces from the floor preferably using gloves to avoid injury. Ensure that you pick up every piece even the smallest ones. Store them in a closed padded container as you prepare to repair your Chinese porcelain. Wipe the area with a damp cloth to eliminate all traces of china pieces which could be stepped on accidentally. Then assemble the repair materials which include a flat working surface, damp towel, clear glue and paper towels. You will also need a glass cleaner for your repaired Chinese porcelain. A pair of gloves is optional.

Method Clean each piece using warm, soapy water. Then rinse under running water and dry with a clean towel. If the pieces had been previously glued, you need to place the item in a vat with boiling water using metal supports and let it “cook” for a few minutes until the old glue becomes soft. ┬áPull the pieces out of the vat with a pair of metal tongs.

Spread out the pieces on top of a damp towel placed on an even, dry surface. The damp towel helps keep the pieces in place easier than a dry one would. Group the pieces according to their origin on the item. For instance if you are dealing with a porcelain jug, group the pieces of the body in one place and those of the base or handle in another place. There are always leftover pieces that cannot be identified right away but will find their place as the process goes on. Experiment by fitting the pieces together before adding the glue. This will help you avoid mistakes and figure out exactly where each piece goes.

Chinese Porcelain Repair Process

After the identification you are now ready for the gluing process, which is the most important part of your china repair job. Shake the glue bottle before use for an even application and ensure that the tip is not clogged. The trick with gluing is to use as little as possible, as consuming a lot of glue causes the entire process to become messy, which may impede on the success of your restoration of china project. Use the tip of your finger against the china piece to enhance a steady application of the glue along the edges of the broken pieces. It is always easier to start your china repair with the smallest pieces working yourself up to the bigger ones. Attending to two pieces at a time produce better results, for instance, if the jug’s base is broken into four pieces fix two connecting pieces at a time. When they are dry you will now have two larger pieces to work with adding on and re-building the item again as you go along. The glued area will be as smooth as the rest of the china as long as you wipe off any excess or dripping glue. Any ridges call for readjusting of the pieces to attain the perfect alignment.

Avoid handling Chinese porcelain with sticky hands. Hold the glued pieces together for about 30 seconds before placing them on a stable surface to dry.
By following these steps, you are assured of a successful restoration of china. After allowing for about 24 hours to dry completely use paper towels and a glass cleaner to give that final shine to your china porcelain.

Unless you’re a professional painter or ceramic designer, do not attempt to match and replicate the color, or airbrush the color onto the glued pieces. Incorrectly applied color can ruin the item and may require ungluing of the pieces and starting over.

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