How do I glue alabaster?
April 4, 2011 2:45 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to repair alabaster?

I have a small alabaster cat statue which is currently missing one ear after a fall. I have the missing piece, and I want to glue it back on. Is there anything I need to be wary of in terms of the kind of glue or the method I use? Am I likely to discolour or damage the alabaster if I use the wrong stuff?

The statue originally came from a street vendor, but I'm pretty sure it's genuine alabaster since the thinner portions are translucent when I hold it to the light.
posted by talitha_kumi to Grab Bag (2 answers total)
This thread-fragment on osdir (click the arrow to the right of 'Thread' to step through responses) contains a few suggestions. In particular, this response suggests using a clear, UV-resistant epoxy.

As a secondary source, one Italian alabaster supplier recommends what they call a 'bicomponent glue for marble and other stones', which I'm pretty sure is just another way of suggesting a two-part epoxy.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 4:45 AM on April 4, 2011

I've used superglue on alabaster before and it's done fine. That relies on having a precise break, where all the little crystals line back up and interlock like a tiny puzzle. The superglue doesn't add any volume, just sticks one surface to another. In that case, it'll just be a hairline crack, and you should be in pretty good shape; anything designed to have a light inside it the crack would always show up as a shadow, but for a statue, alabaster ought to repair pretty well.

If you've got crumbling, or a missing fragment, clear epoxy is the way to go, as the paste will fill in the gaps between one piece and the other; just be sure to clean up the outside so you don't have excees goo oozing out of the crack. They make white epoxy, and these days it may stay white, but I think of it as turning yellow over time, because of seeing it yellow in repaired objects from my childhood - somehow clear seems like a better bet than trying to do any color-matching.
posted by aimedwander at 7:23 AM on April 4, 2011

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