Gap-Fillers for Wooden Artefacts Exposed Outdoors—A Review
Conservation of wooden artefacts that are exposed outdoors, mainly in open-air museums, is a very complex and difficult issue that aims to preserve both the integrity and aesthetics of valuable objects. Unceasingly subjected to several factors, such as alternating weather conditions and the activities of microorganisms, algae, and insects, they undergo continuous changes and inevitable deterioration. Their biological and physical degradation often results in the formation of gaps and cracks in
... he wooden tissue, which creates a need not only for wood consolidation, but also for using specialist materials to fill the holes and prevent further degradation of an object. To ensure effective protection for a wooden artefact, a filling material must both protect the wood against further degradation and adapt to changes in wood dimensions in response to humidity variations. A variety of substances, both organic and inorganic, have been used for conservation and gap filling in historic wooden objects over the years. The filling compounds typically consist of two components, of which one is a filler, and the second a binder. In the case of inorganic fillers, plaster has been traditionally used, while the most popular organic fillers were wood powder, wood shavings, and powdered cork. As with binders, mainly natural substances have been used, such as animal glues or waxes. Nowadays, however, due to the lower biodegradability and better physicochemical properties, synthetic materials are gaining popularity. This article discusses the types of filling compounds currently used for gap filling in wooden artefacts exposed outdoors, outlining their advantages and drawbacks, as well as future perspective compounds. It appears that particularly composite materials based on natural polymers deserve attention as promising filling materials due to their high elasticity, as well as similarity and good adhesion to the wooden surface. Their main shortcomings, such as susceptibility to biodegradation, could be eliminated by using some modern, bio-friendly preservatives, providing effective protection for historic wooden artefacts.