Preserving a metal/wood artifact?

Preserving a metal/wood artifact?

Post by ActiveMatri » Fri, 30 Apr 2004 14:29:35


Recently, while freediving for hard-shell clams (quohogs) I found a
metal railroad spike with wood still attached.  On close inspection, the
spike is not steel or iron, it appears to be brass, or maybe iron.  It
is covered with black corrosion, and the spots that do not have it are
gold in color.  The wood attached is near the top of the spike, and
appears to be in good condition.  The piece most likely dates back to
the late 19th century, when a railroad bridge was built approx. 100 yard
from the dive site, and has most likely been in the water since 1938,
when a hurricane blew the bridge into the water.  Here are a few
pictures I took of the spike, using my ***.

This is a picture of the whole thing from above
http://SportToday.org/
The next 3 are of teh wood stuck to it
http://SportToday.org/

http://SportToday.org/

http://SportToday.org/

My question is, what metal does this sound like? How would I go about
preserving this piece with the wood attached? Any information you could
give me, or a link to a resource that would help would be great.  

Thanks in advance!

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Preserving a metal/wood artifact?

Post by weezl » Fri, 30 Apr 2004 18:41:28

Hi there
The first thing is to get this item into water ASAP, stops the wood from
shrinking around the metal spike and splitting away.
I will send you  another mail later with further information.
Yours in sport Paul.


Quote:

> Recently, while freediving for hard-shell clams (quohogs) I found a
> metal railroad spike with wood still attached.  On close inspection, the
> spike is not steel or iron, it appears to be brass, or maybe iron.  It
> is covered with black corrosion, and the spots that do not have it are
> gold in color.  The wood attached is near the top of the spike, and
> appears to be in good condition.  The piece most likely dates back to
> the late 19th century, when a railroad bridge was built approx. 100 yard
> from the dive site, and has most likely been in the water since 1938,
> when a hurricane blew the bridge into the water.  Here are a few
> pictures I took of the spike, using my ***.

> This is a picture of the whole thing from above
> http://SportToday.org/
> The next 3 are of teh wood stuck to it
> http://SportToday.org/

> http://SportToday.org/

> http://SportToday.org/

> My question is, what metal does this sound like? How would I go about
> preserving this piece with the wood attached? Any information you could
> give me, or a link to a resource that would help would be great.

> Thanks in advance!

> --
> ActiveMatrix
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Posted via DeeperBlue.net - Your Online Resource for the UnderWater World.

> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ActiveMatrix's Profile:

http://SportToday.org/
Quote:
> View this thread on DeeperBlue.net:

http://SportToday.org/

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Preserving a metal/wood artifact?

Post by Al Well » Fri, 30 Apr 2004 19:18:52



Quote:
> My question is, what metal does this sound like? How would I go about
> preserving this piece with the wood attached? Any information you could
> give me, or a link to a resource that would help would be great.  

> Thanks in advance!

A magnet will tell you right away if it is ferrous. If it is brass, can
it be from an 1800's ship? Was it in salt water or fresh? As Paul said,
get it into water NOW.

al

 
 
 

Preserving a metal/wood artifact?

Post by ActiveMatri » Sat, 01 May 2004 02:19:09

Ok thanks for the fast replies guys, I have it in water now :-) The
measurements of the spike itself are:  1 cm wide, 18 cm long, 7 mm high
when laying down as in the pictures.  The bottom 1/3 is bent upwards at
approx. a 15-20 degree angle, and based on the tapering of the thickness
of the spike, it looks like it was manufactured this way.  It would be
very exciting if its piece of a wreck, certainly better than if it was
just a railroad spike :-D  It was found in a shallow salt-water bay in
the northern reaches of Narragansett Bay, in Massachusetts, US.  There
are many old wrecks in the area, although most are a few miles south,
closer to Newport, RI.

Any more in depth info you can drudge up for me would be awesome,
specifically preserving the wood, sicne the brass should be relatively
easy... and even more specifically, how to use the polyethylene glycol,
and what companies/industries use it on a regular basis, so maybe I can
stop by some and see if they will sell me a little bit of it.

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