Water Damage

Sad Family History Story From Japan’s Earthquake/Tsunami- But A Lesson Can Be Learned

Irreplaceable originals

Ancestors, children growing up, weddings... some are more important than others

From the news… With each passing day after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, more and more poignant stories of survivors and victims are emerging.
Immediately after the quake, Katsutaro Hamada, 79, fled to safety with his wife. But then he went back home to retrieve a photo album of his granddaughter, 14-year-old Saori, and grandson, 10-year-old Hikaru.
Just then the tsunami came and swept away his home. Rescuers found Hamada’s body, crushed by the first floor bathroom walls. He was holding the album to his chest, Kyodo news agency reported.
“He really loved the grandchildren. But it is stupid,” said his son, Hironobu Hamada. “He loved the grandchildren so dearly. He has no pictures of me!”
Grab n’ Go… planning ahead is really a good idea… whether its because of fire, water, earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, tsunami… plan ahead. Here are some people’s opinions about the book How To Save Your Stuff From A Disaster can help you get ready: http://saveyourstuffblog.com/what-people-are-saying-about-the-book/

Plains Indians Encampment Water Damage in Garage

As can be seen in the photograph, this painting by Fredrick Schaefer was sitting on the floor of the garage when 3 in. of water flooded the area causing the paint to flake off and destroying the gesso frame.

The first problem was leaving/storing the art work on the floor in a poor quality storage area. Always store artwork up on blocks.

The second problem occured when the owner wiped his hand over the flaking area and removed the original paint (we routinely save original flaking paint).

The result is a damaged painting that requires extensive inpainting which, in the end, will look perfect but the value will be compromised. Both of these problems could have been avoided.

Water damage in garage

Still, even though this could have been avoided and was partly due to lack of care by the owner, an insurance claim could be filed if fine art insurance were in place. Not only damage can be  mitigated but loss of value might be an issue. Scott Haskins and FACL often help collectors and home owners with evaluations, claims and the conservation treatments. Contact us at 805 564 3438

Appraisal questions? Call Richard Holgate at 805 895 5121 www.faclappraisals.com

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Help… Wet Photos in My Photo Album! Woman’s World Article

Woman's World Dec 2010 Dealing with Wet Photos

Woman's World quotes Scott Haskins and How To Save Your Stuff as the How-To Manual


Liquid Stain on Lithograph of a Woman by Henri Matisse

This work on art on paper came into the lab because it has a water stain on the lower right hand corner, which makes this valuable print look awful… and takes away from the value.

Hideous liquid stain on lower right hand conner on the lithograph.

What causes water stains?

I spoke with Scott Haskins, our conservator and he said one of the reasons this could happen is, for instance, the liquid that spilled on the paper was dirty, like a roof leak or spilling your coffee.

Another reason is because there is yellowing in the paper that is a deterioration by product. The deterioration causes acids to develop in the paper, and this is why paper yellows and becomes fragile. Even if the liquid that spills on the artwork is clean or pure it will still move the yellow acids in the paper causing it to stain, this is what happens to this artwork.

So, what should you do about your artwork on paper, certificate, diploma, or letter that has some kind of liquid stain? Here are some things you should know:

  • This is not something you (personally) can remove from the paper. This must be done by an experience paper conservator.
  • The stain will not spread over time, however, the stain will get darker with time.
  • The stain’s color can be stabilized if the acids are neutralized. Feel free to call our office and speak with Scott Haskins for more information at (805) 5643438.

Are you wondering if your art is worth restoring? Here are 5 tips to follow if you find yourself in this kind of situation:

  1. Ask an art appraiser about the artwork. (Sometimes they will not charge for a verbal opinion if you do not require a formal appraisal (Also you ask an auction house for their opinion)
  2. Speak with an art conservator to give value/estimate for repairs.
  3. Ask the curator at a local museum for an opinion.
  4. Another suggestion would be, if you can read the signature on the artwork research it, and you can find out interesting things. This artist, for example, would show up everywhere in a search. He was quite famous.
  5. DO NOT consult with art dealers right away until you get other’s opinions first. They will try to buy the artwork for as little as possible.

For $400.00 this artwork can look as good as new, and should be worth the maximum amount of money after restoration.

When you have a damaged painting, your home owner’s insurance policy may help you pay for it, and may even pay you for lost value. For more information about this, go to www.insurancepersonalpropertyassessments.com or call us at 805 564 3438

For great stories, videos and tips see www.tipsforartcollectors.org (Free downloads, sign up for blog updates)

Questions about preserving collectibles, letters, certificates photos? www.saveyourstuffblog.com (Free downloads, sign up for blog updates)

Conservation questions? Go to www.fineartconservationlab.com

Appraisal questions? www.faclappraisals.com

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Fine Art Conservation


Cleaning Lady Strikes Again! Plus Flaking Painting and Bad Restorations

This delightful scene of high society Veneto, Italy at the end of the 1700′s was purchased by its collector and brought to us for its problem of flaking paint. Apparently, the cleaning lady’s damp rag wiping down the lower areas (most easily reached) has caused this oft seen problem… which is totally avoidable.

Cleaning lady's damp rag causes paint to crack and flake

Flaking in lower areas is due to wiping the surface with a damp rag.

But even experienced collectors make mistakes. This problem of flaking is not the only problem: the painting has already been through at least a couple of restorations that were poorly done including mounting this painting to masonite and repainting much of the sky and clouds. What was thought to be valued at $25,000 is now being dumped for $1,000.00 because of condition problems. (more…)


Water damage, mold and memories

I know that life is busy. But there are “right” ways of doing things. So here are a couple of tips regarding taking care of important certificates, diplomas, legal documents, ownership titles, irreplaceable children’s art, heirlooms, important photos…

1. making a scrapbook or photo album the right way the first time will save you so much time later… and it can be super easy.

2. Remember, “archival” doesn’t mean that it needs to win an award for design and creativity. (more…)