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Old 11-01-2010, 09:48 PM   #1
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cardinal2 Ceramic Bird bath Glazing has Failed

A few years ago I bought a ceramic bird bath on sale "as is" from a reputable nursery. When I bought it, crazing was visible in the glazed surface, but for the price, I figured it was worth it, even if it might only last a few years.

Now I'm wondering if there's a way to seal the surface of the bowl, with something that wouldn't harm the birds, obviously... epoxy? polyurethane? Any ideas?
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Old 11-03-2010, 09:58 PM   #2
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Hrmm, good question. There are options, but I guess it's really about what you want. Do you want permanent or temporary?

I think any good water-based lacquer would work, on the outside at least. If it's the inside you're concerned with, is it a decoration piece? Of course, I don't mean is it there just for decoration, but do you often look down into it? If not or even if so, some ridges of cement would add some texture, you could even color it.

You could find a potter to reglaze it, too.

What are you looking for? Function or preservation? It's not expensive either way, I think, as you probably take it it in the winter anyway?
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Old 11-04-2010, 12:19 AM   #3
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Hi Tie Dyed, thanks for the reply!

I guess it doesn't matter to me what the inside of the bowl looks like, can't really see it from where I watch the birds from (indoors or out). The rest of it still looks nice, and that glazing is holding up ok because it's not full of water (obviously).

Temporary would be fine, I wouldn't mind dealing with it every year or six months or whatever. I guess my main concern is that it would be something inert that wouldn't make the birds sick, and preventing it from crumbling or at least slowing down the process.

It's funny you mentioned a potter, because I know some but they live 700 miles away!

A water-based lacquer or cement is not something I would have thought of, I'll look into it. By cement do you mean just regular portland cement?
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Old 11-04-2010, 05:09 AM   #4
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Hi ST. No problem. It's kind of a sticky situation because it's constantly wet. If it's exposed to repeated freeze/thaw cycles, everything will be temporary, of course.

But a hydraulic cement, like Portland, would seal (somewhat) and provide binding. It's not going to make it watertight, though. You'd have to seal it with something afterwards, like you would a tile floor.

I googled "seal birdbath" and came up with Best way to seal cracks in birdbath? - Hypertufa Forum - GardenWeb . They mention an epoxy called nu-lustre. I couldn't figure out its potential toxicity, but many epoxies (like cement) have potential health hazards in their "raw" form that are not realized when they've cured, so nu-lustre may bear looking into.

Good luck!
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Old 11-04-2010, 09:00 PM   #5
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Abatron Building and Restoration Products - Adhesives, Sealants, Coatings & Epoxies.

Abatron manufactures epoxies for various kinds of historic restoration. I know there are specific ones for cement - but if you find the right one it should last longer than the original material.

You can probably call or email for help with their product selection.

If its just the glaze, and you can find a potter to re-glaze it that might be the best solution--as Tie Dyed suggested. Im not sure that's feasible for kiln fired pottery though.
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Old 11-04-2010, 11:32 PM   #6
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Would you consider placing a wide, shallow dish (such as an inexpensive plastic birdbath) inside the pretty birdbath?
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bath, bird, bird bath, birdbath, birdbaths, birds, bowl, ceramic, failed, finish, glazing, non-toxic, seal, sealing, surface

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