Historic Statue Repair & Reproduction Methods

Have you ever wondered how statues and sculptures get their unique shapes? Popular statues like the Statue of Liberty or Lady Justice are just a few of the many types of statues that have been created throughout time. Many historically significant statues are made using strong metals such as bronze, copper and alloy. While they may be strong, they are also malleable. Softer metals used in statuary include silver and gold, which allows an artisan form and shape the metal using hammers and other tools.

Like anything over time, wear and tear from corrosion, weather, or other issues within the metal itself can cause significant damage to a metal statue. When historical restoration is needed, it takes skilled artisans to preserve not only the essence of the previous creation, but, ensure the right materials, and techniques are used when restoring and repairing the historical pieces. There are various methods to repair or reproduce historically significant sculptures.  The process of sheet metal fabrication involves: 1.) Metal Cutting, 2.) Metal Forming, and 3.) Metal Finishing and Assembly.  Below, you will find the various techniques to for metal statue repair.

Metal Cutting

Metal comes in all different sizes, from thick and thin, metal with edges, metals with rounded corners and various shapes.  Artisans use a process called shearing in order to cut large pieces of metal into smaller pieces.  These smaller pieces are molded and formed into an end product.

There are various other tools used to create smaller pieces, allowing the artisan to mold and bend the metal as necessary.  Other tools include the electrical discharge machine (EDM), where metals are metals are made malleable through electrodes.  Another method to cut sheet metal is through the use of a grinder.  Metals can be also cut using water pressure.  Through the use of water jets, water pressure of 20,000 to 60,000 psi can be used as a non-heat method to cut metal.  Finally, for precise cutting using technology, lasers are another method that provides the ability to cut with precision through metal.

Metal Forming

Once the metal is cut to the desire length or thickness, the metal can then be formed. Statue restoration professionals use a variety of traditional and modern techniques to form sheet metal. One process used to form a flat piece of metal is called rolling.  Using tools called roll stands, the metal is shaped and bent into a desired shape.  Artisans also use a time-honored technique called repose or repousse, which involves hand hammering the sheet metal material into or against a pre-made form to transform the metal into the desired shape.

Another method that allows an artisan to create 3-D designs is using a technique called stamping.  An artisan can create a cast of a persons’ face or design symbols on a statue through using tools and dies which are stamped into the metal.

Punching is a method where a sculptor can punch holes or shapes into the metal.
When a sculptor needs to combine different sheet metals together, they are bonded through a process called welding. Other tools are used such as fasteners in order to add handles or a latch onto a piece of sheet metal.

Metal Finishing and Assembly

Once the metal has been formed and shaped into the end product, the final steps are to polish and smooth out the sharp edges.  This part of the fabrication process also includes cleaning and dusting the surface.

Sheet Metal Fabrication Services 

Through the methods of torching, welding, threading, and shearing, metals can be molded, formed and created to repair or reproduce metal statues. For museums, government state houses, art investors in need of historical statue repair, your best choice is the Heather & Little team, who specializes in sculpture restoration and metal statue repair.  The team at Heather & Little has been operating since 1925, delivering outstanding sheet metal fabrication services across North America.


  1. I feel so much happier now I understand all this. Thanks!

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