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So I have an old antique beer mug with a large chip on the side. I am sure there must be a way to patch this up with a suitable, colour matched, ceramic compound so as to restore it.

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Can anybody recommend a particular compound that is easy to work with and would be suitable for this type of restoration work ? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated ...

Many thanks in advance, Mike

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First question: how "antique" is this mug?

I don't have the expertise to make an educated guess, but at least to me this doesn't look like a cheap mug made to look old.

Usually the older an object gets, the more valuable it gets. But an incompetent repair attempt will completely diminish the value of the object because fixing the botched repair attempt can be even more expensive than a professional repair would have been in the first place. So if this mug is actually a valuable antique, do not attempt any restorations on your own. Trust an experienced restorator with this task or keep the mug as it is and let it reflect its long history.

If you insist on repairing it, be aware that it's a multi-step process that involves gluing, sculpting, sanding and painting. This in not done in an afternoon.

There are different ceramic fillers and 2-part epoxy clays available for exactly this scenario, like Milliput. Since the chip is quite big, I would recommend using a special glue in addition to ceramic filler to ensure a strong bond, as demonstrated in this video by The Ceramic Repair Studio.

The steps include:

  1. Clean the chip with alcohol to remove any oil or dirt. Wash your hands very thoroughly before handling the object or wear gloves to avoid introducing fresh skin oil into the chipped area.
  2. (optional) Mix ceramics glue like Araldite in the recommended ratio. Apply a thin layer over the chipped area, but not over the remaining glaze.
  3. Mix 2-part epoxy clay or ceramics filler in the recommended ratio and press it firmly on the chipped area. Form the clay in the desired shape but make sure to overfill the chip.
  4. Let the filler cure completely.
  5. Sand the cured filler down to the shape of the original object with fine sand paper (approx. 200 grid).
  6. Paint over the filler with acrylics paints to match the original color.
  7. Apply one or several thin layer(s) of clear shiny varnish to blend the repair into the glazing.

The entire process in described in detail in this article by Lakeside Pottery. By searching for "repair chipped ceramics" you'll find a lot more instructions, some more professional than others. My advice is to listen to ceramics creators and restorators rather than DIY channels.

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  • Hi, yes it is a valuable Austro-Hungarian era ornamental beer mug dating from the 18th century approximately. The chip on it does reflect on its age for sure, and I agree that it in itself reflects on the object's antiquity. It is for this reason that I am inquiring about the ease of repair as it may not be worth the trouble and could be worse if not done properly.
    – davos
    Sep 22, 2023 at 12:20
  • Having said that, I think I do have the required skill to attempt such a restoration, however matching the colour may be the most difficult task. Most of the time, exact colour matching is done by providing a sample of the colour (unless there are other methods) and this will be clearly a problem. Perhaps you might have some suggestions on how this might be done to give the best results ?
    – davos
    Sep 22, 2023 at 12:23
  • What sort of paints are generally used for ceramics and specifically for the putty that you refer to ? How would one go about doing the colour matching for instance ?
    – davos
    Sep 22, 2023 at 12:26
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    @davos As mentioned above, I strongly advice against any repair attempt. I would try to use a paint type that could have been used on the original mug, so clearly no modern acrylics paint. However, I don't know which type of paint would have been used. As for the color matching, I would do it by eye. This looks deep black to me with a golden line. The black shouldn't be too hard, but modern golden "hobby" level paints are horrible and I wouldn't let any of them near this mug. Golden "artist" level paints are expensive and color matching is down to luck alone.
    – Elmy
    Sep 22, 2023 at 13:25
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    Thanks, I would say the original "paint" is more of a ceramic type that would have been fired in a kiln. So yes I agree, to get the same effect is going to be difficult ... Besides I spoke to the owner and they agree that it is best left as is to show how it withstood the times in its current state. The other pieces in the set are pretty much in a very good state. Thanks for the advice !
    – davos
    Sep 22, 2023 at 14:29

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