Pottery made to order | repair and restoration studio in Southern Delaware

Ceramic Restoration Questions and Answers


Broken Ceramic Repair Lessons
(click pictures)

Fixing broken plate lesson - basic lesson
Cementing only lesson
Fixing broken vase - more complex repair
Restore vase lesson
Cementing, filling, coloring and glazing broken antique plate
Restore plate lesson including coloring
kintsugi - mending broken pottery with gold
Kintsugi - mending with gold
How to repair crack in ceramic
How to fix ceramic crack
Restoring multi breaks and missing piece antique bowl
Restore bowl lesson w/ missing pieces
Cybis Arion Boy on Dolphin - Repair Broken and Missing Finger
Miniature repair w/ missing finger
Restoring ceramic sculpture with missing pieces using fired clay
Making missing part w/ fired clay
Repairing broken stone sculptures and statues
Repairing broken stone sculpture
How to paint broken china, ceramic or pottery?
Painting pottery after repair
Restoring ceramic sculpture with missing pieces using fired clay
Sculpting missing pieces
Restoring ceramic sculpture with missing pieces using fired clay
Bronze sculpture repair
Repairing broken plaster of paris tall lamp
Plaster lamp repair w/ missing parts
How to remove old epoxy from old pottery or china
Removing stains
How to remove old epoxy from old pottery or china
Removing old glue
Restoring small porcealin figurines - shoe
Miniature Porcelain
Repairing Broken Moroccan tagin
Repair Moroccan Tag in




Lakeside Pottery is a ceramic studio and a restoration facility. We are often asked for advice and archived some of the common questions and answers below. For more detailed ceramic, pottery and sculpture repair lessons visit here.

Index - click on question to get the answer

Question 1: How can I determine my broken pottery's value prior to investing in repair? How will the repair effect it's value?

Question 2: When do you use epoxy or a super glue?

Question 3: What do I when my china, ceramics or pottery precious item get broken?

Question 4: How can I detect old ceramic sculpture, vessel or figurine repairs?

Question 5: How to I choose the right professional to restore my precious broken item?

Question 6: Can I use nail polish and nails materials to repair ceramic or china?

Question 7: I have a Homer Laughlin antique cup and saucer I wanted to hang on the wall. What "glue" will work to affix the cup to the saucer and hang it, or would it even be safe?

Question 8: I have stoneware dish that has a small chip at the rim. If I did repair it with 2-part epoxy would it still be okay in the oven?

Question 9: Can hairline crack be repaired without taking the break line apart?

Question 10: How can I identify the marking on my antique ceramic or china vessel or figurine?

Question 11: Can I use epoxies, glues or any other restoration materials with my kitchen ware?

Question 12: Are repaired / restored ceramic or china vessels as durable and pristine as before it broke?

Question 13: Can I store restored ceramic or stone object in a basement or an attic?

Question 14: Would it be possible to repair hair line cracks and a small hole in a china sink?

Question 15: How should my valuable ceramic or china be stored?

Question 16: If I choose the "Glue only" or "Glue and fill" repair options, can I later upgrade the repair to Best Level and what is the down side if I choose so?

Question 17: Should I repair my Bronze Sculpture? Is that Bronze?

Question 18: Why hiding repair lines cost can vary from project to project?

Question 19: Can a sculpture base enhance my sculpture and where can I get one or mount it?

Question 20: How to remove stains from old pottery, ceramic or china?

Question 21: Using Dap, silicone adhesive made by Dow-Corning (or equivalent) is nontoxic, its clear and strong and withstand boiling temperature or greater so why it is a bad idea in some cases?

Question 22: How can the repair line disappear after repair?

Question 23: Where to I go for projects that require gilding?

Question 24: How to decide if I or a professional repair my broken vessel?

Question 25: Why often we do not repair items that have decal / transfer painting?


Question 1a: How can I determine my broken pottery's value prior to investing in repair?

Answer 1a: If you intend to repair your pottery, you will definitely want to have a better idea of it's value. We recommend that you consult a professional. There are several online appraisers and we had good experience with a reputable expert - Jacqueline Snyder (click for more details) who is specialized in wide range of art. She is extremely knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with.

Question 1b: How will the repair effect the restored it's value?

Answer 1b: Generally, with ceramic products or sculpture that are widely available, restored items will be reduced in value to some ratio depending on the extend of damage and the quality of the repair. However, with items that are harder to come by and are older, the repair and restoration will have less impact on the value assuming it is restored properly.

Back to index


Question 2: When do you use epoxy or a super glue?

Answer 2: Lakeside Pottery Does not use super glues for ceramic repair and restoration – super glues are just not strong and durable enough. In most of our ceramic restoration, we invest significant effort in hiding the repair and therefore have to make sure the mending longevity is the best possible. We use high-end 5 minute clear epoxies (see link for the brand we do use) in most ceramic repair applications. Super glues are probably a good choice for items that are not handled often without long life expectations. More details on this topic. Back to index


Question 3: What do I when my china, ceramics or pottery precious item get broken?

Answer 3: Collect all the pieces, check for chips or fragments that may be missing and try to find them too. Be careful where you step to avoid further damaging broken pieces. Shine a flashlight parallel to the floor surface which will show the smallest particles on the floor. Sweep the floor get all the pieces. Do not worry about "sand like" fragments. We may not end up using all those tiny pieces but let the restorer decide which pieces to use or not. Protect pieces so that they will not rub against each other. Wrap each individual piece in paper, towel or bobble wrap so that they don't come in contact with each other. Place all small pieces in a zip lock bag. Place all the wrapped pieces and put it all into a box (place the larger parts in the box first) to keep it all together and protected until you are ready to drop or ship to a restorer. Back to index


Question 4: How can I detect old ceramic sculpture, vessel or figurine repairs?

Answer 4: There are several senses and techniques at work when searching for a repair done on ceramic or stone objects. We use methods 1 to 3 below.

1) Touch: a) The smallest surface textures change can be felt if trained to feel it b) The smallest temperature transfer from the object to the fingers' tips can be also felt. Fired glaze and cold glaze / fillers have different temperature transfer attributes and therefore can be felt.

2) Sound: Tapping on a plate for example will generate different sounds if the plate was never broken compared to a broken plate that was repaired. This applies to larger breaks.

3) Visual: a) the smallest surface continuity change will reflect light differently if inspecting the object in many angles in direct light. High wattage spot light or sun light works the best if you do not have Black light. Black or UV light will highlight these surface changes clearer. b) Visually inspecting the color and design details looking for color and brush strokes differences, airbrush tapering, etc.

4) Surface resistance: "Cold glazes" will scratch and fired glazes will not. If desperate, use a pin and run it across the surfaces. The problem with this method is that if you do find a repair, you damaged it with a scratch.

5) Chemicals: All "cold glazes" will get "sticky" when Acetone, for example, is rubbed on. Again, the problem here is that when you do find a repair, it will be damaged.

As restoration technology advances, it is harder to detect repairs and some dealers or collectors may not be able to detect it. We decided that morally, working with resellers may enable them to mislead the buyers. Therefore, the only dealers we work with are local and proven to state in the items tag "Repaired" or "Restored". Back to index


Question 5: How to I choose the right professional to restore my precious broken item?

Answer 5: Before engaging the services, consider the following:
- See "before and after" pictures of their work
- Ask if it is possible to talk with satisfied customers
- Check online reviews in places where the reviewer identity is revealed (e.g., Google Reviews, Angie's List)
- Call / email and ask what is their process and what makes them a good choice
- Get a quote and lead time before start of work. If the item requires shipment, provide the restorer all they need to quote without physically seeing the broken item (pictures, description). Once item is shipped, it is much harder to change your mind if the quote is too high for your budget after you have invested time in packing and shipping.
- Require itemized description of what will be done (e.g., removing old glue, cementing, making new missing pieces, materials used, will the inside or the bottom of the item repair be hidden, etc.)
- Verify that the restorer is insured for loss, theft, damage (fire, flood)
- Ask for restored item care once completed
- Verify if their work is guaranteed
- Do not pay in full up front. Keep at least 50% of cost due at work completion. Do not pay balance until you have seen the completed work in person or by email picture.
- Lastly, call and speak to a person. Use your instincts sensing if they are pleasant, good communicators, confidant, good listeners and passionate about their work. Back to index


Question 6: Can I use nail polish and nails materials to repair ceramic or china?

Answer 6: Proper restoration takes into account repair longevity. Nail art materials do not take into account what the materials used will look like years or generations later: Yellowing or fading with time, becoming more brittle with time, expansion and reduction with temperature and humidity changes (yielding cracks and becoming more fragile), interaction with the environment, strength, etc. We see items as such regularly having to be redone. Back to index


Question 7: I have a Homer Laughlin antique cup and saucer I wanted to hang on the wall. What "glue" will work to affix the cup to the saucer and hang it, or would it even be safe?

Answer 7: Make sure the surface is clean and a bit rough (sandpaper). Be generous with the glue and wait 3-4 days before you hang it. We recommend the 5-minutes Epoxy in this link. Back to index


Question 8: I have stoneware dish that has a small chip at the rim. If I did repair it with 2-part epoxy would it still be okay in the oven?

Answer 8: Epoxy is not food safe and will come apart at around 200 degree F so cooking with it is not a good idea. Back to index


Question 9: Can hairline crack be repaired without taking the break line apart?

Answer 9: Yes. We do it on a regular basis using the "peg" technique which is described in details in this link or a more complex process using liquid epoxy (e.g., UV cure process, high temperature) Back to index


Question 10: How can I identify the marking on my antique ceramic or china vessel or figurine?

Answer 10: Our web site (see link for porcelain marking) and a few other sites and books that can help you such as www.antique-marks.com or Geoffrey A. Godden Encyclopaedia of pottery and porcelain marks. Back to index


Question 11: Can I use epoxies, glues or any other restoration materials with my kitchen ware?

Answer 11: As far as I know, no restoration materials such as epoxies (non-silicon**), fillers, paints, or cold glazes, have been tested for food safety. Therefore, ceramic restoration materials are not food safe, liquid or heat proof (over 190 degree F), thus, repaired items should not be used on cooking or food serving ware. We are in touch with the restoration industry materials leaders and no food safe epoxies or cold glazes are available at this time. There are some temperature resist epoxies (not food safe) that can withstand over 400 degree F - see PC-Fahrenheit or JB Weld that we have used successfully in the past. Restored items should also not be washed, not to used with liquids and not be used with food (food acids or salt may effect the restoration); the restored item is for display only. If cleaning is required, you can use damp soft cloth applied gently without scrubbing. Avoid direct sun to prevent colors from fading. See link for care instructions for repaired item.

** Note: Silicon adhesives have weaker bond and will not bond to subsequent layer such as fillers, paints or glaze. Back to index



Question 12: Are repaired / restored ceramic or china vessels as durable and pristine as before it broke?

Answer 12: Yes and no. Depending on the restorer's process, materials and instrumentations used, the repaired item could be as strong and durable as before the damage. For example, to insure durability, Lakeside Pottery use brass and stainless steel pins and pegs in vulnerable areas (e.g., fingers, arms, handles) and uses the best epoxies available rated to about 4,000 PSI shear strength and cured in optimum temperatures at 140 degree F oven. As far as environmental effects on the repair, the currently available "cold glazes" are no match to fired ceramic but the technology continues to improve. The areas of environment vulnerability are: Corrosion (e.g., lemon, acids, salt, detergents, alcohol, strong pigments such as coffee), liquids, freezing, heat, friction (e.g., cleaning, scrubbing), UV light (e.g., sun). It is recommended that the repaired items not be subjected to liquids, food, scrubbing, temperature above 200 degree F. or continuous sunlight exposure. Our restored items can get wet with water and the "cold glazes" could be "soft scrubbed" but if done frequently, the restoration will eventually start degrading. Sun or UV light will, with time, fade the restored colors just as if you left a painting, a fabric or furniture in the sun for long periods. All the materials Lakeside Pottery use are with the highest UV resist rating but none are 100% resistant for indefinite exposure, thus, if you wish for your restored item to last for generations, avoid direct sun or near florescent light placement. Back to index


Question 13: Can I store restored ceramic or stone object in a basement or an attic?

Answer 13: Yes and no. Restoration materials can be effected by liquids / moisture and high temperature. If the restored item is stored in a basement, make sure the basement environment is not too humid / wet. If it is, make sure it is sealed (e.g. zip lock bag). In hot climates, it is not unusual for attics to approach 200 degree F in a hot day. Most epoxies, fillers and cold glaze start to fail at 180 - 200 degree by getting softer and therefore cemented parts could start shifting and other failures. Back to index


Question 14: Would it be possible to repair hair line cracks and a small hole in a china sink?

Answer 14: No, unless you are able to separate the crack to let epoxy get in after the crack's inner walls are cleaned with alcohol and dried thoroughly. If the epoxy and the sink are heated up to 120-140 degree F, the epoxy will get thinner and most likely penetrate in between the cracks (note that cure time will be reduced dramatically once heated). Constant wetness will eventually fatigue the epoxy and the seal will fail; perhaps a couple of years later depending how frequently is gets wet. Drying the sink after each use will preserve the repair for longer. Back to index


Question 15:

Question 15: How should my valuable ceramic or china be stored?

Answer 15: Use porous wrapping (e.g., paper, cloth). Don't use plastic or bubble wrap to store ceramics. Humidity and heat can cause permanent discolorations. Back to index


Question 16: If I choose the "Glue only" or "Glue and fill" repair options, can I later upgrade the repair to Best Level and what is the down side if I choose so?

Answer 16: Yes, it could be upgraded later. Note however, that if the epoxies are exposed to UV light for a long duration, the repair lines and fillers might yellow with time. If choosing Best or Mid level repair, the coloring / painting / glazing processes will protect the epoxies from UV exposure (e.g., day light, florescent light), thus, will become much more "yellowing resist" even when exposed to direct sun. Back to index


Question 17: Should I repair my Bronze Sculpture? Is that Bronze?

Answer 17: Research as much information on the sculpture and the artist before considering repairing your sculpture. The sculpture’s value is determined by the artist, who made the piece, was it cast posthumously and who owned it. Then find out what metal was used to make the sculpture. Most metal sculptures that come to us are made of Bronze or Spelter ..... More. Back to index


Question 18: Why hiding repair lines cost can vary from project to project?

Answer 18: See this link for the principles of painting and glazing repaired pottery or china with examples. Back to index


Question 19: Can a sculpture base enhance my sculpture and where can I get one or mount it?

Answer 19: The best way to go a bout replacing or adding a sculpture base is to purchase it. We do not make them. The Base Shop or Summerour Lamps are a great resource for a sculpture base made of wood, stone or stone / wood combination. You can purchase a base from them, mount it yourself or ask us to do it for you. The Base Shop offer sculpture bases and pedestals. You may choose custom made or available stock made with stone or wood to enhance your sculpture. Back to index


Question 20: How can a dark crazing lines and stains be removed from porcelain and pottery?

Answer 20: See complete tutorial in this link. Back to index


Question 21: Using Dap, silicone adhesive made by Dow-Corning is nontoxic, its clear and strong and withstand boiling temperature or greater so why it is a bad idea in some cases?

Answer 21: We had several items that came to us to implement proper seamless restoration where Dow-Corning Dap adhesive was used previously. It will hold well as long as hiding the repair lines is not required. Dow-Corning Dap adhesive is not sandable or paintable. Therefore, separation of the broken pieces and removal of the silicon adhesive is required prior to proceeding with a seamless repair process -- and here where the problem starts. To reverse the repair that was using Dap (or equivalent) often cost more than the repair it self. It can not be removed with solvents, or heat without risking destruction and the only safe remaining option is cutting and grinding. Grinding / cutting removes the silicone adhesives but it also removes some of vessel's material which effect the broken pieces fit requiring more fill, more sanding, more painting, thus, higher cost. Worst case scenario is when the silicone adhesive was used with porous material such as terra-cotta. The silicone adhesive soaks in the material porous surface and the full depth of penetration needs grinding further reducing fit, thus, increasing restoration cost. So, if the item you are repairing is valuable or important, be aware of the above. Back to index


Question 22: How can the repair line disappear after repair?

Answer 22: Matching colors, texture and sheen is the longest and the most difficult part of process to master restoring ceramic, pottery or sculpture. The match must be perfect if it is expected to be invisible. To make a color match perfectly, one must take into account the fact that the color could change as it dries and could change again once cold glaze is applied. The changes are sometimes making the color darker, sometimes lighter and sometimes the hue is modified. The paintings we use are acrylics, oil, enamel or mineral pigments depending on the projects. A good starting point for first time DIY  job is to use water base Acrylics. Back to index


Question 23: Where to I go for projects that require gilding?

Answer 23: Sheelin Wilson has been a professional, full-time gilder for nearly 30 years. Trained under Emily Naper at Loughcrew Studios in County Meath, Ireland, Ms. Wilson began her work in America in 1986 as a gilder and, subsequently, chief gilder, at the restoration department of Sotheby’s. Since opening her own gilding studio in New York City in 1988, Ms. Wilson has practiced her art primarily in different market segments. To learn more about Sheelin Wildon's studio, visit: www.sheelinwilson.com


Question 24: How to decide if I or a professional repair my broken vessel?

Answer 24: When piece of pottery is broken, the damage can be extensive and therefore unsalvageable without using a professional restoration studio. Other times, the broken pot is just chipped or with only a couple of breaks and the repair can be handled at home without using a professional restorer. Professional restorers, however, have the capabilities that are often can not be done at home given their expertise, experience and more sophisticated tools, materials and equipment.

If the broken pottery owner decides to conduct the repair at home DIY, then the steps to fixing chips we have generated a step-by-step lesson with only a few required steps and materials. See full article


Question 25: Why often we do not repair items that have decal / transfer painting?

Answer 25: Transfer is a process that can duplicate printed subject on to ceramic and often the printed subject is reduced in size if compared to the original painting yielding extremely fine lines and details that are not duplicable by hand painting. After hiding the repair lines with background paint (see more), this wider line covers some more of the painting details which we then have to fill in the missing details by hand. Because perfection of the repair paining cannot be achieved (lines are finer then any small brush), we do not take on such projects.

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Your input is greatly appreciated and will help in creating improved pottery tips.

Thank you, Patty and Morty

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