Customer Success Stories
How award-winning South African sculptor, Jean Theron Louw used TIG Brush to simplify her passivating process and save costly maintenance time.
18 May, 2021
Jean Theron Louw is an architect whose true passion lies in sculpting. She is also passionate about changing the unsustainable way in which we all live and, in her work, highlights the environmental crises we will all face.
In Louw’s Somerset West studio, there are few easels, no neat rows of paint pots and brushes. Instead, you will find steel cutters, welding machines, chisels, large screw drivers and heavy-duty gloves and eye shields. These are the tools that turn her creative – and often soul-searching energy – into artworks. Some are small, others large, but each piece conveys a powerful message.
Jean’s life-size stainless steel baboon sculpture, The View was made using 316 stainless steel bars, mesh and tie wires however, the location of the installation, Gearings Point in Hermanus (the southernmost tip of South Africa) meant the sculpture was continually exposed to the extreme environment of the sea and so highly susceptible to corrosion. Not long after installation Jean noticed tea staining had already begun to appear, in particular on the tie wires.
Jean’s goal was to find a solution that would remove the tea staining and re-passivate the surface to the highest degree. She knew from past experience that using pickling paste, aside from being dangerous to use for both herself and the environment, was also time consuming as she often had to reapply the paste to reach her desired result. She knew she needed a solution that would resolve the current issue of corrosion and provide longer lasting protection of the anti-corrosive properties of the stainless steel into the future.
Gerrit Venter from Machine Cutting Services recommended she use the TIG Brush instead. Jean found that with using the TIG Brush onsite, cleaning was so much easier and faster, and she was absolutely thrilled with the results. After cleaning the tea-stained areas with the TIG Brush and applying the neutralising fluid, she then applied a small amount of liquid silicone to each tie wire. On visiting the sculpture a few months later, she found it still looked really good and clean. In her own words, “being a one-person studio, the time and less effort I have had to spend on cleaning is amazingly helpful and the cleaning itself is so much better”.
Jean Theron Louw
Weld cleaning and passivation of sculpture “The View”
Stainless Steel: 316 bar, mesh and tie wires
Gearings Point, Hermanus, South Africa
TB-25 Weld Cleaning Fluid
TB-42 Neutralizing Fluid
Prior to using the TIG Brush, Jean had used pickling paste to clean her stainless steel welds. With the TIG Brush she found significant advantages:
Result 1: Easier to use and a better result. Jean found the TIG Brush produced better results than any pickling paste product she has ever used.
Result 2: Saved time. Jean found that she could clean faster with the TIG Brush. Before it took her hours, with the TIG Brush the same amount of cleaning can be done within a matter of minutes.
Result 3: Safer for humans and the environment. Jean also points out that the TIG Brush was a better solution because it uses fewer corrosive chemical, so it is not only safer for her to use but safer for the environment as well. This is something she cares about a great deal as the purpose of her work is to awaken a consciousness of our connectivity to the planet as a whole.