To truly understand the bronze reproductions process, one must study the ancient methods of
"lost wax" casting. In search of perfecting this process, some foundrys add or modify a step or two. Proven over time, this
overall method clearly captures the essence, true to the detail of the original sculpture. Having someone skilled
in carrying out every step dramatically affects the finished product.
Step 1. Making the Mold from an original work of art:
This step is by
far the most critical. All the detail which appears on the original sculpture must be captured in this mold because details
can not be recaptured later in the process. The mold (depending on the size of the sculpture) is cut into sections for casting.
Step 2. Making the Wax Casting:
Only the best of art casting waxes is poured into the mold created in multiple layers to cover all interior surfaces.
After cooling, the mold is removed revealing an exact duplicate of the original bronze.
Step 3. Chasing and Gating the Wax:
The wax is then pulled from the mold and hand chased (re-detailed) by a skilled artisan to make sure that they are free of
seam lines and imperfections. Upon completion, a sereies of channels are added - called "gating"
- to allow gasses to escape and also molten metal to flow in evenly during the bronze pour later in the process
Step 4. Casting the Ceramic Mold (Investment Casting):
In a temperature controlled climate of 72 degreees Fahrenheit, the wax casting is dipped into Investment liquid several times.
On the first dip a fine powder is applied. On the next dip a course ceramic sand will be applied. This step is repeated several
times, each increasing the coarseness of the material to create the ceramic mold. Between each dip, the ceramic layer must
cure (dry) before another layer can be applied.
Step 5. Burning Out the wax:
ceramic shell is placed in a kiln and fired. The shell bakes and the wax is melted (lost) from the shell. This creates a hollow
ceramic shell mold where the bronze will be poured. Thus the term "Lost Wax".
Step 6. Preheating the shells: Once
the wax is melted out, the now-empty ceramic shells are placed in another oven that bakes them a temperature of
1800 degrees F. This preheating process strengthens the shells and helps the molten bronze flow quickly throughout all
areas of the shells
Step 7. Casting:
The ceramic shell (mold) is removed from the kiln and immediately the molten bronze liquid is poured into the shell. At the
time of pouring, the bronze is 2100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 8. Break-Out the Shell:
After the casting has cooled several hours, the shell is carefully broken away leaving the unfinished raw cast bronze.
Step 9. Sandblasting:
Any fragments of the ceramic shell are removed by sandblasting. This also helps give an even texture to the surface of the
metal. The sculpture is also carefully inspected at this point.
Step 10. Assembly:
At this time the various pieces making up a single statue are meticulaously welded together into an assebled whole using an
argon gas welding system.
Step 11. Chasing:
All the weld marks are chased and re-detailed .
Step 12. Glass Beading or Grinding:
This is similar to sandblasting, the glass is extremely fine to ensure an even bronze finish. Some foundrys using precision
die grinders and other specialized tools, remove any imperfections from the metal surface.
Step 13. Polish:
The raw bronze sculpture is now hand polished in preparation for the patina.
Step 14. Patina -"Color":
This step, in particular, has distinguished the true superiority in creativity and skill in the artisans from one foundry
to the next. The bronze surface is first heated with a blowtorch. The patina chemical is hand applied with multiple coats
to react with the heat to create the gorgeous finish which is ultimately fused into the surface of the bronze. Afterwards,
thin coats of wax may be applied to give the sculpture a lustrous glow.
Step 15. Waxing:
After colling, wax is hand-polished and buffed to a sheen.
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Visit us often to find special Bronze Sculptures from the following artists: Auguste Rodin, Burghers of Calais, Les Bourgeois
de Calais, Eustache de Saint-Pierre, Andrieu de Andres, Jean de Aire, Jacques de Wiessant, Pierre de Wiessant, Jean de Fiennes,
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