|Bronze casting is a multi-faceted procedure. There are over a dozen distinctive steps in the process from start to finish. Some seem self-explanatory while others are a bit more complicated.Modeling of the clay. This call never drys and is re-workd until Austin is satisfied of the final product. Typically he spends from 600 hours to 2,000 hours on life size and just over life size works.|
|In model making, the artist creates an original model from wax or clay.This is followed up with mold making, where a fiberglass or plaster case is made. The mother mold is important for supporting flexible material and is kept for future use to recreate the original as needed.A special layer of wax poured or painted into the interior of the mold, referred to as wax pouring, coats the mold.|
|Wax chasing allows the artisan to use a metal tool to clean air bubbles and parting lines, which ensures the reproduction is as close to the original as possible.Spruing & Gates sends the waxes to the spruing department. Tubes of wax are melted to the original wax as a way to provide pathways for molten casting material to flow.
From there a ceramic shell is created, where each piece is dipped into a slurry of colloidal silica and coated with sand. Repeated several times, bigger pieces receive thicker shells.
Burnout comes next, which involves de-waxing the wax sculpture.
|Testing/Patching/Preheat is where the pieces are tested to see if water will flow out. The shell is then reheated in the kiln to harden it and remove all traces of moisture. After reaching the desired temperature, molten bronze is poured in. This is called, not surprisingly, metal pouring.Once the bronze is cool, the ceramic shell is hammered, chiseled and sandblasted to in order to be released.Welding joins the pieces together that were just cast. This takes quite a bit of time and is a very skilled process.
Then metal chasing, similar to wax chasing, comes next. This is where grinding tools are used to grind down each weld. This is one of the most grueling processes of the sculpture making process.
Finishing touches include patina and basing, which is the chemical coloration of the surface of the bronze which is then sealed with a coat of wax or lacquer. Today, you can use just about any color under the sun. (This is one of Austin’s favorite steps as this is what people will see for generations to come)
Finally, the sculpture is ready for delivery and installation. Austin hand delivers every larger sculpture and installs it himself. This way, you are always going to get this highest of quality, care and customer service anyone can offer.