I just completed my third week of a class in casting bronze offered by a local community college. The class provides the basics of the lost wax casting technique, which is commonly used in the creation of bronze sculptures. It is an involved process that consists of first preparing a wax replica of the item that you wish to create in bronze. A ceramic mold is then made of the wax replica. Next, Melted bronze is poured into the ceramic mold. Finally, the ceramic mold is chipped away revealing the bronze casting. This process creates a very detailed three dimensional casting but it is also complicated. And, as a few unfortunate students found out, it is a process that can easily go terribly wrong. I was fortunate to have successfully made it through the entire process without serious problems. The result is my sculpture of an old man waving.
I learned a lot from the class. I also have a better appreciation for why all of the bronze hardware found on our website is created using the much simpler and repeatable sand casting method. The bronze heat registers from Hamilton Sinkler and Classic Grilles are all produced using sand casting. Although not to the degree of lost wax casting, wonderful details can be created using sand casting. Hamilton Sinkler’s lion head door knocker and Victorian knob offer excellent examples of fine details that are achievable through sand casting.
Next week is the final week of the class. We will be finishing off our pieces by sand blasting and applying a patina to them. Look for an update in one of these postings next week.