BRONZE - The Lost Wax Process

The lost wax processs involves three stages:

1. Plastaline (oil based clay) model worked entirely by artist
2. Hollow wax model made from mold at foundry and finished by artist
3. Finished and patinated bronze.

Stage 1 - modeling in an oil based clay

The first stage of modeling in an oil based clay is usually on an armature. The armature provides the skeleton for the piece, with wires allowing for movement and bending of limbs. The clay is called plastaline which being oile based is quite firm and does not dry our. Once the artist has finished the piece to theier satisfaction, it is brought to the foundry to have stage 2, the mold made.

Stage 2 - hollow wax model

The second stage of mold making involves layers of rubber composite painted carefully over the clay building up to several inches. Once this dries a second layer of plastic is coated over providing stability. Heated wax is then poured into the mold which once cooled is separated out. The artist works the wax to repair any alterations that may have occured. When the artist is satisfied the wax is what's called "gated" - lots of tubes attached to act as vents for the gases from the molten bronze. A good mold maker is imperative. The wax is then dipped in a liquid substance many time to create a protective shell around the wax. Once this is dried, the wax is melted out and "lost".

Stage 3 - the pour

This shell leads to the third stage,"the pour". Once the wax is "lost" the molten bronze is poured into the casing. Th resulting bronze still requires much work from the skilled foundry staff removing rough edges where gateswere added. the artist performs the final touch up fixing any imperfections that have occured. The bronze is now ready for final step of patina application to achieve the correct color.