Bronze Skull process

Bronze Skull - Neil Warburton

Lost Wax Bronze Skull

A close friend and artist Rick Dickinson had been working on some bird and animal sculptures in wax. He made a number detailed originals and then cast a set of reproductions to have a collection of waxes ready for a Bronze pour.

Rick invited me to get in on the action and make a small piece to go in with the pour he was about to embark on.

After some time wondering what to produce for a potentially throw away experiment I ended up going with an old favorite, the skull. I worked the piece in modelling wax over the course of an evening and passed it on to Rick to take along with his sculpts.

There is no doubt that I shall be using this process in the future to make a series of Bronzes, the whole process is fantastic and the final pieces keep all the original marks right down to fingerprints of the maker.

I was stunned at how well the final piece came out in the end.

The images below are a selection of shots I have during the process of getting from initial wax to the final mounted Bronze.

 

Wax Skull

Initial wax sculpt.

Wax Skull

process-1

Waxes all connected to a wax tree and treated ready for heat resistant ceramic slip.

process-2

Ceramic slip on wax trees, This forms the ‘shells’ into which the moulten bronze will eventually be poured.

 

more-process

The coated waxes are then put into a Raku Kiln and fired at 800 degrees Celsius to vitrify the shells and melt away the now redundant wax. Specialist, silicone bronze is melted in a crucible at temperatures exceeding 1200 degrees.

some-more-process-2

Specialist, silicone bronze is melted in a crucible at temperatures exceeding 1200 degrees and poured into the shells.

 

Skull-cast

The sculpt revealing itself from the shell, Initially the shell is chipped away with a hammer to reveal the bronze inside. As the process progresses a bead blaster is used to remove any remaining shell.

some-more-process

Ceramic shell in the deep pockets of the sculpt.

 

some-more-process-1

Careful removal of the sprues and runners is required now whilst trying to achieve the correct texture for that area which is missing on the sculpture from where the sprues were.

Bronze Skull

The bronze is very light and even in tone and colour, without any darkening it is very hard to spot the detail and beauty that lies within.

Once all the imperfections are resolved the sculpts are given a final bead blast to prepare the surface for patinating.

Bronze Skull

The final cleaned and perfected bronze ready for patination.

Bronze Skull

Bronze Skull - Neil Warburton

The final Bronze

 

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