How It’s Made

How Your Sculpture Is Handcrafted Using The “Lost Wax” Process

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. The mold (depending on the size of the sculpture) is cut into sections for casting.

2. Making the Wax Casting:

Molten wax is poured into the mold to form layers of wax. This wax model is exact duplicate of the original casting.

3. Chasing the Wax:

The wax is pulled from the mold and hand chased (re-detailed) by a skilled artisan. Although the artist reproduces the original artwork, each piece may be slightly different from the next.

American Bronzes Chasing the Wax how to make a bronze sculpture image

4. Spruing:

Wax rods (gates) and pouring cup are attached to the wax casting in just the right positions. This will assure a full pour.

American Bronzes Spruing - how to make a bronze sculpture image

5. Casting the Ceramic Mold (Investment Casting):

In a temperature controlled climate of 72 degrees 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 coarse ceramic sand will be applied. This step is repeated several times, each increasing the coarseness of the material to create the ceramic mold. After each dip, the ceramic layer must cure (dry) before another layer can be applied.

6. Burn-Out:

The 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. Thus the term “Lost Wax”.

7. Casting:

The ceramic shell (mold) is removed from the kiln and immediately the molten bronze is poured into the shell. At the time of pouring, the bronze is 2100 degrees Fahrenheit.

8. Break-Out:

After the casting has cooled several hours, the shell is carefully broken away leaving the unfinished bronze.

9. Sandblasting:

Any fragments of the ceramic shell are removed by sandblasting. The sculpture is also carefully inspected at this point.

10. Assembly:

At this time all the pieces of the sculpture are welded together by the skilled craftsman.  All the weld marks are chased and re-detailed.

11. Chasing:

All the weld marks are chased and re-detailed

12. Glass Beading:

This is similar to sandblasting; the glass is extremely fine to ensure an even bronze finish.

13. Polish:

The raw bronze sculpture is now hand polished in preparation for the patina.

14. Patina:

The bronze is first heated. The patina chemical is hand applied by the skilled artist.

15. Waxing:

The wax is hand applied with heat to ensure a beautiful lustrous patina.

16. Mounting and Inspection:

The bronze is mounted on a marble base (except for monumental & heroic sizes which have a bronze base) and ready for the final inspection, then packaged and shipped. Our customers will be assured to receive a fine quality sculpture.