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What is Bronze Casting and the “Lost Wax” Process?

How We Make A Bronze Statue:

At the Randolph Rose Collection, we cast bronze statues using the traditional “Lost Wax” casting method.

Bronze art casting using the ancient lost wax process has been around for thousands of years. This labor intensive process takes several weeks (sometimes months) from start to finish. Bronze is an alloy. It is a mixture of about 85% copper, plus small amounts of tin, zinc, and silicon.

We've broken down the casting process into some basic steps.

Important to remember: Copies of the original model are either positives – which are duplicates of the model that look just like the model itself, or negatives - molds of the model that fit the model (think of a glove on your hand).

  • 1.      The sculpted clay model is covered with silicone rubber. The rubber forms a mold of the original model and preserves all of the surface details of the original.
  • 2.      When the rubber hardens, it is covered with an outer layer of plaster. The plaster is rigid enough to support the rubber and keep the mold from changing shape when the wax is poured in.

·         When the plaster hardens, the rubber and plaster are removed.The rubber mold is a "negative" version of the original.

·         If we are going to make more than one copy of the finished statue, we can make additional molds at this point.

·         The rubber mold allows us to make several copies of the wax pattern which we want to cast in bronze.

  • 3.      Artisans repeatedly pour melted wax into the rubber mold to build up layers of wax inside the mold.

·         When the wax is hard, the mold is removed. This makes another "positive" like the original sculpture, except it's made out of wax instead of clay.

  • 4.      A crucial difference between the original model and the wax copy is that the wax version is hollow.

·         The thickness depends on how many times wax was added to the rubber mold.

·         Parts of the wax pattern may be cut off and cast separately in order for the ceramic mold to coat the inside of the wax pattern as well as the outside.

  • 5.      Wax sticks called "sprues" are attached to the wax pattern. Sprues make channels inside the ceramic mold to allow bronze to be poured into all parts of the mold.
  • 6.      The wax pattern is covered in another mold, called the "investment." This mold reproduces both the outside of the sculpture as well as filling the hollow interior of the wax pattern.
  • 7.      The wax pattern is dipped into ceramic slurry. This is repeated several times to make the investment strong enough to survive the casting process.
  • 8.      After drying, the ceramic is solid. The unfired ceramic and wax are put in a kiln and heated to melt the wax, which can be recovered and reused.

·         The ceramic is fired at a higher temperature to harden it and burn out the remaining wax.

·         The wax is now "lost" and the remaining ceramic is the second "negative" version of the original sculpture.

·         It is now ready to be filled with bronze.

 

  • 9.      Next is the bronze casting.

·         The ceramic mold is heated in a kiln.

·         Bronze ingots are melted and poured into the mold.

 

  • 10.    After the bronze cools, the ceramic mold is broken away from the bronze casting, leaving the last "positive" version of the sculpture.

·         The remains of the ceramic investment are sandblasted off.

·         If the sculpture was cast in separate pieces, they are welded together.

 

  • 11.    Chemicals, acids and heat are applied to get the desired patina.

 

  • 12.    Finally, wax is applied to the bronze for a protective finish.


How do I clean and maintain a bronze sculpture?
  1. Remove dust with a damp cloth.
    Do not use metal objects or wire brushes to clean the sculpture.
    Do not apply abrasives or cleansers that will possibly scratch the finish.
  2. ZUD – Non- Abrasive Cleaner. Use to remove stubborn stains. Zud cleans all metal surfaces including bronze. Zud can be used in powder or liquid form.
  3. Lemon Oil - Apply a small amount of oil with a paintbrush or soft cloth. Cover the entire figure with oil. Wipe the surface gently with a soft cloth to take off the excess oil.
  4. Paste Wax- A very thin, even coat of wax should be applied with a soft cloth. Allow the wax to sit and dry before polishing. Wax should be applied after bronze has been cleaned and dried. Do not apply if using lemon oil.
  5. Do Nothing: Many bronze owners prefer to sit back and enjoy the natural reaction and aging process of their sculpture.
What kind of sculpture is right for me?

We have a tremendous inventory of existing designs and unique items that we have been collecting for many years. After reviewing the website, Contact Us if you are unable to find what you are looking for. 

Why does my sculpture have different variations in color?

Each of our sculptures will have some variation in color. The patinas are hand applied which not only enhances the beauty, but also makes each sculpture unique in appearance.

How do I order?

Online Orders: Once you've placed items in your shopping cart follow the on-screen instructions to place your order.

Phone Orders:  Call Toll free at 800-462-5851. Our office is open Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 6:00pm. If we are unavailable, we will call you back as soon as possible or by the next business day.

Email Orders: Email info@RandolphRose.com with your name, billing/shipping address, email address & phone number. Include the model number & name of sculpture you would like to order. We will contact you to complete the transaction.

Payment: We accept all major credit cards, including: American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa. We also accept personal or business checks and PayPal. 

Delivery Timeline: Please allow 2-4 weeks for delivery of in-stock items. After placing your order, Randolph Rose Collection will contact you within 48 hours to give you an updated timeline of your delivery. If you have any questions before placing your order, please contact us at 1-800-462-5851.

Do you have retailers that sell your product near me?

We work with select retailers and galleries throughout the country. Contact Us for more information.

Do you offer custom work?

We do offer custom designs. See our Custom Sculpture page where you can submit a request for a quote on your own custom sculpture or contact us for more information.

How long will it take to get my sculpture?

We have an extensive collection of Bronze Sculptures, Fountains and Accessories.

In-stock sculptures will ship usually within two weeks.

Sculptures made to order - allow approximately 12-16 weeks.

Custom Bronze Sculptures vary depending on the size and complexity of the project.

Contact us at 914.423.2047 or Info@RandolphRose.com with any questions.

Where can I see you?

We are in the Alexander Smith Carpet Mills in Yonkers, New York. To view our collection, please make an appointment. Several times a year we showcase our latest designs at select trade shows. Contact us for locations, dates and times.