The Art of Lost Wax Casting
The Lost Wax Casting technique creates the most detailed bronze pieces that are exactly like the original. It is a very labor-intensive process with many steps starting with making a rubber mold of the original piece. The Mother Mold is made next of resin. This shell supports the rubber for the wax pouring process. Then a layer of wax is painted onto the rubber mold to capture all the detail. The mold is assembled and more wax is poured in until it builds up to about 1/4 inch, and the rest of the wax is poured out. When cool, the rubber mold is pulled off the wax & the artist will remove any imperfections. Wax rods, called gates, are attached at critical points & vents are created. When the wax is "lost" the gates become avenues for the molten metal to flow into the piece. Now a plaster shell is made by dipping the wax casting into powdered plaster sand. This will be repeated for several layers creating the Investment Casting. When complete the whole thing is put into a fire. As the plaster shell bakes, the wax is melted or"lost" leaving a hollow shell. As soon as it comes out of the fire, the molten bronze is poured in. When cool, a hammer is used to remove the shell. The piece is next subjected to extreme sandblasting. It is welded back together, repaired & finished. It is hand polished & prepared for patina. Lastly, a coat of wax is applied while it's hot to ensure the durability of color & finish. Understanding this process allows one to understand the cost of bronze & to truly appreciate what goes into a piece. Thailand & Nepal are well known for this bronze process.
Indonesia does the Bronze Sand Casting. It is similar in having many steps. But here the original is packed in sand.
In addition to bronze, you will see some pieces in other metals like iron, copper & silver.
She who knows the life flows, feels no wear or tear, needs no mending or repair.