I documented the process of casting my bronze elephant Zulu. The first set of pictures start with the wax version of the elephant I poured. Each bronze I do requires a new wax, because the wax is melted out of the investment mold, “Lost wax”. Then I cut the ears off so I can pour them separately and also make an opening for the slurry shell to pass through. In order to keep a uniform thickness of the sculpture, we have to mold the inside as well as the outside. I also cut the trunk, tusks, tail and some of the feet. Then the gates and pour spouts are added.
After the wax is gated and the pour spouts are on, its time to make the investment mold. This is a one time mold that can withstand the heat of the bronze, 2000 degrees! For this process the wax is dipped into the slurry mix and then immediately dipped into a sand mix. It needs 8 to 9 coats to get the proper thickness. Each layer needs time to dry in between coats. If you have lots of fans on you can do two in a day, 8 hours in between coats. Once the investment mold is done, the wax is melted out, leaving the negative elephant. Then the bronze is poured in.
Once the bronze cools, the plaster shell is broken off the bronze. Getting the shell out of the inside of the elephant is not easy. Then I will sandblast him, to clean him up for welding.
Now its time to weld and grind. Once the parts are welded on, the seems need to be ground down and then retextured so it looks like they were always there. It takes a lot of skill.
Below is the final bronze sculpture, #2 of the edition. The grinding and texturing has to be perfect on this one because I didn’t do a patina. I loved him in the bronze so much that I left him without patina, he is just sealed on a granite base. Thanks for following, Adam