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Bronze Casting Information and Bronze Metal History

Jun 11, 2008
Bronze Casting has been practiced for centuries. Many civilizations have used this alloy for weapons, sculptures, and general pieces of hardware. The popular way to cast bronze is the Lost Wax Casting process which was first used sometime in the 3000 BC near ancient Sumeria. The Lost Wax process is still used to this day and its modern equivalent Investment Casting is very popular with jewelry makers.

Bronze is the preferred alloy for metal working artists as it's relatively easy to work with and resistant to corrosion. The properties of bronze tend to be stronger than most other alloys, except of course for steel, and lends itself easily to the molding and casting process. Many small foundries like the kind that can be found in a backyard or workshop find that bronze is a great material to work with and with a melting point of 1,700 Fahrenheit or about 925 Celsius many homemade furnaces are able to melt down the bronze quickly and efficiently.

Many modern day artists create their own furnaces with the metal casting in mind. These metal casters employ the Lost Wax Casting method which proves to be the best when dealing with the alloy. The Lost Wax Casting is making an original of the sculpture from wax and then creating a mold using this original. Often times the original is lost during the mold making process so keep that in mind if you want to hang on to the original for whatever reason. Molten wax is poured into the mold which is chased or smoothed of imperfections. During this point, any other pieces are attached and small wax tubes are placed into the piece. These tubes will be how the molten bronze is going to travel into the piece replacing wax with the alloy. When this is complete the artist will create a ceramic shell around the wax model. This shell will help form the molten bronze which will melt the wax. When the molten bronze is poured the bronze takes place of the wax. Afterwards, the artist will crack the shell and reveal the bronze piece. This method allows the transfer of very exact detail from the wax to the bronze.

Patina is added to the figure at the artist's discretion. The Patina is a chemical that when applied to bronze creates colors and makes the bronze take an aged look. The Patrina compounds used depends on the type of color desired. Ferric Nitrate will make the bronze take on a red or brown color while Sulphurated Potash will make black and Cupric Nitrate will create blue and green. Modern day artists choose to go with a very high polished bronze instead of using these compounds. This step depends solely on the artist's taste and the look they are going for.

Bronze casting will remain a popular medium until another alloy is developed that exhibits properties that are easier to manage and are more resistant to corrosion. Casting the alloy is easily done so metal casters that want to experiment are encouraged to do so. Making anything from small figurines, large sculptures, and even cabinet handles can be accomplished with the use of bronze. The only limitations in bronze casting are with the caster himself.
About the Author
Go to Metal Casting Zone to get your free ebook on Metal Casting at Metal Casting. Metal Casting Zone also has Bronze Metal Forum, Bronze Casting Blog and a Metal Casting Blog with daily news on Metal Casting. You can Find Metal Casting Zone at www.metalcastingzone.com.
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