Naked Bronze

I dropped off the wax at Dragon Castings Bronze Foundry in Eaton, Colorado on Monday June 9th. I worked at the foundry after graduating college. It was here that I learned about lost wax casting, spruing, dipping, burning out, knocking shell, sandblasting, welding, and chasing. I had the pleasure of developing life long friends like Gary Pitcher, Dale Hill, and Sharon Winter.
Sharon had the piece sprued by the next morning. Spruing is the application of a wax gate system to feed the molten bronze to the different parts of the sculpture. Some of the remains of the sprue bars are visible in the photos; the bull had one feeder on each foot, one on the chin of the bull, one on the chin of the snake, vents off the horns, ears, and a vent off the tail. There was a core hole placed in the back of the bull's head to let the slurry and silica sand drain easily while dipping to build up the shell, and of coarse the belly plug that was sculpted separate.
By Tuesday the 17th of June the bull was poured....amazing by any standards. On a typical foundry schedule a sculpture can spend an average of 4-6 weeks being prepared and poured. I called just to check on things with Sharon and she told me the bull was done. One small scare with the tail was corrected, it broke at the rump, but was fixed easily.
With no mold, everybody was holding their breath around the bull. Many things can happen with all the handling that needs to be done to prepare for a casting. Dale always relies on Murphy's Law, but fortunately these guys all know what they are doing.
So, I took a trip to the foundry on Monday the 23rd to weld and chase the bull. The bull weighs in at 24 lbs. Very thick, and sturdy. After a day of welding and grinding, I can see the end is near. From here, I'll will take the piece to have two of the feet drilled a tapped to mount the base.


It's Thursday night, June 5th, I have been working steadily throughout 23 days. The original clock design with roman numerals floating on the side of the bull was not working to my likings. I decided to make the clock look more like an ornate watch. After tightening things up there, I worked the vines that break up open space, placed spines on the cacti, claws in the cat foot, added the tail, and stamped the families initials into the leaves of the tree...
I have spoken with my Foundry, and plan to take the bull to them on Monday. Over the weekend I will look for anything squished from handling and tighten lines, or smooth any rough areas. Once the bronze is poured, I will weld and chase the sculpture. Trying to coordinate the patina, base, and crating within a few days of each other will be my next hill to climb. This has certainly been the most enjoyable project I have worked on for some time and I am pleased to be at this point....AND ahead of schedule!!