Following on from the wax burn out in the foundry, my molochite shells were heavier than they previously were and didn’t feel so fragile to touch. I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of the weight of the process once the wax was melted out, but it was still quite heavy.
The introduction into bronze pouring in the foundry was interesting, because it taught me how to set up for a bronze pour, and the three positions needed to proceed with a pour.
The positions were;
1) the main pourer – this person is responsible for controlling the crucible;
2) the deadman – this person is responsible for holding the other end of the jaws for the crucible, and offer extra weight support and nothing else – this was my role; and
3) the dossiere – this role is possibly the most important of all as this person is responsible for clearing debris and rubbish from the crucible, providing a nice clean bronze pour.
(Video courtesy of Roxanne).
I found the experience of partaking in the bronze pour to be an exhausting one – the protective gear we had to wear was thick, uncomfortable leather with gloves that were far too big for my hands and really cool space boots (I liked the space boots). I understand why we had to wear the protective clothing, but it didn’t really help prevent overheating or heat exhaustion, and I found the clothing was restrictive, as I couldn’t bend down very far which resulted with me bending with my back when lowering the crucible than with my knees.
Unfortunately the fast pour into my shell caused shock and ripped through the shell casing, which let air into my mould and this caused some warping throughout the rest of my bronze pour.
After the bronze pour, we had an induction into the grinders and machine operated saws to remove the excess bronze tree form, such as the runners and main body. I personally didn’t enjoy the method as I found the excess machinery’s noise caused headaches (mind you, there was about 4 of us doing it all at once so possibly not as bad when alone), but I also found the speed of the machine tools made me panic. I will use them again though, as it defeats using a hand axe-saw to try cut into the metal form as the hand axe-saws took about 45 minutes to cut through one runner.
My medals still need work – they need fixing up from the warping issue with welding and I also need to start considering pattination and further developing my design as I am currently unhappy with how it is perceived.
I casted another medal in resin and spoke to Martin about using a dremel to work into them and polish them up. This produced a more metallic finish, than which the resin originally appeared plastic and not what I was expecting it to be. I’m happier with these but I also used lino cutters to work into the medals more, to develop deeper cuts and ridges. I’ve decided I am going to work into these resin ones more for Craft in the Bay.