I like to start with a block of Victory Brown Microcrystalline Wax and cut it into pieces that are more manageable to model by hand.
After the wax model is finished I add channels for the metal to run into the piece seen here as the red wax additions. Hot metal flows easily through thick areas, but cools as it reaches smaller areas so extra channels need to be added to these parts. After the piece is poured these channels are cut off and recycled.
When all of the water and wax are removed it is ready to be poured. The metal is poured into the cup at the top and fills the negative space in the ceramic shell where the wax used to be. So everything that was red or brown wax in the photo above is now bronze.
Once I am done fixing any flaws I can decide if I want to mount it on a base or have it free standing. Then I finish the surface with a chemical patina or a bright polish and the piece is ready to be displayed.
I use a variety of hand tools, my
favorites being a propane torch and a slightly bendable serrated knife,
to accomplish a wax model of exactly what I will be casting. So
whatever I make in wax will hopefully come out as an exact replica in
For this piece I used a mold-making technique called ceramic shell. In this process, the mold is built up slowly with alternating layers of silica sand and a liquid ceramic shell that hardens as it dries. Once the shell is built up to an appropriate thickness I turn it upside down and bake it to remove all of the wax from inside as well as all of the water from the ceramic shell itself.
From here, I remove all of the ceramic shell with a hammer and a wire brush to reveal the piece inside. Then I cut all of the channels off with an angle grinder and inspect the piece for any flaws that may need extra attention.