For the Love of Bronze

IMG_1928Little did I know, but I was in for a real treat on my last visit to Milwyn Fine Art Foundry.  If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll already know how much I love bronze, the alchemy of it and the ancient skills involved in the processes (previous blog posts are in the archives – Sep and Jul 2011).  But for all that, I had never witnessed an actual ‘pour’…

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The clue was the gentle roar emanating from the corner of the foundry and the flames rising up from the furnace.  I had only gone to check the metal work on my latest two commissions and to oversee patination so I was super excited when Alex mentioned that I might also get to witness the pour of his latest batch.

 

IMG_1954Every now and again Alex would pop across to cautiously drop another bronze ingot into the hungry flames.  They were now taking on an impressive green hue – I guess from the high copper content of the bronze…

Eventually, Alex declared that it was time to start suiting up – all manner of protection, from dark glasses through ear defenders and heavy overalls & gauntlets.

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Alex swung open the furnace and the workshop suddenly took on a menacing orange hue and the air temperature climbed noticeably – I stared into the crucible of palpably menacing molten bronze – now an incandescent bright orange.

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Before swinging out the crucible with the aid of an overhead gantry and pulleys, Alex ladled off impurities – he was then ready for the pour itself…

What really surprised me was just how liquid molten bronze is – I thought it might be like say syrup but in fact it was as viscous as water.

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The molten bronze is poured into the ceramic shell moulds which themselves are buried in a sand box with only the entry funnels showing.  Alex made it look easy as he dextrously wheeled the glowing crucible and poured the precious metal – without spilling a drop!

For more information on Milwyn, you can see their web site here; http://www.milwyn.co.uk/milwyn/Home.html

 

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One Response to For the Love of Bronze

  1. That’s a vivid description of the process – I can feel the heat from here 🙂

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