Bronze Casting Tours & the Lost Wax Process
Bronze Casting Tours are mornings and afternoons, Monday through Saturday.
Following a short film, you will see a complete hands-on demonstration. After a time for
questions and answers you will
visit the Hot Lake Springs Bronze Casting Facility. There, you will observe our artisans at work on
all stages of the bronze
casting process. You may have the opportunity to visit with David Manuel while he is working on a
clay. David enjoys sharing
the history and inspiration behind each piece.
Allow yourself plenty of time. We would like you to experience bronze from beginning to end.
Bring your camera and don't be afraid to ask questions.
This exclusive workshop is offered as an educational service to those that have paid admission into
the history center.
The Lost Wax Process
- The artist's completed sculpture is taken to the foundry where it is photographed and measured.
- The clay is then cut into pieces, depending on how the resulting molds will best pick up the
detail and receive the wax and metal poured into it. These molds—made of silicone rubber—are
covered with a thick, plaster outer mold.
- Several coats of wax are poured into a mold. After the wax has cooled, it is removed from the
- Wax chasers clean, smooth, and remove any imperfections left by the mold. Any imperfections
passed over—even a small scratch or bubble—won't be caught until the sculpture is in bronze. David
inspects each wax before it moves to the next step.
- The wax is then "sprued." The wax sculpture is attached to a wax cup with sprue wax channels.
These channels allow the metal to reach all the details of the sculpture.
- Eight coats of slurry are applied with 24 hours drying time between each coat, resulting in a
thick ceramic shell around the wax.
- These shells are put in a burn out oven and heated to 1500 degrees to melt out the wax, leaving
an empty cavity for the bronze.
- The hot shells go into the pouring room and are heated to 2200 degrees. The bronze casting
workers fill each shell with molten bronze.
- Sledge and jack hammers are used to carefully chip the shell off the bronze. The sculpture is
sandblasted to remove smaller debris.
- Metal toolers begin welding the pieces back together, aligning, buffing, grinding, and repairing the detail and texture until the sculpture looks as if it were cast in one piece.
- The final step is patina. Color is put on the bronze with heat and chemicals. Hot waxed seals
the patina and ceases any chemical reactions. After receiving a base, the bronze is ready to be
Click on Any Picture to Start Gallery