Fan the Flame

Many years ago, when I was young and in art school, sprewing up our waxes, burning out the molds, melting bronze in the furnace and pouring the glowing molten bronze was a highlight of the college quarter. When we knocked off the "ludo" to reveal the solid casting inside, it felt like Christmas. I'm not making large sculptures anymore, but my mandolins need tailpieces so I'm trying to remember all the details of casting bronze. 


I made a little furnace from fire-brick and looked online for burner designs. That was fun, the flame kept back burning into the burner until I got the air intake right. A little hair drier blower really got the thing going and the bronze was over 2000 degrees in 25 minutes.




The casting went OK, but didn't get up into the vents all the way so the tailpiece will get melted back down and the bronze used again. After I get the bugs worked out of the design I'll cast several at a time. Here I'm just cleaning off the investment from the rough piece. There is something ancient and magic about melting metal and turning it into something unique and beautiful.