Bronze Casting Tours & the Lost Wax Process

Bronze Casting Tours are mornings and afternoons, Monday through Saturday.

Hot Lake Spring ~ David Manuel

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.

Hot Lake Spring ~ David Manuel

The Lost Wax Process

  1. The artist's completed sculpture is taken to the foundry where it is photographed and measured.
  2. 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.
  3. Several coats of wax are poured into a mold. After the wax has cooled, it is removed from the mold.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Eight coats of slurry are applied with 24 hours drying time between each coat, resulting in a thick ceramic shell around the wax.
  7. 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.
  8. The hot shells go into the pouring room and are heated to 2200 degrees. The bronze casting workers fill each shell with molten bronze.
  9. Sledge and jack hammers are used to carefully chip the shell off the bronze. The sculpture is sandblasted to remove smaller debris.
  10. 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.
  11. 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 displayed.

Click on Any Picture to Start Gallery

Hot Lake Springs ~ 
    Buffalo Hunters

Hot Lake Springs ~ 
    New Years 1812 Hot Lake Springs ~ 
    Shosone Moon

Hot Lake Springs ~ 
    Clay Indian Piece

Hot Lake 
    Springs ~ Painting Sculpture    Hot Lake Springs 	~ Welding Sculpture