Friday, April 8, 2011

How to make a bronze bas relief award plaque honoring Bob Barker...Part 2

finished plaque (added after this post was first published)

I had planned to have Lee Wilson mold my calf, pull waxes, and then I'd letter each one directly onto the wax.
Luckily I like to run my plans past Lee when they involve production steps since he's very efficient and always thinking the next step (or three) ahead to streamline the process from mold making to metal chasing, since he works on all the steps in between.

He thought it would be awkward for me to letter them directly onto the thin, delicate waxes.
And doing it twice would be no fun!

So he gave me a big chunk of wax with a smooth surface to letter on, which he would pull rubber from, and make waxes of the lettering to chop into the plaque.

That way, if anything went wrong it would be possible to assemble another wax with much less fuss and bother.

So I traced over the lettering with a ball point pen, which left a nice indentation on the wax.
And I used some white 'trace down' type paper to put in the horizontal lines.

Metal ended tool with a stalk and a ball shaped end

Rubber mold

 Lee finds household appliances handy for melting wax.
He's very careful not to pour molten wax on himself, as the hair on his arms reveals.

Trimming the edges of the lettering...

Lettering cut into place...

After the lettering  has been cut into the plaque Lee 'welded' it in place with hot wax.
Then I used a scrapey tool to carefully chase away the nasty looking weld, Lee cleaned it up with mineral spirits, I re-tooled the lettering to sharpen it up a bit and etched my name into the bottom edge and it's ready for a trip to the foundry for spruing, investing, burnout, casting and de-molding.

I'm making two: one for Mercy For Animals to present to Bob, and one for me, which will also serve as insurance against anything going wrong with the casting.

If one gets messed up somehow, there's a back-up.
Hopefully all will be well though!

Wax welding

Lettering in place before clean up

Lettering in place after clean up

Off to the foundry...!

I like the clean look around the lettering, so I decided to leave out additional cloud elements.
However I'm using the original art to make a new piece starring the same calf, but with a new background of clouds and rain, which I'll feature in an up-coming post...

Click these links to visit my website... - Sculpture that loves you back
or my Etsy store, CritterVille

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