21 Photos - Jul 10, 2011
Photo: Greenman
a bronze piece I poured using Ernie's furnace to melt the metal. It is 15 inches tall and weighs about 40 lbs.Photo: We split the molds and dress up the latent images. This method of metal molding is called "cope and drag."Photo: It starts with pounding to firm some black sand (carbon infused) around the original piece. This original was a light ceramic one that I ordered from a celtic art website. The sand is in two halves split down the middle of the mold with a little talc in between.Photo: In the case of Greenman the original was destroyed by the pounding; a gamble because the pour may fail. In the foreground you can see the image of a piece that Cheri pounded up.Photo: The furnace is freakin' hot, way too hot to stand near without the heat suit. I pick out the odd bits of copper and brass from a bucket, a collection that Ernie has gathered from here and there.Photo: I forget how hot, I think more than 2000 F.Photo: Ernie is adding the little pieces of metal to the crucible in the furnace.Photo: Cheri helps me suit up. The glasses are special too and make it almost too dark to see anything but the fire.Photo: Even with the suit this proximity is extremely uncomfortable, stingingly hot. We hurry to get the crucible out of the furnace.Photo: This furnace will melt about 200 lbs of bronze, or 80 lbs of Aluminum, same volume either way.Photo: We transfer from the grabber to the pourer thingy, sorry, ask Ernie for the proper nomenclature.Photo: Two men, two hundred pounds. Pouring ain't easy.Photo: One man controls the pour, the other justs help lift. Janet extinguishes small fires with a jug of water.Photo: We pour several molds that family and guests have been pounding up for the last day or two.Photo: Other than artsy stuff, we make parts for my brother's antique tractors.Photo: The more you pour, the lighter it gets, which is a relief.Photo: The left over material is poured into ingots to be re-melted at a future pour.Photo: I'm not sure what this is, a tractor part probably.Photo: After a few hours of cooling, we split the molds to see what worked and what didn't. Sometimes air pockets ruin everything. It is still too hot to handle without gloves, and even then we are quick.Photo: Greenman is born.Photo: Several hours of cleaning, grinding, and polishing, and a hole is drilled in back so he can hang.