Clay to Bronze
The Lost Wax Process



The lost wax process is used to transform the clay sculpture into the finished bronze, creating a lasting legacy to the subject.

Enlarge Image

Dismantling the sculpture for the life sized bison. -lost wax The process of making a bronze sculpture - Clay to BronzeThe Lost Wax Process
Click Image For Related Information
Dismantling the sculpture for the life sized bison.

The best sculptors, either do the foundry work themselves or participate in foundry the process to assure the quality of their finished sculpture.

The foundry work is so extensive that it can take months to create a single bronze from the original clay sculpture to the finished casting.


Enlarge Image

Making the molds for the life sized bison. -lost wax The process of making a bronze sculpture - Clay to BronzeThe Lost Wax Process
Click Image For Related Information
Making the molds for the life sized bison.


The clay sculpture, once completed, must be dismantled and divided into appropriate sizes for the molding process to begin.

The mold making requires silicone rubber to be painted on the original clay. This will reproduce the detail of the original clay sculpture.

Enlarge Image

Mike pouring hot wax into part of the bison mold. -lost wax The process of making a bronze sculpture - Clay to BronzeThe Lost Wax Process
Click Image For Related Information
Mike pouring hot wax into part of the bison mold.


Molten wax is painted or poured into the mold to make a wax copy of the original clay.

The wax is retouched to remove any imperfections in order to match the quality of the original sculpture.

Enlarge Image

Waxes invested with the ceramic shell waiting for the burnout process. -lost wax The process of making a bronze sculpture - Clay to BronzeThe Lost Wax Process
Click Image For Related Information
Waxes invested with the ceramic shell waiting for the burnout process.

Each wax is invested in a ceramic shell that picks up the detailed surface. After 6 to 8 coats of ceramic, the completed shell is placed in a burnout oven pre-heated to 1,800 degrees.

The wax is eliminated and the detailed image is retained in the ceramic shell. Thus the lost "wax casting" process.

Enlarge Image

Bronze in liquid form poured into the ceramic shell -lost wax The process of making a bronze sculpture - Clay to BronzeThe Lost Wax Process
Click Image For Related Information
Bronze in liquid form poured into the ceramic shell


The pre- heated shells are placed in a bed of sand for support. The molten bronze ( 2,100 degrees F) is poured into each shell replacing the burnt out wax.

The bronze copy of the original clay has just been reproduced in bronze metal.

Enlarge Image

Mike welding bronze castings together for the life-sized buffalo. -lost wax The process of making a bronze sculpture - Clay to BronzeThe Lost Wax Process
Click Image For Related Information
Mike welding bronze castings together for the life-sized buffalo.


The shells are cooled, and the ceramic is broken away from the bronze. The bronze is sandblasted and welded together like a jigsaw puzzle.

The welded seams are then ground or chased out using high speed grinders. The sculpture is sandblasted and ready for the patina.

Enlarge Image

Mike putting on the final touches. -lost wax The process of making a bronze sculpture - Clay to BronzeThe Lost Wax Process
Click Image For Related Information
Mike putting on the final touches.


The patina is the process that produces the final color of the bronze. Chemicals are applied to the bronze cause a color change.

Once the desired effect is achieved, the bronze is waxed and polished.


Page Relevance: lost wax, foundry
Site Relevance: Wildlife Art in Bronze, Flanagan, Metal art, sculpture, wildlife, Monumental, lifesize, artist, monuments, statue, art,