Investment Mold Dewaxing and Firing


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Posted by David Conway on July 09, 19100 at 21:37:43:

I am about to make the plunge and acquire a melting furnace to cast my own bronze sculptures. It seems like many people are doing it, so I might as well as give it a go. This forum has been a great resource and inspiration for me. I have read as much as I can lay my hands on, and especially learned much from Tuck Langland�s book, �From Clay to Bronze.� I found this to be one of the single best single sources for those who want to cast bronze with investment molds. I understand pretty much all of the lost wax method. I have been making my own molds and casting pewter for years.

The part I find the most confusing, with conflicting information concerning different methods, temperatures, length of burnout, etc, is the dewaxing and firing of the investment mold. I have read most of the threads in this forum regarding this topic, but remain confused. Since so many of you have done this, I would appreciate hearing of your specific methods and experiences. My sculptures are representational figurative, small, approximately 16 to 20 inches high. Some of the confusing parts (for me anyway):

1. Is the dewaxing separate from the mold firing? What temperature is the best for dewaxing? I have heard everything from 400 degrees F for about one hour, to 1800 degrees F for six days.

2. Is steaming a better method of dewaxing? What are the pros and cons?

3. What is the least amount of time you can fire a mold, approximately 24 inches high by 16 inches in diameter, until it is ready to pour? After firing, can a mold be stored until ready for the pour?

4. What do most people use for the burn out? I�ve heard of everything from Raku Kilns to homemade jobs. If you use a propane-fuel set-up, how large of a tank is required for a four to six day burnout? Is there any oven specifically manufactured for this purpose?

5. What temperature should an investment mold be at when ready to pour the bronze.

Please assume I know nothing (not far from the truth here) about this process, and be as DETAILED as possible. I have found that so much literature on the subject just seems to gloss over these details and assume you know what is going on. I unfortunately have no one�s brain in the area that I can pick for such information, and you are my only resource. Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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