What is Cast Bronze?
Bronze is a metal alloy comprised mostly of copper (about 95%) and tin. It is an extremely hardy, durable metal, lasting for centuries! The other elements in bronze can include phosphorus, manganese, aluminum and silicon. Sculptures cast in bronze are created using the lost-wax casting process and are sometimes referred to as hot-cast bronze. Our pieces at ICON Artworks are cast in silicon bronze, the highest quality bronze alloy used for sculpture.
What is the "Lost-Wax" Casting Method?
The "Lost-Wax" method of casting is an ancient process dating back thousands of years to ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. It is still the best method for capturing exquisite detail in metal objects, which could not otherwise be produced given the complexity of their design. The process allows anything modeled initially in clay...and later molded in wax...to be recreated fully and faithfully into various metals. It is a demanding and expensive process, but rewards the artisan with an object of great detail and individuality.
Click here for a great video tutorial on Lost-Wax Bronze Casting
What are the steps to the "Lost-Wax" Casting Method?
STEP 1 Making the Mold:
This step is by far the most critical. All the detail which appears on the sculpture must be captured in the mold. The mold (depending on the size of the sculpture) is cut into sections for casting.
STEP 2 Making the Wax Casting: Molten wax is poured into the mold to form layers of wax. This wax model is an exact duplicate of the original casting.
STEP 3 Chasing the Wax: The wax is pulled from the mold and hand chased (re-detailed) by a skilled artisan. Although the artist reproduces the original artwork, each piece may slightly differ from the next.
STEP 4 Spruing: Wax rods (gates) and pouring cups are attached to the wax casting in just the right positions. This will assure a full pour.
STEP 5 Casting the Ceramic Mold (Investment Casting): In a temperature controlled climate of 72 degrees Fahrenheit, the wax casting is dipped into "Investment" liquid several times. On the first dip a fine powder is applied. On the next dip a ceramic sand will be applied. This step is repeated several times, each increasing the coarseness of the material to create the ceramic mold. Between each dip, the ceramic layer must cure (dry) before another layer can be applied.
STEP 6 Burn-Out: The ceramic shell is placed in a kiln and fired. The shell bakes and the wax is melted (lost) from the shell. This creates a hollow ceramic shell mold. Thus the term “Lost Wax.”
STEP 7 Casting: The ceramic shell (mold) is removed from the kiln and immediately the molten bronze is poured into the shell. At the time of pouring, the bronze is 2100 degrees Fahrenheit.
STEP 8 Break-Out: After the casting has cooled several hours, the shell is carefully broken away leaving the unfinished bronze.
STEP 9 Sandblasting: Any fragments of the ceramic shell are removed by sandblasting. The sculpture is also carefully inspected at this point.
STEP 10 Assembly: Some assembly may be required if a piece is cast in multiple parts. At this time all the pieces of the sculpture are welded together by our skilled craftsman.
STEP 11 Chasing: All the weld marks are chased and re-detailed.
STEP 12 Glass Beading: This is similar to sandblasting. The glass is extremely fine to ensure an even bronze finish.
STEP 13 Polish: The raw bronze sculpture is now hand polished in preparation for the patina.
What is a “Patina” and How to Care for your Sculpture
Patina refers to the colors of the surface of a bronze or similar metal. The sculptor creates this color by applying chemicals on the sculpture with heat. Patina is also the natural reaction of bronze to atmospheric conditions, such as chemicals and humidity. To deter changes in the patina, the artist or the foundry will protect the patina with coats of wax or a lacquer. Because atmospheric elements constantly work on metal surfaces after leaving the foundry, certain steps can be taken by the owner to preserve the original patina. Care and Cleaning: Sculpture, whether Cast Bronze or one of our Cold-Cast pieces using metal (or stone) powders and modern casting resins, is fragile...so steps must be taken to preserve their appearance. Care of Cast Bronze: Bronze is an extremely hardy, durable metal, lasting for centuries! The patina is the most delicate part of your bronze. The first caution is to do no harm. Display your bronze sculpture in a location that will best preserve it. Bronzes should be displayed in ventilated areas away from excessive heat and humidity. Attics and basements should be avoided. Keep your sculpture clean by dusting it with a soft cloth, soft shoe brush, toothbrush or the nozzle brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner. If de-greasing or heavier cleaning is required, test a small area first, cleaning it with a mild soap and distilled water. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry thoroughly. Waxing: Instead of using waxes or polishes that may contain cleaning agents, foundries recommend Johnson’s Traffic Wax, Mohawk Blue Label Paste Wax or Renaissance Wax which is inert and will not yellow over time. A very thin, even coat of wax should be applied with a soft brush and buffed with a rag or soft bristle brush. Highly humid areas may call for more frequent applications. Allow the wax to sit and dry from six to twelve hours before polishing. A second coat of wax will add additional gloss if desired. There is no harm in waxing a sculpture more frequently. Cleaning and Care Cautions: If, in the cleaning process you find special coatings or unusual varied patinas, take care to not alter the surface or remove coloring that could damage the future value of the sculpture. Don’t use abrasive polishes, brushes or chemicals which could scratch the metal surface. Some bronze owners prefer to let the wax coating wear thin and enjoy the natural reaction and aging process of the patina. Care of Cast Pewter, Cold-Cast Resin, Metal or Stone Sculptures:
The best way to care for cold-cast sculpture is similar to traditional cast bronze. We recommend simply dusting the sculpture with an untreated cloth, using NO cleaning chemicals and avoid direct sunlight. To remove fingerprints, wipe it with a clean, damp cloth (damp with water, NOT chemicals). Questions, Concerns or Repairs:
Contact our artisans at ICON Artworks concerning any significant changes to your sculptures patina or if your sculpture becomes damaged or needs repair. Call us at 913-602-8981 or Email at Contact@iconartworks.com
. In the meantime, enjoy your sculpture as a beautiful work of art.
What is Cast Pewter?
After platinum, gold and silver, pewter is the fourth-most-precious metal in the world. The Fine Pewter at ICON Artworks is a LEAD-FREE metal alloy comprised mostly of tin (about 92%) and copper. The other elements in pewter can include antimony and bismuth. Pewter has been used since the Bronze Age because of its lustrous silver finish, its malleability, durability and its ability to capture incredibly fine detail in sculpture, jewelry, etc. Pewter does not rust or deteriorate and can therefore be enjoyed for generations. The melting temperature is a very low 239 to 246 degrees Celsius.
What is "Cold-Cast" or "Bonded" metal, stone & resin?
"Cold-cast" metal, stone and resin utilizes metal or stone powders and modern casting resins poured directly into a mold. For example, nickel-silver powder can be mixed with a dense, odorless, non-toxic water-based polymer to create a pewter effect. This method bypasses the lengthy lost-wax casting process and is, therefore, a more economical alternative to traditional hot-cast sculptures in which molten metal is used. Our refined cold-casting techniques result in works of incredible detail and texture. The late KU art Professor Elden C. Tefft pioneered modern cold-casting methods. These new methods were necessitated by the dramatic rise in the cost of copper (the main component of bronze) and other metals.
Click here for a great video tutorial on Metal Cold Casting Technique
Laser Engraving, Customization & Personalization
Let us customize or personalize your sculpture to commemorate any event or achievement. Customization can incorporate logos or other graphics which are laser engraved directly into the surface of the polished, marble base. Email us with any questions you have at firstname.lastname@example.org
3D Laser Scanning
ICON Artworks has the flexibility of producing alternate sized sculptures cast in a variety of materials by utilizing 3D Laser Scanning technology which captures the exact shape and texture of any object. 3D Laser Scanning dramatically reduces the production timeline and enable us to go from scan to mold quickly and produce precise replicas in any size imaginable.
Shipping & Distribution
ICON Artworks uses secure, insured and guaranteed delivery services from USPS & Fed Ex for the majority of our sculptures. Notification of your shipment(s) and any available tracking numbers will be emailed to you as soon as items complete the packing and shipping process. Transit time depends on the shipping method you select. The full amount of shipping and processing will be charged when the first item on an order ships. For example, if you order one item that is in stock and two that are not, we'll send you the item that is in stock now and charge you for the shipping of all three. The other two items will follow as soon as they are available, with no additional shipping charges. Contact Matt Palmer at Matt@iconartworks.com for questions regarding expedited shipping options. Policy details subject to change without notice.
Installations, Service & Repair
Installations: With over 15 years of experience installing indoor and outdoor sculptures, we'll consider all aspects of public safety, security, and sculptural enhancement. All installation prices are quoted before any new work is started. You can also receive a quote on the installation of an existing sculpture you have or need to relocate. Service and repair: Bronzes are made to last generations, and they will do so. However, anything - including bronzes - can be compromised with enough time. The good news is that bronzes are also repairable. Even if a piece is missing, it is possible to sculpt a replacement piece and weld it into place. Also, over time the patina of a sculpture will change. It can be mechanically cleaned to make the piece look new. However, part of the beauty of a bronze is that it takes on a unique, natural patina caused by atmospheric elements in the environment surrounding the sculpture. Contact Matt Palmer at Matt@iconartworks.com with any questions you may have.
Total Satisfaction Guarantee (Refund Policy)
ICON Artwork’s offers an unconditional 30-Day Total Satisfaction Guarantee
. Our goal is that you will be 100% satisfied with your purchase from us. If for any reason you are not, we will correct the situation immediately. Our top priority is to provide the best products and service possible. If for any reason you are not satisfied with your purchase, you may return the item(s) in original condition for a full refund within 30 days of purchase. Since ICON Artworks offers limited edition works of art, some pieces may sell out. If so, we might not be able to send a replacement and will give you a refund instead. Products must be returned in their entirety (no partial cases) in the original condition and packaging (items sent to you in mint condition must be returned in mint condition), in saleable condition, without missing parts, and with the invoice (either the original or a copy). Your form of payment will be credited for the price of the items and any taxes. This credit will not include any original shipping and processing charges, unless the products are damaged when you receive them. Your credit will appear after ICON Artworks receives and processes your returned item, as long as the item meets all criteria stated in this return policy. Credit card companies vary on the time it takes for credit to appear on their customers' records. Please allow one to two billing cycles for any refund to show up on your statement.
Shop with Confidence
Protecting your privacy is of the utmost importance to us. We use state-of-the-art encryption technology (SSL) to protect your credit card/personal information. Your information is 100% safe when you shop with us. You will never be liable for any unauthorized charges and we will never share your information with outside sources. We sometimes email you to alert you of special sales or new arrivals, but you are free to opt-out of these messages with one click.
Can you leave special instructions for the delivery person?
We often receive requests from customers for a delivery person to leave a package on the porch, next door, in the backyard, etc. Unfortunately, we cannot pass on this information to the shipping company. No shipping carrier gives us the ability to communicate special delivery instructions to their drivers. Our suggestion is that you contact your regular delivery person and inform him or her of any special requests.
What is "Made to Order"
Order this item now! This item is made to order. It is manufactured after your order is placed and may take 60 to 90 days to arrive. Please note that the arrival date is estimated and subject to change at any time due to possible delays. Therefore, after you order, please check your account for updated information. PLEASE NOTE: Some "Made To Order" items require a deposit.
Will I receive an e-mail confirmation of my order?
Yes, you will receive an Order Confirmation email with your Internet Order Number immediately after you click the "Place Your Order" button. You will also get Order Status and Shipping Confirmation emails. Furthermore, if you have items on backorder for more than 30 days, you will receive monthly Order Status e-mails.
Is your website secure?
Yes. We use an Extended Validation(EV) Authenticated Secured Socket Layer(SSL) Certificate provided by Network Solutions that encrypts data that you transmit over the internet. This level of security is maintained and upgraded to the standards of the most current technology available.
Is your art made in the USA?
Yes, ICON Artworks sculptures are proudly handcrafted exclusively in America. We believe in the American Dream and we’re committed to supporting our economy and human rights. We are active members of the Fair Labor Association and also believe in environmental responsibility. Part of that commitment is reflected in our packaging....which uses 100% recycled or recyclable materials.
Do you charge sales tax?
ICON Artworks is located in Leawood, KS. Sales tax on our website is calculated and estimated for orders shipping to addresses in Kansas. Once your order is placed, you will receive an email confirmation with an updated sales tax amount to reflect the exact rate for your destination.