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  #1  
Old 12-25-2013, 02:19 AM
Art-Deco Art-Deco is offline
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Parks Bronze

I decided to drop Parks Bronze an email last night to see what they might charge to cast for me again.
Way back in 1992 I used to have my casts done there, but circumstances all around changed and I stopped doing the bronzes.

For some reason which I can't remember now, I had some casts done at Weston Studio-Foundry in New Mexico which I discovered is out of business and even their entire facility is completely gone to just a grassy field according to Google Street view.

Back in 1992 I had casts made when I sold them, they were basically made to order, since that was the case I never made any for myself. While cleaning things up in the basement shelves I looked over my polytek 74-40 urethane block molds for the models that were all made around 1991-1992 and they are all in excellent condition even after 21 years of storage, so I wanted to look into what it might cost now to cast some.

A client who purchased one of the bronzes back then, this one in fact:



He had it up for sale a few years ago on Ebay and I wound up winning it back for almost exactly what I had originally sold it for, the others in the series were all similar size and configuration about 6" tall to 7" and mounted on a marble base.
There was one slightly larger one which I had only cast one of, and he was heavy! I used to have them cast these completely solid and while they had reservations of casting the larger one solid they did and it turned out perfectly, it weighed 26# this was the model for it:







Parks used to charge $110 to cast these and then it went to $135, but that was 21 years ago and bronze was a lot cheaper than it is now too. I used to get the marble from Baja onyx cut to size and their prices were very reasonable.
Guess we'll see what they say the cost will be!

Back in '92 my method of casting the waxes was very untraditional but it was the only way I knew how to deal with all the undercuts caused by the figure standing on four legs and having fragile projections a rubber two piece mold I felt would not work well for. I made the models from plasticene and then made a multi-piece hydrocal plaster mold from that, and then made a set of polytek molds of each piece of the hydrocal.
It was those polytek molds from which I cast 50/50 plaster of Paris and sand waste molds from to pour the wax into.
The larger pieces usually pulled off easily enough and could be reused, the smaller pieces trapped under the body were just disolved and crumbled to remove.
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  #2  
Old 12-25-2013, 02:48 AM
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mantrid mantrid is offline
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Re: Parks Bronze

Im surprised that a commercial foundry would cast such small pieces individually for you.

To make a mould of this I would separate the dog from the base and do a three piece mould of the dog and a open mould for the base. then cast two separate waxes and join together
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Old 12-25-2013, 05:54 PM
Art-Deco Art-Deco is offline
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Re: Parks Bronze

I don't know, I assumed all foundries cast whatever the client needs cast provided it's within the capability of the foundry and their equipment.
They did suggest a place who makes centrifugal casts for jewelry for some medallions I also made back then, but only because their ceramic shell method would have been more expensive to cast them that way.
As they say "money talks" and few these days anyway can afford to turn down ANY work, that could be one reason why Weston-studio went out of business years ago, and Parks is still in business.

There's probably not a lot of calls these days for lifesize to 25 foot tall bronze civic monuments and maybe Weston turned away a lot of smaller jobs hoping to work on monumental stuff, but those kinds of projects don't pop up every week!

in my case I had told Parks I was not in a rush to get the cast immediately and they could cast the dog when they had some other casting going on, I supplied the finished wax and did the patina and mounting myself.
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Old 12-26-2013, 03:12 AM
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Re: Parks Bronze

yes casting it as an addition to a larger job would be the only way.

Firing up a relatively large furnace for a small single piece would lose them money, so they wouldn't necessarily take any work unless you could cover all the costs of doing so, fuel, raw materials consumables, electricity, wages of employees etc

let us know what they want to do it, it would be interesting to know
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Old 12-26-2013, 11:09 PM
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Re: Parks Bronze

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Originally Posted by mantrid View Post
yes casting it as an addition to a larger job would be the only way.

Firing up a relatively large furnace for a small single piece would lose them money, so they wouldn't necessarily take any work unless you could cover all the costs of doing so, fuel, raw materials consumables, electricity, wages of employees etc

let us know what they want to do it, it would be interesting to know
Sure, that's why I always let both foundries know in advance I wasn't in a hurry and could wait on the casting when they had a melt going on, would be ridiculous to fire up a furnace just to cast one $110 item even back then!

I'll post what I find out, I have a hunch they are closed thru the holidays and probably won't be back in the shop till the day after New Years to even read my email.
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Old 04-23-2014, 01:20 PM
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Re: Parks Bronze

For an update on this:

I never heard back from Parks despite emailing them twice, not even a FK-off peasant! were not interested!

I also didn't even get a response from another foundry, but did from a third one, this one is in California which quoted over $500 for the little 6" high casting ( I figured with inflation from the $110-$125 I paid in 1992 to do this the casting might be around $300-$350 today, ) but now it's over $500 and that's for an artist supplied wax, patina ready only.
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Old 04-23-2014, 07:23 PM
raspero raspero is offline
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Re: Parks Bronze

There are art foundries in other states. California has problems people who have never lived there can't even imagine. There are so many regulations, permits, inspections, insurance requirements, emission checks, etc. that businesses by the thousands are fleeing the state every year. I know I did.

Richard
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Old 04-24-2014, 01:19 PM
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Re: Parks Bronze

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Originally Posted by raspero View Post
There are art foundries in other states. California has problems people who have never lived there can't even imagine. There are so many regulations, permits, inspections, insurance requirements, emission checks, etc. that businesses by the thousands are fleeing the state every year. I know I did.

Richard

I know, it's insane, I sent inquiries to a Colorado and a NY foundry last night, we'll see.
$509 for this is pretty steep, especially when you add in my time and materials for making the wax, shipping it to them, shipping the bronze back to me, buying the marble base and engraved plate, doing the patina, monting it that $509 quickly comes closer to $750 and if you figure "two times foundry costs" for a retail price if I were to offer them for sale, they would have to be close to $1400.
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Old 04-24-2014, 01:47 PM
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Re: Parks Bronze

Its not steep for a commercial foundry in the US when you consider their costs in producing it.
A guy has to be paid to sprue your wax and invest it. Dont know what a what the hourly rate for fairly skilled labour is in the US, Lets say $100 for a days work then theres the cost of the materials, wax, investment or shell. Then maybe two guys needs to be paid to do the wax burn out and casing for lets say half a day, more if investment, firing up a largish furnace, cost of the fuel, cost of the bronze, desprueing, chasing the bronze, sand blasting, some electricity associated with the whole process and probably more I havent considered. then the $500 in a western county doesnt seem so bad.

People who havent cast a bronze often dont realise just how much time goes into the process

Maybe raspero will do it for you, he could possibly do it for less with his back yard setup. Depending on the postal costs ofcourse
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Old 04-24-2014, 06:46 PM
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Re: Parks Bronze

Quote:
Maybe raspero will do it for you, he could possibly do it for less with his back yard setup. Depending on the postal costs of course
The logistics of shipping between the US and Mexico can become a nightmare. Mail can take anywhere from a week to two months. And if customs decides they want money, the situation gets complicated; often the shipment gets lost in the black hole of customs, never to be seen again. I bring all of the stuff I buy in the US as luggage on the airplane or else have friends who are driving bring it down.

R
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:23 PM
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Re: Parks Bronze

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Its not steep for a commercial foundry in the US when you consider their costs in producing it.
A guy has to be paid to sprue your wax and invest it. Dont know what a what the hourly rate for fairly skilled labour is in the US, Lets say $100 for a days work then theres the cost of the materials, wax, investment or shell. Then maybe two guys needs to be paid to do the wax burn out and casing for lets say half a day, more if investment, firing up a largish furnace, cost of the fuel, cost of the bronze, desprueing, chasing the bronze, sand blasting, some electricity associated with the whole process and probably more I havent considered. then the $500 in a western county doesnt seem so bad.

Yeah I know all that, but mantrid this is a little 6" tall x 6" long sculpture that cast solid doesn't weigh more than around 5# or so, this isn't something that's 3 feet tall weighing 95# and needing multiple attachments brazed on, Weston Studio Foundry used to cast these solid for me for about $110-$125 because I wanted the weight and also I think it was easier for them not having to cut a window in it to cast it hollow and then have to braze and chase the window back to close the hole, less labor more metal I guess about equalizes that.

If a little bronze like this that you can hold in your hand costs $508 just for the rough casting, I can only wonder what those lifesized bronzes everyone seems to be doing must cost, and can only wonder how anyone can afford what has to be a six figure cost for the casting if one goes by size and labor.

For $508 per casting multiplied by the 8 or so I want to do, I could buy my own backyard something and cast them myself.
I did hear from a foundry in Colorado today but they had said they sent a quote back in January, which I hadn't rec'd, so maybe tomorrow I'll get the quote and see what they come up with.
Obviosuly the costs have not matched up with inflation, according to the inflation calculator it says this:

Quote:
What cost $125 in 1992 would cost $204.51 in 2013.
I figured the cost might be closer to $325 but it's actually 250% more than the accumulated inflation of time.
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  #12  
Old 04-25-2014, 04:58 AM
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Re: Parks Bronze

What would you be happy to pay per Bronze?
If the postage from the uk to canada is reasonable for you I could certainly cast them for less. Maybe there ssome postage deal with the uk as its part of the commonwealth.
PM me if you are interested

edit
oops thoughtr you were in canada for some reason, must be my age
The offer is still there though if its economical regarding the shipping
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Old 04-25-2014, 07:32 PM
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Re: Parks Bronze

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Originally Posted by mantrid View Post
What would you be happy to pay per Bronze?
If the postage from the uk to canada is reasonable for you I could certainly cast them for less. Maybe there ssome postage deal with the uk as its part of the commonwealth.
PM me if you are interested

edit
oops thoughtr you were in canada for some reason, must be my age
The offer is still there though if its economical regarding the shipping
Thank you Mantrid, unfortunately I'm in the USA, so postage to would be agony, ditto for customs- that's a big reason I don't even sell my work out of the USA except under very rare circustances I did however receive a quote from a Colorado foundry for $395 which is close to the expectations I had in mind and I can live with that number.
I also said I used to have these cast solid and would prefer that rather than the usual chocolate bunny hollow casts.

They also included a nicely personalized letter, the California foundry didn't even say a word, amazingly just forwarded a completely dialogue-less quote with nothing more to it than you'd see on a packing slip, definitely did not make me want contact them back.

The Colorado response was very friendly, complementary, and invited more interactions as well as offering to answer any questions I might have- definitely the more artist oriented place of the two.
I'm going to buy the wax soon as the 21 year old chunk I have somewhere in the basement has been in really poor conditions of storage, lots of dirt, dust and grit on it.

Geez, I'm reading a book on Stanford White which has a lot of material about Augustus Saint-Gaundens as well as Frederick MacMonnies and their working relationship, it floors me how many huge monumental bronzes and more they did, and how Saint-Gaudens would just "do up" some model and cast it in bronze to give to friends or whatever, and how White "invited" Saint-Gaudens to make the huge- 18' tall gilt copper "Diana" figure for the top of the tower on his Madison Square Garden building, and after it was installed they decided it was too large, so they simply had it taken back down and remade it smaller at 13' at White's cost, this 1,800 pound statue was up on the top of the tower about 32 stories up, imagine the ordeal of removing that at a time when there were no such things as cranes that high- they had to build scaffolding.



More or less the same was repeated with MacMonnies making a huge copper winged victory figure for the top of a monument at West Point, White decided it was too big scaled and paid for replacing it with a smaller one! The nonchallant way these guys were seemingly just making and tossing these huge bronzes and copper sculptures around and replacing them or donating them as gifts you'd think they cost little more than suit and could be ordered from a Sears catalogue. The cost for these items today would be insane.

Last edited by Art-Deco : 04-25-2014 at 07:56 PM.
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Old 04-26-2014, 06:37 PM
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Re: Parks Bronze

The principal differences between Stanford White's time and today are mostly insurance and labor costs.

Here in Mexico, where there are no promiscuous law suits and labor is reasonable, such things are still possible and are still done. I had three men working on my roof for three days last week and it cost me $500.00 US, including materials. It would have cost at least $5000.00 in the US.

In my neighborhood we have a team of street sweepers/landscapers who care for the streets, sidewalks, median strips, grass areas, trees, shrubs, etc on a daily basis. Today there were about eight of them on my street. There is no welfare here so men still work. The city provides a job for anyone who wants one. But no free lunch.

Some Americans criticize me for paying my maid and my houseman what I do. (I pay more than the prevailing rate.) I tell them, "My maid owns her house. With no mortgage. Do you?"

Richard
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Old 04-26-2014, 07:21 PM
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Re: Parks Bronze

I frequent a metal casting forum
http://www.alloyavenue.com/vb/forum.php
Its US based and there are some guys there that Im sure would be near where you live and could do this for less than your foundry quote.
They are a friendly bunch and would probably be willing for you to go around and watch or even take part in the process if you wanted.
It is a slow process to register for this forum so if you dont want to be bothered with it I would be happy to post a request there for you.
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Old 04-26-2014, 08:35 PM
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Re: Parks Bronze

Quote:
Originally Posted by mantrid View Post
I frequent a metal casting forum
http://www.alloyavenue.com/vb/forum.php
Its US based and there are some guys there that Im sure would be near where you live and could do this for less than your foundry quote.
They are a friendly bunch and would probably be willing for you to go around and watch or even take part in the process if you wanted.
It is a slow process to register for this forum so if you dont want to be bothered with it I would be happy to post a request there for you.
Thanks Mantrid, I already joined, I think I've read that site or it's sister, no doubt have it bookmarked long ago.

Thing is, my waxes for these were all made in complex plaster/sand piece waste molds because at the time (pre internet) there were no mold rubbers I felt comfortable using for so fragile and complex a wax with all the undercuts and my resources of finding something back then was limited. Since I never had a hard master model (all were plasticene) I only have the master rubber block molds (made of Polytek 74-40) with their plaster mother shells to use.
The rubber is still in excellent condition even after 22 years, the thing is to cast the waxes today I have to use those to cast all the pieces of each mold in the 50/50 plaster/sand mix I used (breaks apart and disolves in water very easy with the sand added) and then I soaped the plaster/sand pieces when dry and cast the wax when dry.

The thing is, that took so much time and work just to get a wax that I don't want to take a chance having it cast by anyone other than a regular foundry, both Parks and Weston cast the bronzes for me and never had one problem, I suspect some hobbiest with a "backyard" setup would have amuch higher rate or risk of failure, and then I'd have to spend another half a day casting a new wax and chasing it.

I am interested in looking at the site for ideas since casting aluminum and bronze, as well as pewter have always been an interest and I want to do something again.

I cast two of these dog models myself in Brittania metal back around 1992, I used a plaster/sand mold the same as though I was going to cast wax in it, I made a plaster/sand core (though I don't remember how I got the shape, maybe used a wax cast as a sacrifice to do it and poured it full of plaster/sand)
Then I held the core in place with some small brass pins, heated it up in my kitchen oven for most of the day to get it good and dry, set it in a container full of sand and poured the Brittania metal in, as I remember it took about 12# of metal to cast each.
Both came out reasonably well, needing only some minor chasing.

Last edited by Art-Deco : 04-26-2014 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 04-26-2014, 09:26 PM
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Re: Parks Bronze

if youare going to do a lot of these it might be worth yourwhile to use one of the chased waxes to make a new mould out of a good silicone rubber. you could then cast waxes in a few mins.

Mny ofthe guys on the forum have been casting metal for many years, one or two that i know have worked in a foundry. alot are operating small part time businesses doing casting , mainly automotive stuff. im pretty sure that if anyone volunteers to do the work they will be up to the task. As I dont think they would risk the embarrassment of cocking it up if they werent up to the job

you could always post a picture there of you wax pattern and see what response you get even if its just for some advice, they love looking at pics
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Old 04-26-2014, 10:49 PM
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Re: Parks Bronze

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if youare going to do a lot of these it might be worth yourwhile to use one of the chased waxes to make a new mould out of a good silicone rubber. you could then cast waxes in a few mins.
That's what I would do these days, but I only plan to cast one of each design- for myself, there's so many dog bronzes all over the place on Ebay and everywhere else these days I doubt I'd even sell any, especially with the economy as it is.
I have a sitting Greyhound reproduction I used to cast back in the mid 80's out of hydrocal, I sold over 100 of them back then, but now with so much junk on Ebay and the web and searching for "greyhound" pulls up thousands of hits I haven't even sold one in the 3 months it's been listed on Ebay to see if it was worth re-issuing, no doubt because there's thousands of Greyhound statues that come up in the searches. Back in the 80s there was no internet or Ebay, so people's options to even find such items to buy were extremely limited and choices were few.



Quote:
Mny ofthe guys on the forum have been casting metal for many years, one or two that i know have worked in a foundry. alot are operating small part time businesses doing casting , mainly automotive stuff. im pretty sure that if anyone volunteers to do the work they will be up to the task. As I dont think they would risk the embarrassment of cocking it up if they werent up to the job

you could always post a picture there of you wax pattern and see what response you get even if its just for some advice, they love looking at pics
Yeah I see, well I'll browse the threads and see how it goes, photos for sure yes.
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