Fabrication of the replicated components began with making wax molds and patterns from existing components. The wax patterns were encompassed in a layer of wax to create a ceramic shell around the mold, which allows melted bronze to be poured into each shell to create a casting for each replicated component. The following is a pictorial of the shell and raw castings process utilizing the lost wax method of replication:
All wax patterns are gated and vented for a couple days prior to the start of the shell process. These patterns were encompassed in a layer of wax, known as spruing, to create a ceramic shell around the mold. Once the ceramic shell has been allowed enough time to harden, the shell is heated until the wax pattern inside melts and seeps out leaving the ceramic shell hollow.
Before melted bronze is poured into the hollow ceramic shells, each shell is heated to prevent shattering due to extreme difference in temperature. Melted bronze was then poured into each shell to create a casting for each replicated component. The shells are then cooled as the metal phases from liquid to solid before the ceramic shells were broken off, revealing the raw bronze castings.
Excess casting pieces, such as gates and vents, are cut off and removed from each raw bronze casting. Any pits or stubs in the metal are filed down for a smooth, consistent surface.
Once all the new castings are complete using the lost wax method, replicated components are chased to improve deficiencies in the original castings. Each component is custom fit to the component above and below it to ensure proper fit, alignment, and overall aesthetic look to match the original supplied fixtures.
All Type A Chandelier components, Type B Wall Sconce components, and Type H Torchiere components have been cast in bronze. To vastly improve upon deficiencies in the original castings, components’ decorative elements are carefully hand chased.
Existing deficiencies in the original fixtures were corrected. All corners of the fixtures match.
The surface of each component is being cleaned, prepped, and media blasted for base finish application. During this time, elements are inspected to assure all details are crisp. Each component is then heated before a patina is applied. The chasings are then hand burnished to create a custom iridescent finish.
The Type H Torchiere components have been cast in metal and the surface is media blasted before receiving a hot patina metal application. A brush will be used to first apply a weaker base coat followed by an application of a stronger base patina. Clean brush strokes are used to create a consistent finish.
Shown are components of the Type A Chandeliers and Type B Wall Sconces during the metal finishing preparation process. After the patina finish has been successfully applied, each castings’ surface will be carefully hand burnished by artisans to create an attractive custom iridescent finish and will receive an application of a protective top coat.
The components will next undergo patina application and hand burnishing. Pictures will be supplied as the patina process progresses.
Grand Light specializes in the restoration of historical luminaires of every scale, material, finish, and design. From professional diagrams and plans for your project to rewiring fixtures to UL standards, our specialists have proven their reputation as exceptional lighting restorers.
For more information regarding this project, you may review the project homepage at Hudson County Courthouse.