On Saturday I went to the opening of Mal Woods Foundry in Reservoir. Sculptors, foundry workers, friends and interested people gathering to watch bronze being poured along with nibbles and drinks.
The weather was great, a pleasant sunny day, I bicycled to the foundry from Coburg. “This must be the place.” I thought as I cycled along Kurnai Ave. The factory and even its carpark was an oasis of tasteful design in the industrial area.
The professionals were talking about their work including another Boer War Memorial with one and half sized equestrian statues. I can see why the sculptor, Louis Laumen and the foundry workers are keen on the project, more work for them. I can also see why the people behind the project might be having difficulty raising funds for it. Why does Australia need more Boer War Memorials?
There were amateur backyard foundry enthusiasts talking about their hair dryer or vacuum cleaner fanned furnaces. I didn’t know that there were amateur backyard foundries casting small objects in plaster moulds.
At the back of Mal Woods Foundry the moulds that had been drying out in a kiln and were then placed in a large metal trough and secured in place with sand.
Mal Wood added an ingot of tin and two large ingots of copper to the furnace, the tin first and then the copper. These two soft metals when combined produce an alloy that is harder than either of them.
The roar of furnace dies away and in front of the assembled crowd the crucible was removed. The temperature of the bronze tested and then the bronze was poured into the moulds. I didn’t see the results of these castings, you couldn’t tell from the moulds, not with all the venting pipes. When I left the bronze was turning from florescent pink to dark purple in the moulds, still hot enough to warm a person standing nearby.
For more on foundries read my 2012 post Casting Sculpture in Melbourne.