Making a Bronze Statue

The "Lost Wax" Technique

Have you ever wondered how bronze statues are made? They often come to life through a complex and time-consuming process called the "lost wax" technique.

The lost wax technique begins with a painstakingly detailed clay model that will eventually be reproduced in hollow bronze. The process––long, laborious, and expensive––is explained in this short video. The statues you will see are small (under 2 feet tall), so they were cast in one piece. A life-size statue, like that of James B. Duke, would be cast in multiple pieces (usually the head, the torso, the legs, and the arms) and then assembled, polished, patinaed, and mounted.

From start to finish, a life-size statue might take six months to a year to complete. In today's market, such statues require thousands of dollars of raw materials to produce. From hiring an artist, to purchasing materials, to paying for bronze-casting, large statue monuments can cost upward of $200,000. Just the stone pedestal on which a statue is set might cost tens of thousands of dollars.


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