I. The Design
II. The Maquette
III. The Enlargement
IV. The Final Sculpting
V. Epilogue
 
'Its About Time'
The Sculpting of the General James Longstreet Memorial
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The Epilogue

As this book is primarily directed to the sculpting procedure, I feel it's necessary to explain the further steps involved in completing the memorial. With this information, the reader will understand the total effort in raising the Longstreet tribute.

The final sculpting now being complete:

  1. The clay is completely covered with a 1- inch thick layer rubber. The rubber is applied by hand. First in a very liquid state, thicker, more substantial form is added with trawls. The rubber skin is then sectioned by forming raised fences. Once the rubber has matured, the sections are cut and a thick layer of plaster is applied. Between each section, a fence of aluminum shim stock, in the cut line, is used to sepa-rate the mold units
  2. Once the plaster has matured, each mold section is pulled off the clay and taken to the wax room. Wax is heated to a liquid state and painted into the rubber mold until it reaches a thickness of approximately one--quarter inch. Upon the wax cooling and becoming stable, it is pulled from the mold. Each wax is then retouched or checked by the sculptor for im-perfections or corrections. After the sculptor has finished his task, the wax is gated with wax rods to form an inlet and air release avenue in the ceramic shell.
  3. The gated waxes are taken to the shell room and dipped into a liquid ceramic, and then covered with dry-powder ceramic material. This procedure is repeated several times until the shell reaches a thick-ness of approximately 1-inch, after which the shell is left to dry com-pletely.
  4. After the shell is sufficiently dry, the shell is taken to the casting area of the foundry and burned out. In other words, the wax is melted out of the ceramic shell. With the wax now out of the shell, molten bronze, at approximately 1200 degrees, is introduced into the inlet formed by the previously burned-out wax rods. The bronze section, now cast, is left to cool in the shell.
  5. The ceramic shell is removed by whatever means is necessary to crack the crust and dislodge the bronze. This task could entail hammer and chisel, pry bar, bead blasting, etc. The metal gating is then removed by grinding or hacksaw.
  6. Each section of bronze is closely in-spected for imperfections, then corrected by metal chasing, if required. The surface of the edges of the castings are prepared and the sections welded together. (In the case of the Longstreet Memorial, a separate metal frame was simultaneously constructed and attached to the skin, or sections.) This frame work is added for additional strength in the attaching of the work to the concrete foundation.
  7. With the entire Memorial welded together, the welds are chased and all the sculptor's marks replicated. The previous welding lines now invisible, the Memorial is inspected by the sculptor for any im-perfections or corrections to match the original final sculpted form
  8. The Memorial is cleaned and given a uniform coloration. Heat is applied by a gas torch, and an acid bath is spread on the surface, by brush, to add color to the metal. In the case of Longstreet, the initial color is a basic dark leather brown with highlights of vertigre, or green, washed into the re-cesses. After the entire bronze is patinaed, or colored, it is heated by torch again, and wax is applied by brushing over every inch of the Memorial, just as the patina. The wax is the only pro-tective measure used against the elements.
  9. The Memorial is now delivered to the dedication site and unloaded by crane onto the previously installed concrete base or foundation. This foundation con-tains three openings into which
    corresponding rods, protruding from the horse hooves, will fit. Any space left between the rods and the openings in the concrete foundation, will be filled with grout. The Memorial is complete.

As Mr. Paul Harvey says, "And now you know the rest of the story."

The cumulative time of designing, sculpting, casting and erecting the Longstreet Memorial was nearly one year. The Memorial was almost entirely crafted by hand. The magnitude of artistic endeavor in this project is certainly a tribute to the manual abilities of man.

 
 
'Its About Time'
The Sculpting of the General James Longstreet Memorial
 
Previous Page Page1| Page2 | Page3 | Page4 | Page5

Back to Gary Casteel