I have just finished a new wax and balsa piece in preparation for bronze casting. It represents a pair of older fishermen in Newfoundland and Labrador splitting and cleaning fish at a splitting table. The piece will be called Splitting Fish but I think of the characters as Slim and Shorty.
The process of making a bronze has many stages. First I make the elements in clay. Next I make molds (often in two or more pieces) of the clay pieces with a two part rubber (four coats) then make a plaster "mother mold" over the rubber to keep it from flopping. Then I pour melted wax into the mold and when set, remove the wax piece. I join the various pieces together with "sticky wax" and clean up the pieces by removing any flashing or flaws from the casting and filling bubble holes with wax. Finally it is ready for the foundry where they will make a mold around the wax, burn out the wax and pour molten bronze into the cavity of the mold. This is called the 'lost wax' process. In this case, I made the table from balsa wood as it was more structurally sound than making it with clay. The wood will also burn out of the mold at the foundry just like the wax. The mold is then broken away from the bronze piece and the bronze is cleaned up (again removing flashing etc.) and then coloured (patinated) with various chemicals and heat and finished with a buffed wax coating.
I have also included a picture of my messy - no busy desk. Will post again when I have the finished bronze.