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The Lost Wax Casting Process
Wax: An Overview
Ceramic Slurry Dipping Schedule
The Sandcasting Process
The Chasing Process
Methods for Joining Bronze
Patinas
Investment Casting: 1930-1950
Project #2: Sandcasting a Bas Relief Bronze Plaque
How to Build a Bronze Casting Furnace
Foundry Safety
Furnace Lighting Procedure
Project #1: Direct Wax Sculpture, Ceramic Shell Casting

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Furnace Lighting Procedure

Danger

Gas is explosive!

  • Propane is heavier then air and will "pool" on the ground and lay there unnoticed until a spark ignites it! Use caution when working with propane.
  • Propane is under high pressure, make sure all hoses and fittings are rated for propane use, properly tightened and sealed, and checked with soapy water.
  • Check all connections with soapy water for leaks before lighting anything.
  • WHEN IN DOUBT TURN OFF THE GAS AT THE TANK!
  • WHEN LIGHTING A FORGE, FIRE FIRST, THEN TURN ON THE GAS. IF IT DOESN'T LIGHT TURN OFF THE GAS. ***NEVER TURN ON THE GAS, THEN PUT THE MATCH TO IT - THIS MAY A GAS BUILDUP AND AN EXPLOSION.
  • NEVER LEAVE THE GAS RUNNING IF THE BURNER IS NOT LIT.
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A. Hooking Up the Regulator:

1) Insert regulator into propane tank. (fig. 1)

2) Tighten the regulator in a counter-clockwise direction. (fig. 2)

****Do not over tighten - a gentle tightening with the wrench is sufficient. Too tight will ruin the brass seat.

***This is a reverse thread - it tightens in the opposite direction.

3) Check that the regulator is loose by turning it in a counter clockwise directions until it is loose. (fig. 3)

Check that the valve on the burner is closed. (fig. 4)

4) Turn on the valve on the propane tank.

If you hear hissing or smell gas turn it off and check that the regulator is seated properly in the propane tank. (fig. 5)

5) Pour some soapy water over the joint and look for bubbles. Check both the threads and around the end of the bolt. If there are bubbles then tighten the bolt a little more. (fig. 6)

The Regulator is now attached to the tank.

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B. Lighting the Furnace:

1) With the regulator attached and the regulator knob loose (fig. 3), open the valve on the tank.

2) Turn the regulator clockwise (the direction the arrow is showing) until the gauge shows 15 lbs. (fig. 7)

***If you hear hissing of gas or smell propane, close the valve on the propane tank immediately...there is a leak or the valve at the burner is not closed.

2) Hold the flame of a propane torch into the forge (wear gloves). (fig. 8)

3) Open the burner valve. There should be a hissing of gas, and the forge should light. (fig. 9-10)

The furnace SHOULD light immediately. (Within 1-2 seconds)

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IF THE FURNACE DOES NOT LIGHT IMMEDIATELY

(WITHIN 1-2 SECONDS)

A) CLOSE THE VALVE.

B) TURN OFF THE PROPANE TORCH.

C) Wait until the propane is cleared out of the furnace - 1 or 2 minutes. You can then try again.

4) Once lit, close the lid using a metal hook. (Wear gloves)

 

After warming up (within a minute or two) the furnace should have a soft light blue flame coming out of the top. Once the bronze starts to melt this will turn greenish. (fig. 12)

If the flame is very large, your burner is not adjusted right, you have an excess gas flame. This picture was shot with my hand covering the air intake on the burner. (fig. 13)

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Safety Equipment: When casting bronze wear proper safety equipment. Clothes should be cotton (not synthetics which melt to your skin when burning), leather boots, apron, gloves, welders spats, sleeves and face mask.

I purchased much of this at Harbor Freight for very reasonable prices: Gloves under $10 (for 3 pair), welders spats and sleeves for $10. I think they also have aprons. If you want better quality welding leathers, go to a welding store. A whole outfit will cost under $75.

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C. Shutting Down the Furnace:

WHEN THE BRONZE IS MELTED

1) Turn the furnace off at the burner valve by pushing it perpendicular to the line. (fig. 15)

Open the furnace (wearing the proper safety equipment) and proceed with your pour.

IF YOU WANT TO RELIGHT YOUR FURNACE

1) Go to B. Lighting the Furnace, and start at #2.

TO COMPLETELY SHUT DOWN THE FURNACE

1) Turn off the valve on the propane tank. This should be snug, not too tight as that will ruin the valve. (fig. 16)

2) Bleed the line by opening the burner valve until the regulator shows 0. (fig. 17)

***WARNING: if the furnace is hot, the gas could ignite in the furnace causing a ball of flame to puff out of the furnace and it may ignite for a moment. This is common, but keep face, hands and flamable objects away from the furnace mouth.

3) When the pressure is at 0 (no gas coming out of the burner), close the burner valve. (fig. 18)

4) Close the regulator valve by turning counter-clockwise until it is loose. (fig 19)

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Dan@RotblattSculpture.com
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