Foundry Tours

Foundry tours are available once daily at 11:00a.m. Tickets can be purchased at the Valley Bronze Gallery on Main Street in Joseph, and presented at the foundry before the tour begins. Foundry tours usually last about an hour to an hour and a half. The cost is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors or military, and children under 10 are free. Groups of 10 or larger get a group rate of $10 per person. Maximum group size is 30 people, larger groups can be accommodated with prior arrangements at the foundry. You will be taken through the facilities at the Valley Bronze foundry. Your guide will show examples and explain in detail how an original art piece is turned into a finished bronze sculpture, as well as show examples of past works done by our foundry

Online Tour

  • <b>Step 1: Acquiring Original</b></br>Once the artist has created the original sculpture, usually in wax or clay, the process of turning this original into a limited edition bronze begins.
  • <b>Step 2: Making a Mold </b></br>The first mold, referred to as the mother mold, is made directly from the original clay sculpture, using coats of liquid rubber or silicon backed with plaster or fiberglass. In this image, a mold technician is applying liquid latex rubber to a clay original. The waxed paper surfaces of the soft drink cups allow the mold to later be separated into two halves.
  • <b>Step 3: Pour Wax Patterns</b></br>Hot wax is poured into the latex rubber mother mold and allowed to cool for a short time. The wax is then poured out of the mold, producing a hollow wax copy of the original sculpture. The latex mold can be used again and again, to make numerous wax copies.
  • <b>Step 4: Chasing the Wax</b></br>The wax pattern is carefully removed from the latex mold, inspected, and any flaws are painstakingly removed, or chased by hand.
  • <b>Step 5: Attaching the Sprues</b></br>A wax pouring cup and wax shafts (known as sprues) are attached to each part of the sculpture. These will ultimately serve as channels for the molten bronze to flow through after the wax has been melted out of the ceramic shell mold that is shown being created in the next image (see next slide).
  • <b>Step 6: Ceramic Shell Mold</b></br>The second mold, a rigid ceramic shell, is formed by dipping the wax duplicate repeatedly in a vat containing liquid slurry and then coating it with silica sand. This process takes several days. This shell is then fired in a kiln to melt out the wax, and also to harden the ceramic shell mold for receiving the molten bronze.
  • <b>Step 7: Melting Out Wax</b></br>Once the ceramic shell has dried, it is hardened by firing in a kiln. The heat causes the wax to melt, leaving the mold hollow to receive the molten bronze that will be poured into it in the next step of the casting process.
  • <b>Step 8: Pouring the Bronze</b></br>Molten bronze is poured into the cup of the ceramic shell mold, into the space left behind by the lost wax. The bronze will be allowed to cool, and then the ceramic shell will be broken off to reveal the bronze sculpture within.
  • <b>Step 9: Metal Finishing </b></br>In the next step, the individual pieces of the sculpture are welded together. The imperfections and weld lines are chased out, and the texture is restored for final finish.
  • <b>Step 10: Patination</b></br>The last step is the coloration of the bronze sculpture through the application of heat and different chemicals. This produces a permanent colored finish called patina, and completes the transformation of the sculpture into a piece of lasting fine art.
  • Mounted Originals
  • Mold thin coats
  • Mold final coats
  • Pouring the wax
  • Chasing the wax
  • Cups sprued and ready for slurry
  • Finished cups after slurry
  • Melting wax out of the finished cups
  • Pouring the bronze
  • Welding the bronze
  • Final tooling of the bronze
  • Applying the final patina

Foundry Hours

Monday-Thursday: 6:45am-4:00pm
Friday: 6:45am-11:00am

Gallery Hours

Thursday-Saturday: 10:00am-5:00pm

Current News

  • 2/22/16 - New Site Launch. The Valley Bronze website is now responsive. This will help users better view the site on a wide range of devices. Individual artist bio's and highlights of past projects are still being updated, check back soon to see the progress.

Contact Info

Valley Bronze of Oregon
307 W. Alder Street
P.O. Box 669
Joseph, OR 97846
(541) 432-7551
Email Us