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Care & Maintenance

Congratulations on the purchase of your new, one-of-a-kind bronze sculpture, an artistic investment that will bring you generations of pleasure and enjoyment! Made principally from copper and other non-ferrous metals, each piece of bronze sculpture is made entirely by hand by artisans skilled in the “Lost Wax” casting method, unsurpassed for rendering life-like detail to metal sculpture. Unchanged since Roman times, Lost Wax casting takes several steps over a six-to-eight-week period to complete. The result is a richly-finished, vibrant and lifelike piece of bronze sculpture. For more information on the Lost Wax Casting Process, please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost-wax_casting.To ensure maximum enjoyment of your investment, please take a few moments to read this important information:

Appearance of the Finished Sculpture: Lost Wax sculpture is made by hand to ensure a rich, unique and artistic quality to the finished piece. Slight imperfections and blemishes in casting and finishing are a normal by-product of the casting process. No two pieces are alike. Handmade sculpture will not have a perfect, machine made appearance – quite the opposite! The unique, handmade quality of the piece is what gives it an enduring, aged character. Cavities in open pieces (e.g., urns, fountain bowls, etc.) are typically rough in appearance; similarly, the blending of patinas in the finishing process is often varied and imperfect to give the piece an artistically rendered, “one-of-a-kind” quality. These qualities are what have given Lost Wax bronze sculpture its timeless appeal though the ages.

Casting Residue: During the final stage of the casting process, light powder is used in the moulds to facilitate the separation of molds from metal sculpture. Small traces of powder residue often remain in the finished sculpture. The residue often reappears as a white, powdery substance, usually noticeable in crevices and other difficult to reach areas. Mild soap (e.g. Ivory dish soap), warm water and gentle scrubbing with a soft, nylon brush (e.g., an old toothbrush) will remove the powder. Often, two or three cleanings will be required to completely remove the residue.

Cleaning and Caring for your Sculpture: Bronze sculpture will weather and age over time, giving it a rich, venerated appearance. Many people prefer the aged, antique look of weathered sculpture; particularly in areas where adverse weather conditions prevail (“why try to fight Mother Nature”?). Others prefer an “as new” appearance. If you are among the former, you need only to leave your sculpture outside and let nature take its course. For the rest, here is information you need:

Factors that Cause Bronze Sculpture Aging & Weathering

 
  • Sunlight (UV rays)
  • Causes sculpture to darken over time
  • Water (particularly regions with high mineral content water sources; e.g., Western U.S.)
  • Interacts with metal to cause “greening” of copper and water spots
  • Dust & Dirt
  • Reduces the luster and sheen of sculpture’s finish

Since bronze is an active, primarily copper-based alloy, no process will eliminate the gradual aging effect wrought by exposure to the elements. There are, however, steps you can take to impede the naturally occurring weathering and aging process, giving your sculpture long lasting protection, greatly diminishing the aging process.

Cleaning: The “cardinal rule” in caring for your sculpture is: NEVER USE CLEANING SOLVENTS to clean your sculpture. Glass cleaners, furniture polish and other solvent-based products will remove the patina from the sculpture. Use only warm water, mild soap detergent (e.g., Ivory dish soap, etc.) and a soft, nylon bristle brush or sponge to clean your sculpture.

Sealing (weather coating): Your sculpture can be coated with sealers and UV inhibitors prior to shipment to you. This is a long-lasting coating process (up to 10 years) designed to maintain a protective barrier between the sculpture’s metal surface and the natural elements. Although weather coating will seal and protect your sculpture from the elements, it will not prevent water spotting, which is particularly prevalent in hard water regions. If you wish to have your sculpture sealed prior to shipment, please contact us. We provide this service at a modest charge to our customers.

Waxing: Waxing your sculpture once or twice annually (or more in severe weather zones) with 100% Carnauba wax that contains NO CLEANERS will provide effective protection from rain and UV radiation, as well as minimize water spotting. These products can be found at Lowes, Home Depot and grocery stores (e.g. Johnson’s Trewax, Kiwi clear shoe polish, etc.). Always read the label to be sure the product you buy does not contain cleaners - only pure wax!

Sealing and Waxing: Combining weather coating with regular waxing will provide the best possible protection to your sculpture. Adding regular coats of wax on top of the sealer will provide maximum protection, and also minimize water spotting, keeping your sculpture as close to “as new” condition for as long as possible.

If you have any other questions about your new sculpture, or wish to have our experts seal your sculpture prior to shipment, please feel free to contact us at your convenience.

Sincerely,

The Staff at Bronze West Imports


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