Decorating Accents
Heraldic Switchplate

American Bald Eagle
English C.o.A.
Imperial Db-Hd Eagle
Lion of St. Mark
Portuguese C.o.A.
St. Basil Cathedral




1. Select and research subjects.

2. Create drawings with images and specifications. [Photo B001]

3. Create a positive clay (sculpture is created at enlarged scale, typically 4:1 scale). [Photo B002]

4. Make a negative rubber mold from the positive clay original model.

5. Cast a positive plaster for approval and final editing.

6. Cast a negative plaster to proof draft angles and mold release properties.

7. Make a positive rubber mold at a 4:1 scale.

8. Cast a negative epoxy template to be used as master tool for generating 1:1 scale negative front die. [Photo B003]

9. Use a reducing, three-dimensional engraving machine to cut the front die at 1:1 scale. [Photo B004]

10. Cut the rear die, allowing offset for finished metal thickness. Add gates for channeling molten metal into die cavity and engraved negative logo crest in rear die. [Photo B005]

11. Assemble front and rear dies.

12. Inject wax at high pressure to completely fill the die cavity.

13. Trim and chase the wax; remove wax from die.

14. Assemble individual waxes on a tree, typically 5 brooches per tree. [Photo B006]

15. Build up the ceramic shell around the wax tree.

16. Fire the ceramic shell, setting ceramic and melting out the wax (thus the name “lost-wax casting”).

17. Place ceramic shell (now with voids left by the melted out wax) in a vacuum chamber and pour molten metal (bronze, sterling silver, 14K or 18K gold) to fill the voids.

18. Break ceramic shell; remove solidified metal casting.

19. Remove gates; sandblast the casting to achieve a uniform finish.

20. Silver solder fittings (pin, latch and pivot). [Photo B007]

21. Apply finishes:

a. Bronze: Acid etch/two-step rinse/plate with “sepia” finish/hand scrub with cleansing compound/final two-stage rinse/dry/coat with clear varnish.

b. Sterling silver: Hand polish highlights/acid etch/two-step rinse/plate with rhodium (a member of the platinum family which imparts a scratch-resistant, bright finish). [Photo B008]

c. Vermeil: Hand polish highlights/acid etch/two-step rinse/extremely heavy 24K gold (a beautiful color of gold, much richer than most commonly seen). [Photo B009]

d. Gold: 14K (58.5% gold) and 18K (75% gold) castings are hand polished to achieve desired highlighting.

22. Final inspection, packaging, shipping. [Photo B010]

Photo B001

Photo B002

Photo B003

Photo B004

Photo B005

Photo B006

Photo B007

Photo B008

Photo B009

Photo B010


1. Select subject.

2. Create design sketches and develop drawings and specifications. [Photo J001]

3. Sculpt a clay model -- see “Ring Dwarfs” model in clay. [Photo J002]

4. Address the production concerns, formulate and define the necessary molds and casting processes.

5. Dissect clay model and create separate molds for each cast component. “Jack-in-the-Box” is comprised of ten individual molds:
   a. Upper body
   b. Base box
   c. Open lid of box
   d. Right leg
   e. Right arm
   f. Left arm
   g. Jester hat point (left)
   h. Jester hat point (center)
   i. Jester hat point (right)
   j. Decorative key

6. Create the ten waxes.

7. Trim and chase each of the ten waxes.

8. Build up ceramic shells around each wax (ten individual shells).

9. Fire the ceramic shells, setting the mold and melting out the wax -- thus the name “lost wax.”

10. Place three ceramic shells (upper body, box and lid) in banked sand to prevent cracking. Pour the individual bronzes.

11. Place the seven smaller shells in vacuum chamber; pour the molten bronze into the shells.

12. Break ceramic shells, leaving bronze where wax once was.

13. Saw off the gates and vent tubes; sandblast the bronze to remove remaining ceramic particles.

14. Assemble the ten individual castings by silver soldering and welding. [Photo J003]

15. Hand chase all joints.

16. Glass-bead blast the assembled casting.

17. Heat the assembled bronze casting and apply the patina “liver of sulfur” (sulfurated potash), which produces the desired darkened surface finish.

18. Coat the surface with a thin layer of clear paste wax to enhance and preserve the patina.
[Photo J004]

Photo J001

Photo J002

Photo J003

Photo J004