Exploring the Elements. James Knowles is hard at work with Fire in the foundry. The ability to transform molten bronze in a solid sculpture. The heat from the sand-molds is released as the artist begins to break the mounds. The ground smokes. This is one piece of 19 that will become the final sculpture.

The sculpture will be installed in a fountain at 137 Park Street in New Canaan CT.

James Knowles Pouring Bronze

A note from James Knowles’ project journal:
I have had one pour. The problems I encountered, some have been addressed. There was a break in the wall of the steel container. I had to work through welding issues similar to the ones you faced the other day. I went back to the books, the Lincoln bible on welding and studied what rods are used for what. Then I stopped in to the welding supply shop on Bruckner blvd where I bought the welder for Feng. We discussed it briefly and he assured me that what he gave Feng was precisely what I should use. It was not what I had figured out in my research. Feed wires long enough. Welding rod ok. New chain fall. Let’s try a melt. I’ve not figured out the lighting of the furnace very well so when I light the thing with air blower going and Propane torch on top to ignite. A volume of gas and air accumulates in the furnace and whaaaaboooom it explodes as it lights. Not good. But it gets the thing going. So I slowly add air and then gas to bring it up to a roaring intensity pchhhhhwhhhhhhhhhhhhh kind of thing. But hot gases are flowing out through the furnace lid joint in many directions. Furry green blue flames. Losing heat and making it difficult to approach the furnace as the flames are waist high. I shut it down to consider how to resolve that. I attempted to remove the lid. Hooked up the steel jig i welded up. Took too long over the hot furnace. Removed the lid. Found the refrractory joint loose and friable. Stop consider. I need a means to apply a soft refractory mud between the Lid and the fire box. Consider: what do I have? Clay to bind and silica sand a refractory. I made up a slurry of the two and put a drooly layer on the joint and replaced to top. Seemed to sit well. Cranked up the heat. Flames look ok. Some fuzz but ok. Metal slumping as the temperature rises. Start up the second blower, add more gas. Feisty robust full bodied flame and gutteral roar. Look up. Uhoh. Looks like I wired the whole. Barn just over the furnace area. Fire and heat impinging on the cord and then zap. Blew a fuse somewhere. Consider: Shut down all breakers. Cut the wires. Re direct them around the pouring system. Devise heavy wire connectors. Isolate the joints with electricians tape. Reset all breakers. Test. OK. Now redesign the lid removal system which takes too long to remove. Consider: Pipe rigid top and bottom. Pipe sliding over the rigid pipe. Weld moving pipe to the lid (with new welding sticks) Rig up a lever and counterweight to lift the lid easily and rotate it to the side. Test it. Fix it. Test it. Fix it…….. Works. Heeehaaaa. Order metal 250 Lbs. Order castable and ramming refractories. From a good group in Lancaster pa. That is where I am. Molds ready to pour. System now redesigned. Getting closer. I have one casting In hand. 19 to go.

1 Comment

  1. gas furnaces
    May 24, 2011

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