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Here is the Julia Gillard bust making its next step towards the Ballarat Prime Ministers Avenue. It’s just been hoisted out of the furnace in the centuries old traditional “lost wax” method of casting. It’s still covered in “grog”, a mixture of plaster and sand, and some of this has been knocked off by master founder Bill Perrin, to see if the cast is a good one. The wax figure inside was melted out of the grog coating and replaced with molten bronze, which has now cooled, hopefully without much shrinkage or leakage. You can see the yellowish bronze peaking through, and a rough image of the face emerging. There are nails sticking out of the bronze, which are put there to hold the inner and outer parts of the cast in their correct alignment, and there are bronze protrusions sticking off parts of the head where wax runners were placed to make sure the molten bronze poured cleanly. The next painstaking stage is the chasing, in which the runners are ground off and any imperfections are annealed or chiselled by the highly skilled chaser with his tiny set of handmade tempered steel tools.
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