The Lost Wax Process

Castings made using the lost wax process

The castings are not intended to be exact replicas of original fittings. To make accurate copies from originals involves removing them from the instrument and using them to make a mould; this is obviously not acceptable unless there is a specific reason for the brassware to be removed, perhaps for other repair work. In any case, using the original to make a vulcanised production mould destroys the patina. Silicone rubber cold cure moulds are an expensive alternative, and sometimes it has been possible with the permission of the owner of the instrument to take impressions using dental moulding materials, and to use the resultant mould to capture the surface of the item accurately. In other cases, photographs and measured drawings were used to make new masters in brass. The resultant castings are very similar to the originals; they are individually finished and assembled, which invariably leads to minor variations.

Fixing holes are normally drilled and countersunk for screws, which are supplied. The brass screws have polished heads. Steel screws for ‘first fitting’ are no longer available. Small steel screws are in very short supply now since manufacture seems to have ceased.
(Some items can be supplied with 2 mm pilot holes for brass nails for those who wish to fix them in the traditional way, although in some cases this may cause some delay.)

Castings are usually supplied polished, and it is recommended that a light coating of Liberon ‘Jade oil’ is applied after final fitting to inhibit tarnishing. Lacquering is not recommended since lacquered brassware does not age gracefully. The polished castings can be given an antique appearance and then oiled if requested; a 10% surcharge is made for this service.

Since many of these items were originally made for use on my own instruments, various extra fittings such as lever escutcheons have been made to complete the sets required at the time; these are included in the catalogue, as well as other useful items that over the years I have repeatedly had to make the hard way.

The cast items are made in one very small foundry; this means that inevitably I cannot always hold sufficient stock of castings. I make some moulds and all waxes in my workshop in order to minimise delays. However, ordering well in advance is really the only thing to do; If I have the things you want in stock, it will still take 3 weeks to fulfill an order (except for tuning hammers, the parts for which are usually to hand). Otherwise, allow 4- 6 weeks minimum. New items can take a very long time to get into production. Items are assembled and polished only when they are ordered.