Labrador middle seam.

Labrador middle weld

The length of the Labrador makes a bit of tough going in bronze. The two halves of the body had each flexed a bit as they cooled after casting / or the wax room had flexed them when sectioning the sculpture for ceramic shell. The head doesn’t have this problem as it is a full ring, however the open bottom of the body allows edges to curl in / flex out, as well as a bit of cupping from the front paws on back to the tail. Overall this means the two sides will not fit together easily. Strategy and experimentation are a must before any welding. It is best to try to start with a few solid tack-welds- but where to put them? A weld in the wrong spot will only exacerbate the mismatch. Eventually I can see where it can fit, where it slides apart, why it won’t fit, and where I can make a weld so that I can apply the hammer and clamps, and spot weld again, and hammer and clamp, and spot weld. The weld pulls the form together, and the hammer brings the bottom edge back under from where it had flexed outward. Once the seam was gathered back together I gave a clean weld along its entire length, then flipped the dog over and welded the seam from the inside as well. The seam process took about 3 hours while the day sat at 95 degrees- in leathers/boots/cap/gloves . The cool of the day had been spent prepping the form, then welding closed all the pin holes from ceramic shell and grinding/welding a few spots of shell inclusion. At 3:30 I broke for lunch, and realized forming the seam with the hammer had zoinked my arm more than I had known. With my hand stiffening up, I decided to call it a day so that I could return tomorrow morning in the cool and set a few of the remaining problems before welding the head in place.

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