By choosing the lost wax method of casting and by casting only in silicon bronze or stainless steel we have by virtue of the casting method and type of alloy created door handles that are expensive. However, our focus on hand finished details from “chasing” the bronze castings to skillfully and slowly adding patina justifies the price tag. As a case study I have photographed the wine grotto door handles that I mentioned in a prior post.
When assembled each escutcheon plate with lever weighs 4lbs and measures 4” W x 14”H and all of it is silicon bronze not a precious material since it is not exactly rare, but certainly an expensive quality metal. Bronze is an alloy that flows well, and this makes it a perfect medium to capture the fine details and undulations of vine tendrils and leaves of this back-plate and lever. Once cast the bronze pieces need to be refined by hand to remove any debris or surplus metal that has attached to the surface and this done by using metal chisels and grinders through a process called “chasing”. After the larger imperfections have been removed the entire back-plate and lever are buffed with series of buffing tools with the grit of each becoming progressively finer until the bronze is free of abrasions and tool marks. The pieces are then ready to be immersed in a cold patina which reacts with the bronze to oxidize it and turn it black. The degree of darkness is determined by the length of time the piece is immersed and once achieved the piece is then neutralized in water to halt the chemical process.
Now the true artistry begins as we rework the piece to create highlights by buffing the surface in select areas thereby sanding through the patina to re-expose the golden bronze.