To see more and discover the full range of casts we do in every material visit the Examples page.
Cold Cast Aluminium Resin
Also known as aluminium resin or resin aluminum, this finish resembles foundry aluminium castings but at a significantly lower cost. They are essentially fibreglass shell sculptures with a surface layer containing a very high real metal content, which gives the cast its colour and lustre. This coating is a blend of about 20% resin and 80% powdered aluminium, which is polished to expose and shine the metal, looking to all intents and purposes like a solid aluminium casting. This coating can be cast into a mould or applied to the surface of an existing cast, whichever is most appropriate.
One huge advantage over foundry castings, besides the lower price, is that they are extremely light but very strong and are easily hung on the wall on just a picture hook or nail. Our wall-mounted casts will come ready to hang with string or picture wire on the reverse. In smaller castings we may use the brass resin to create solid casts which can be free standing or attached to a base. Aluminium being a very lightweight metal is often better on a base to give it some weight.
Cold castings are warm to the touch, unlike foundry metal castings, and are more easily scratched or damaged than real bronze. They are however a brilliant compromise when cost is a factor, offering beautiful, high end, bespoke portrait sculptures to anyone, irrespective of income.
Ageing and Oxidation
Aluminium is a fairly non-reactive metal but it will oxidise slowly to be more grey and less silver. We usually apply a black wax to the surface to create some tonal variation and protect the surface. The amount we apply can be used to change it from the standard grey to a gunmetal finish. The was helps to maintain the original lustre as long as possible and it should maintain for a long time. Excessive handling and damp environments may accelerate this ageing process by removing wax although it’s so slow you probably won’r ever notice. They may be returned to us periodically for refurbishing if you like, although nobody has ever expressed the need.
Cold cast aluminium cannot be polished to the same mirror shine as foundry castings. They tend to be more of a shiny mid-grey silver, more similar to aluminium paint than to chrome. There are some cold cast metals like nickel which can achieve a higher mirror finish as do some specialist paints so do ask if that is the look you’d prefer.
Cold casting is also not limited to metals. Any material that can be powdered and mixed with resin can be cold cast. So stone powders like marble and slate are options as well as graphite, talc etc. Many decorative finishes are possible beyond the classical metals. See the Cold Cast Other page for examples.
During the late 1950’s a UK based sculptor called John Tiranti developed the “Cold Cast Resin Metal” process which was to make such an impact in his field. Using the newly available synthetic resins, developed during after after the second world war, it provided an improved technique to that of bronze coloured plaster casts which were their predecessor. This breakthrough transformed the sculpture world for ever, providing an alternative to expensive foundry based, lost wax, bronze casting. Available to any sculptor, amateur or professional, without the need for special equipment it has radically changed the way sculptors work and produce originals, often being used as a sample before taking orders for the same piece in foundry bronze.
With the introduction to the marketplace of silicone rubber for mould making in the mid-sixties, the cold casting process really took off. Half a century later the method remains unchanged and is far more widely used than foundry bronze, providing high quality sculptures at prices affordable by most.