Aluminum Bonsai casting on walnut/maple base.

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Project by grained posted 10-22-2009 03:25 AM 1925 views 3 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Sorry about the bad images. I took them with my cell phone. I am taking a metal foundry class at the U of Mn this semester. THis aluminum casting was for my first project. Bonsai tree. Aluminum with copper plating. I spent only a few hours on the casting but put a good ten hours into the board I mounted it on. Board is Walnut and maple with the maple being the thin strips running through it. They are glued in at different levels to add depth.

Step 1 Pick out one nasty looking walnut not sure how its cured or milled board from the stack and pay $3 for it.
Step 2 Attack with Joiner/planer to get a straight edge. OY.
Step 3 Tablesaw for a second edge
Step 4 Run it through the planer repeatedly to get a flat face on the board
Step 5 More Planing.
Step 6 Bansaw in long curved cuts dividing board into 3 freeform sections
Step 7 Use tablesaw to cut 3 long thin strips of hard maple aprox 1/8”thick.
Step 8 Assure shop attendant you have not gone insane and do know what you are doing. Steal their glue and go hide in foundry
Step 9 USing 7 pipe clamps glue up all the boards. Thin strips of maple go between walnut. Strips are thin enough to bend along the sawn curves.
Step 10 Hope it holds and go play with the electroplater in the next room while waiting for glue to set.
Step 11 Unclamp, take it home, once again reassure (this time the boyfriend) that you have not gone insane.
Sand through two movies and get rid of all remains of glue.
Step 12 Stain, Dry, Sand, Repeat. 4 times.
Step 13 Drill a hole to mount the casting via the sprue (chunk of metal sticking off back) and hang piece on wall of critique room
Step 14 Have it get critiqued by advanced art students looking for meaning when really all you sought to do was create an appealing restful piece mounted on one dang purty board.

  • if anyone is interested the bonsai was created by carving the negative image of the bonsai into one side of a block of sand (The mold) The block was then glued back together, drilled for vents, and sprued to allow for the metal to be poured in. We melted the aluminum in an induction furnace. USed two person lifts to raise and pour the metal out of the crucible into the mold. Fun stuff. Bronze lost wax method is next.

-- ~too many hobbies, not enough free time.

6 comments so far

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Dan'um Style

14172 posts in 3976 days

#1 posted 10-22-2009 04:10 AM

looks great … castings are good … welcome to lumberjocks …
nice sand carving too

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

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13603 posts in 3334 days

#2 posted 10-22-2009 04:31 AM

hey girl ,
nice first piece ,
and a great step by step on the process .

all i can ask for now is maybe bigger pictures ,
as my eyes aren’t what they used to be .

thank you .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View a1Jim's profile


117085 posts in 3570 days

#3 posted 10-22-2009 07:20 AM

Amazing well done

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View grained's profile


40 posts in 3474 days

#4 posted 10-22-2009 07:30 AM

Thanks. I am picking up some batteries tomorrow so I can get some better shots. Its a fun class. We have a great professor.

-- ~too many hobbies, not enough free time.

View ScrapArt's profile


48 posts in 2684 days

#5 posted 03-07-2011 07:50 PM

Great Eye Hope to see some new work

-- Please print this communication...Save Lumber jacks job

View helluvawreck's profile


31019 posts in 2860 days

#6 posted 05-02-2016 01:11 PM

I have never seen this. This is a beautiful piece and it must take a lot of skill not only t0 carve the mold but also to cast the piece. It’s amazing and very impressive.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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