Okay, here are pics of how to mount a life-size sculpture. First, how do you get it from the foundry (in Oregon) to the site (in Wisconsin)? On an open flatbed trailer. Imagine the looks you'd get hauling it down the highway!
Out west, you see all kinds of big sculptures being hauled around like that, particularly around Loveland CO before and after the Loveland Sculpture Invitational, which I did until diesel got too expensive for me to haul my bronzes from Ohio to CO. *sigh* Anyway, here's the horse (at a very distant view) on the trailer. The horse is 8' tall, over 9' long and 2000 lbs.
He was bolted to the trailer by his three points of contact with the ground (two hooves and his tail) and strapped down with two long racheting straps which were wrapped in cloth and then plastic around his middle, just cushioned by a towel over his neck. The lacquer on his middle was marred by the plastic wrapping because it got rained on the first night out and the plastic held the rain against it - at least that's the theory. My foundry owner, who delivered the piece, brought patina supplies with him and repaired it so you'd never know there was a problem.
Anyway, back to the installation. (The repair was the last step, done after the installation was complete.)
As I said, he was bolted to the trailer. These are not the threaded rods he was installed with. They were replaced by stainless steel 1" thick, 12" long threaded rods.
The crane was HUGE! It had to lift things ABOVE the 37 foot high flagpoles nearby. The crane operator worked with "surgical skill" as my husband put it.
The horse had ONE strap around his middle when he was lifted! I was nervous about it, but my foundry owner knows what he's doing. He got it positioned correctly the first try. The crane operator lifted it off the trailer a tiny bit to see if it was balanced and it was. A blanket was used to keep the strap from rubbing the horse's finish. I'll share those pics after he's dedicated. It was amazing to see that huge bronze just spinning in the air a few inches above the grass while the installation site was being prepared.
A template was made based on the holes in the trailer, then transferred to the black concrete plinth that had been made for the horse.
They marked the spots where the holes needed to be and used a drill that drills a circle, not a hole, to make the holes. They removed the cores after the drilling was complete (12" deep holes, IIRC). The 12" stainless steel rods were screwed 1 1/2" into the horse and the rest would be in the holes.
This is the drill. It took quite a while to drill each hole. After the core was removed, the installers aimed a heat gun into the hole to dry it (the drilling was done with water to keep the bit cool - they used a wet-dry vacuum to suck up the excess water and keep the site pristine). They blew air into the hole to remove any debris and made sure the hole was dry before going further. My foundry guy said he doesn't dry out the holes - the moisture left keeps the epoxy from "kicking" too soon - but he left them to do their own method and just told me about it, since I was there to learn.
The rods aligned with the holes perfectly!
Once they had the holes prepared, they lowered the horse so the rods were about halfway into the holes and started putting epoxy in. They were using a quick-set epoxy, which would prove to be a problem.
The problem was, it was a cold blustery day with high winds, but the sun was shining brightly. It was 50 degrees, but felt like it was in the 30s, I believe (I had on four or five layers to stay warm.) The epoxy was supposed to set in 12-15 minutes at 50 degrees. The bright sun on that black concrete (which is black all the way through) made the epoxy kick way too soon, locking the front rod in solidly - it could not be moved. The two back rods still had some movement, but all of them had to be cut off with a Sawzall (the guy went through three blades cutting them off - stainless steel is HARD!). Then my customer had to go to Fastenall (fortunately there were several locations not too far away) to replace the rods my foundry guy had brought with him. He got the right size rod
and the installation guys cut three 12" rods off that 6' rod (wearing out two cutter blades in the process). One of the installers went to get slower-setting epoxy, too. Meanwhile, the other installers were re-drilling the hole with that circular drill bit, pulling the epoxy out like cores from a geological expedition. The holes were exactly as they had been before (whew!). So they did it all over again, and this time it was successful!
BTW, you don't need to fill up the hole with epoxy. Filling it half-way will do the job just fine. And it's best to have separate people filling each hole at the same time so you don't have to worry about the epoxy setting up too soon.
The installers said there won't be any problem with freezing and thawing damaging the installation (the epoxy and concrete under the horse) because the final step is to put sealant (a specific kind of caulk that also matches the color of the horse, not silicon, because silicon will peel off over time) around each part that touches the ground to keep moisture out.
I ALWAYS sign my work, usually with my complete name, the Christian fish and the copyright symbol and year.
I love how his feathers (the long hair on his legs) turned out, and his mane and tail are gorgeous. The mane catches the light in a beautiful way.
I always have the patina on my pieces buffed back on the high spots so there's even more "dimension" to the piece. I also use transparent patinas so you can see the metal through the color. The glitter of the bronze through the patina helps the horse look "alive" because real horses' coats often have a metallic sheen.
I'm really pleased with how the feathers on this foot turned out. I really struggled trying to make the hair look right as this foot hits the ground. I must have sculpted it six or seven different ways before I called my friend and mentor, Marcia Van Woert, who has sculpted Afghan hounds for years, so she KNOWS hair! She helped me "organize" the hair so the splash looks good and the hair isn't going to be a water-trap when the piece gets rained on (which it already has since being installed). (A "'water trap" is a place on an outdoor bronze where water will puddle, therefore creating green spots on the bronze if it isn't maintained carefully. Foundries will drill a "drip hole" - a hole to drain that water to the inside of the bronze - in places that are particularly bad about catching water. I designed him not to need any drip holes.)
That's all I can share for now. Look for pics of the installed piece in late June!