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Old 04-19-2012, 09:41 PM
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ArtsyLynda ArtsyLynda is offline
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Installing a life-size horse

My life-size bronze horse was installed today!!!!!! I can't show pics of the whole thing until after it's dedicated in June, but after I get the pictures organized, I'll show you some cropped pics and tell you about the process. In the meantime, YAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 04-19-2012, 11:04 PM
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Re: Installing a life-size horse

Here's a pic of me with it, cropped closely enough my customer shouldn't mind. I was freezing, by the way - that's why I don't have my hand cupping the bronze!

The finished horse is 2000 lbs and about 18 1/2 hands as he stands. If he stood upright, he'd be 19 1/2 hands. He's in such a monumental setting, him being oversized (the live horse was 17 hands) is perfect. He looks fabulous in the setting my customer designed for him.
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Old 04-20-2012, 08:53 AM
Patrick Eubanks Patrick Eubanks is offline
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Re: Installing a life-size horse

What a great achievement. What I can see looks great
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:59 AM
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Re: Installing a life-size horse

Agreed, great from what I see! The flare of the nostrils makes it look so soft even though it's bronze.
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Old 04-20-2012, 07:41 PM
sculpturedolls sculpturedolls is offline
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Re: Installing a life-size horse

Can you believe you did it! Yay! You are in the realm of the big time sculptors who make monumental works. That's quite an achievement I'd say. Congratulations! Look forward to the pics where we can see all the scenery around him and how he looks outside.
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Old 04-22-2012, 02:04 PM
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Re: Installing a life-size horse

Thanks, y'all! We're home now - once we left there, I didn't have time to open my computer until now. All the pics are large files, so I'll work on them and post a few here when I can.
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Old 04-25-2012, 12:38 AM
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Terry Wynn Terry Wynn is offline
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Re: Installing a life-size horse

Can't wait to see the photos when appropriate. Congratulations!

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Old 04-25-2012, 09:54 AM
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Re: Installing a life-size horse

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.

Mane detail.

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!
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:13 AM
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Re: Installing a life-size horse


It looks like he's flying in the sixth picture, before he's bolted down! So, I'm a newcomer to this endeavor ... "who" was the model? The pose and all that luxuriant hair make me think of a Friesian, but whatever he was he must be lovely to look at. Can't wait to see pics of the whole thing -- or maybe I'll just have to go to Wisconsin and find it myself.
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Old 04-25-2012, 12:25 PM
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Re: Installing a life-size horse

Awesomely beautiful! Love it, love it! The color, the feathers, and I remember what the stance looks like, he is a beautiful monument and must have filled your soul with great happiness to be involved in this whole thing.

Thanks for the step by step instructions on what you learned. Maybe one day I'll need to check back on this thread for advices . Guess those guys will learn from the quick set glue locking in that first foot. Good to see the glue works though!

Look forward to seeing dedication pics and him in his outdoor setting.
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Old 04-25-2012, 03:26 PM
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Re: Installing a life-size horse

Smudgy, the sculpture is a portrait of the Friesian stallion, Nanning 374 and is on his owner's private farm in Wisconsin. How do you know about Friesians? Are you a horse person? Just wondered.

SD - glad my post helped! I figured it might be helpful to somebody else at some point. And yeah, I don't think they'll ever use quick-set epoxy on a bright sunny day with black concrete again! It could've been a disaster (if the horse's feet or legs had twisted, for instance) but we made it through okay! Huzzah!!
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:48 PM
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Re: Installing a life-size horse

Congratulations. From what you've shown us so far, it looks beautiful... Love that mane. Look forward to the pics of the installed work.


Mike
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Old 04-28-2012, 02:39 PM
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Re: Installing a life-size horse

Thanks a lot, Michael! The tail and feathers are dimensional like the mane too - they really catch the light well, but on that blustery, overcast day, the mane caught the light despite the gloom. Can't wait to see how it looks on a beautiful sunny day! Crossing my fingers for outstanding weather on the day it's dedicated!
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Old 05-02-2012, 04:03 PM
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Re: Installing a life-size horse

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtsyLynda
Smudgy, the sculpture is a portrait of the Friesian stallion, Nanning 374 and is on his owner's private farm in Wisconsin. How do you know about Friesians? Are you a horse person? Just wondered.
Oh, I was just a "horse-crazy girl" like so many of us. The "Baroque"-type horses that looked like they should be carrying knights or drawing fancy carriages were the most beautiful to me. Friesians were my ultimate faves because they were all-black, and they had those fantastic high-stepping feathered legs and powerful builds without being bulky draft horses.
Then I learned that Fell Ponies existed, and I had to make room for more than one favorite.
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Old 05-03-2012, 03:00 PM
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Re: Installing a life-size horse

Fell ponies are indeed a lovely miniature substitute for Friesians! I never got over being a horse-crazy girl. Here I am at 62 sitting in my sweaty dressage breeches because I'm too tired to drag myself upstairs, shower and change. Just got home from a wonderful lesson on my horse, Ricos. It's hot out (mid-80s and humid) and I'm pooped!!
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