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Metals have certain
physical properties, which makes them a favorite medium for artists and
sculptors. They are mostly shiny and have a high density. Metals are compliant,
impressionable, have a high melting point and are usually hard. They are also
good conductors of electricity and heat. Apart from pure metals, people also use
metal alloys for sculpting.
Popular metals used for sculpting include steel and bronze. Once a particular steel type is selected, it needs to be sanded, brushed, polished and refined. The final outcome is coated with a clear coat lacquer finish. More modern styles of metal sculpture are encouraging the use stainless steel and patented stainless steel.
Some sculptures are
created by a new direct-metal printing method. This process brings into being a
complex steel-bronze metal with a rich surface. Bronze can be oxidized to a nice
brown color, using heated sulfur and ammonia compounds. However, sculptors need
to pay attention to proper ventilation in their work area, as these techniques
develop objectionable odors.
In order to avoid rust, when dealing with steel, using very hot dips and drying immediately with a heat gun is often practiced. This makes sure the metal isn't wet for more than a few seconds at a time. Oxidation, which involves dipping the metal and using abrasives, smoothes the corners and the rough parts of the surface. This method also brightens the high points, while leaving color inside the texture.
When a sculpture is complete, it is put in a polish tumbler with a steel shot. This adds a shine to the art object. The process is followed by a light oil dip to seal the exterior. Since metals react with oxygen, in due course of time it is possible that a metal sculpture will start to rust or corrode. Hence while selecting a sculpture, a person must pay attention to check if the object has a good finish to guarantee a long-lasting work of art.
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