The Mark V Monument 'Jake'
“Success cannot be achieved in the absence of accuracy and attention to detail”
In 2007 our CEO Paul Guiver BEM was approached by members of the Engineering Department at the US Naval Diving & Salvage Training Center, Panama City Beach, Florida. They provided him with the awareness and an invitation for Diver's Gifts & Collectables to tender for the building of a 'Deepsea Diver Monument' which would be installed at the base.
Paul's historic passion for creating gifts for divers, inspired by his in-depth experience in procurement and project management, won him the Contract to design, build and deliver 'Jake'.
He started immediately!
Building 'Jake' The Clay Sculpture
Choosing the best artist for the job and getting the detail right from the start is important.
The armature is required for the interior structure. This is used to keep the sculpting material from slumping or possibly breaking off during the creation.
Clay is applied firstly to form the figure and then to apply the detail.
It is important to give the clay masterpiece a thorough inspection to ensure nothing is missed before signing off, as this will be what the statuettes replicate.
First Mould, Wax and 3D CAD Scan
As well as choosing the best Artist, it is also equally important that you get a reputable and reliable foundry to do the job!
A master mould is made from the clay maquette in silicone rubber (encased with a GRP shell). Wax statuettes are then created from this mould.
Each wax statue then forms the 'ceramic' moulds used for creating the bronze statuettes after the 'Loss Wax Process'.
The 'master wax' (the first one made) is reserved for 3D CAD scanning; as seen in slide 3'
CNC Milling of Polyurethane Foam
The 3D software is used to dissect the 'scanned wax maquette into accurate workable pieces.
Computer Numerical Control (CNC) is a system used with 3D Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software to produce the required scaled-up statue sections; in this case, high density urethane foam.
It's then down to the sculptor to add all the fine detail with applied clay.
Clay application to foam
Detail, Detail, Detail!
Application of modelling clay is one of the most important stages of the build!
The sculptor uses his talent and skills to create the masterpiece which then goes on to be moulded like the maquette was.
Obviously, at just over 8ft, the memorial will be extremely detailed, because we just know there will be 'experts' looking to see if anything has been missed...
GRP reinforced silicone moulds
Silicone pliable moulds are reinforced externally with a fibreglass shell. This prevents any distortion and forms a more stable mould.
As with the original clay maquette (Artist's proof) every tiny detail including any flaws in the mould will be replicated in the final piece.
Attention to detail is everything!.
The Large Waxwork
Molten microcrystalline wax is then poured into the prepared silicone mould, swirled around to fill all gaps, then emptied out. This process is repeated several times to achieve the desired thickness of wax; producing a hollow identical copy of the original clay maquette.
A series of solid wax rods called 'sprues' which allow the molten bronze to appropriately flow into all areas of the sculpture. They also serve as vents to release any air or gases. A larger wax funnel is also added to the sculpture.
The wax parts are then 'chased' - removing any seam lines, imperfections and the detail must be checked against photographs of the original clay maquette.
The Shell Mould
The wax is dipped multiple times into a very fine ceramic fluid called slurry. The wax is typically dipped about eight times, with each layer adding thickness and strength.
Several coats are applied over the course of a week; allowing each coat to dry before re-applying.
When the piece is complete, it is then placed in a kiln. The wax sprues and maquette melt, leaving the 'shell' mold in the investment and the channels through which the molten bronze is then introduced.
Things get hot
Once this ceramic shell is complete and totally dry, it is placed in an large kiln at 1,500° to 1,800° Fahrenheit. At this stage, the wax melts out the pour hole, the funnel added earlier. It is “lost” from the ceramic shell.
You are now left with a 'one-time' highly detailed, heavy-duty ceramic mould that is ready to receive the melted bronze.
The ceramic shell is then brought to a pouring area and placed on sand with the ceramic funnel facing up. The foundry melts the bronze in a crucible to a temperature of 2,250° Fahrenheit. Molten bronze is poured in the mould from the crucible into the ceramic shell.
The bronze is cast, cleaned and assembled
Once the ceramic shell and bronze have cooled, the ceramic mould must be broken apart and removed. This is usually done with sledgehammers as the ceramic shell is very tough.
After the raw bronze is released from the shell, the sprues are cut off of the sculpture, typically with a torch.
The piece is then sand blasted to remove any remaining shell, which can get caught in the cavities and tight spaces.
Metal Chasing, Patination and Base Preparation
The metal chasing process is intense, requiring many tools and talent to bring each piece back to the perfection of the original design. The sections of raw bronze need to be welded back together with silica bronze rod. The chaser will use the rod and pneumatic tools to recreate the texture. The surface should be consistent across the entire sculpture so it looks like it was cast in one piece with no imperfections.
Patination is a very complex process. It is a fine art like oil painting but with chemicals (oxides & nitrates) and heat. Many factors determine the final patina, including how hot the metal is when applying the chemicals. They can be applied with a patina brush, spray bottle, or airbrush.
Jake complete and delivered to his new home
The final stage is to spray a several layers of lacquer over the piece to protect it for years to come.
Crated and shipped from the foundry to the US Naval Diving & Salvage Training Centre, Panama City Beach, Florida.
After 5 years the Monument is received by Customers Bob Barth & Dave Sullivan (2012).
Specialist engineers were employed to fit 'Jake' to his long awaited base; a granite-veneered concrete and rebar base in the shape of a pentagon. Each side of the 2 foot tall base features a bronze seal from one of the five branches of the U.S. Military. The monument is a dedication to past, present, and future graduates of all U.S. Navy Dive School
The unveiling of the Mark V Monument and the corresponding events that took place over the weekend made for a memorable event for all those who attended or were involved in success the Mark V Monument Project.
The 10 foot tall “Jake” monument, outside of the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center, at the Naval Support Activity Panama City, is a great honour to all past, present, and future U.S. Navy Diving School graduates and will forever celebrate dive traditions around the world