Arcosanti and Cosanti’s famous bronze wind bells are made by hand everyday at both sites. Each site is equipped with a furnace were the bronze is heated inside of a crucible, a ceramic container in which the bronze may be melted or subjected to very high temperatures. The furnace is heated every weekday to temperatures between 2,200 and 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of that constant change in temperature, it’s only a matter of time before the furnace begins to deteriorate, and so every three to four months the foundry employees must make a new furnace. This past week, Ali and Taylour built the form for a new furnace.
The Foundry works with one Furnace at the time, but it always have three potentially working furnaces. When one deteriorates, they move on the back up one. When this switch happens, they build the new one. Allowing for there to always be two extra in case of emergency. The first step to building a new furnace is to build a form.
Here Taylour is finishing the center of the form which with be the empty space in the center of the furnace.
The exterior barrel will hold in the outside of the form and must be screwed into place so it doesn’t move when the refectory concrete is poured. When the form is done and the concrete is poured we need to wait until three weeks before to be able to use the new furnace. If the concrete is not completely dry, with the high temperatures, the furnace could explode. Stay tuned for a post about the concrete pour.
(photos by rebecca weeks, text by lvb and Shannon Mackenzie)