Now let me be totally honest with you - despite some 20+ years in the signage industry, to my shame I've never once deployed the process. So I thought I'd better find out about it.
So who better to ask than a specialist: Kevin Hall, a Western Australian plaque manufacturer...
KH: Yes, for a while! Captain Cook's cannons were made in exactly the same way. The process is basically one of pouring molten bronze into a cast box of damp sand. A polymer is made to determine the plaque's shape.
KH: As long as the lettering is 5mm or over with ample kerning (letter spacing) it should cast OK.
DG: What advantage does the process offer over other plaque producing processes?
KH: This is one of the few products that will last for hundreds of years as there are no rusting metals involved.
DG: So the question on everyone's lips: is it a terribly expensive process?
KH: Yes, it is expensive as it's quite time consuming and all hand made - just as it was 200 years ago. But when you consider that such a plaque will last forever it makes the process very cheap per day!
DG: Is colour applied by hand, Kevin?
KH: Colours are all hand painted and coated with a two pack clear lacquer afterwards.
KH: Yes, shapes and even photos can be cast.
DG: Are there size limitations to the process?
KH: Limitations are few as long as it's not too small lettering wise. As for overall size, about 1500mm wide is about it.
DG: Finally, Kevin, any particularly memorable projects you can tell us about?
KH: The most memorable would have to be the ten huge plaques we produced to commemorate HMAS Sydney that was sunk during World War 2.