Rugo Stone was commissioned by acclaimed artist Mr. Chas Fagan to produce a marble bust of President James Madison for a private collector. The 3-month process started with a plaster model provided by the client. We first 3D scanned the model and created a mesh model for production. Then, using the dimensions from the 3D scan, we specially sourced a marble block from Carrara, Italy, with a clear white background and no distinct veining.
The selected block was inspected to identify hidden defects, cracks, or blemishes. Then, using the 3D scan file, we prepared a program for our 5-axis CNC machine. The machine made relief cuts while still leaving enough material to hand carve later. We loaded a “finger” bit for the next step, a small tool used for carving. The machine knocked out all the undulations created by the previous step to provide a smoother surface to work with. The machine repeated this step on specific areas. On the areas that the tooltip could reach, we had set the precision for milling down to be 1/8″ less than the actual required level. This allowed us to make tweaks in the finishing stage by hand.
Once the machining was complete, our master carver meticulously carved out the remainder of the bust. With a chisel, the carver hand-carved the nuances from the plaster model. Several discussions with the client took place throughout the finishing process to identify and approve specific finishes and degrees of finishing for the face and garment detailing.