Cast #126 - Aluminum Fire Ant Colony Casting

Aluminum Fire Ant Colony Cast #126 - Front Picture.
Ant Type: Fire Ants (Solenopsis genus)

Cast Number: #126
Created: 1/7/2023
Cast Weight: 10.9 lb

Cast Material: Aluminum
Cast Dimensions: 11"x12"x15" (HxWxL)

Base: 9.5"x12" Rectangle, 0.75" thick
Base Wood: Red Oak

Mount: Bolt through base and cast
Orientation: Upside Down
This fire ant colony was built around a log, a large fallen limb from a water oak tree to be exact. The log was fairly old and partially sunk into the ground with the hill built on top of it. I’ve done one other cast with a log and decided to remove the log from the cast. This time I took an informal poll of my Facebook followers and 99.9% said “Keep the log!” This added quite a bit of work to the mounting process, and I had to attempt to preserve the partially rotten log with epoxy resin. One end of the log had quite a bit of rotting while the other end was in a little better shape although it is splitting quite a bit. The better end of the log is about 4.75" in diameter. This is definitely in my top three casts that I’ve done up to now.
Base Description
The base is an oak board, stained with medium brown dye stain and finished with warm satin polyurethane. Mounting of the cast to the base consists of two bolts through the base and into the cast at the pour stems. The pour stems are solid “tubes” of aluminum on the cast that are the result of aluminum filling the two holes I had to poke in the hill, one on each side of the log, in order to pour in the aluminum. These two bolts are enough to hold the cast securely but for good measure, I added a third connection to the base with a long wood screw into the log. The log is also very solidly fused with the aluminum cast surrounding it. I used oak dowels between the cast and the flat base board to position the cast in the proper orientation (although upside down from its natural state) and the screw/bolts pass through these dowels from the underside of the base.

This is one of just a few casts where I had to make the base from scratch due to the cast having a unique wider shape than the other casts and also for the need to accommodate the log. I trimmed radii in the corners of the board and routed the top edge with a roundover bit. I don’t hand-make many based from scratch and think this is one of the best I’ve done. It looks fantastic!