Founding (non-ferrous metals)
The casting of non-ferrous metals, such as bronze, brass, gunmetal etc. See the separate entry for bell founding.
|Historic area of significance|
|Area currently practised||UK|
|Origin in the UK||Bronze Age|
|Minimum no. of craftspeople required|
|Current no. of trainees|
|Current no. of skilled craftspeople|
|Current total no. of craftspeople|
The number of foundries is falling as part of a domino-effect from the loss of the British steel industry. For example, there used to be 140 foundries in Middlesborough, alongside a foundry college – today there is only one non-ferrous foundry left.
The basic principles of founding are to create a wooden pattern of the item to be case which is then used to make a mould. The pattern is removed and the void is filled with molten metal. Once the metal has cooled, the casting is ‘fettled’ to finish it.
There are different types of casting, including greensand casting and CO2 casting.
Issues affecting the viability of the craft
Craftspeople currently known
A list of foundries can be found on the UK Foundries and Scottish Foundries websites. This list includes both ferrous and non-ferrous foundries. The Cast Metals Federation website also offers a search facility for foundries.