The HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts


Founding (ferrous metals)


The casting of ferrous metals, such as iron and steel.


Status Endangered
Craft category Metal
Historic area of significance
Area currently practised UK
Origin in the UK Iron Age
Current no. of professionals (main income)
Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
Current no. of trainees
Current total no. serious amateur makers
Current total no. of leisure makers
Minimum no. of craftspeople required



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.




Local forms



  • Greensand moulding


Issues affecting the viability of the craft


Support organisations

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.


Other information

Iron founding is indeed still viable in the UK, but the modern industry is largely deskilled and mainly based on automation. Traditional iron founding is an entirely different prospect. The craft skills for greensand moulding have been lost over the years and there are fewer foundries currently able to do this.