Founding (ferrous metals)
The casting of ferrous metals, such as iron and steel.
|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.
- Greensand moulding
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.
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.