The majority of Virginia Metalcrafters products are made by the process of sand casting. Sand casting is a 10,000 year old process and art that involves creating a cavity in damp sand and then filling that cavity with molten metal. After cooling the sand is broken away to reveal the rough casting.Because each sand mold must be destroyed in order to remove the casting, each casting is unique. The process begins with a hand carved pattern (called a “design”). A tool maker mounts the pattern on a metal plate which is then used to make each sand mold.
The metal plate, containing the pattern plus the channels that carry molten metal from an opening in the mold to the pattern, is placed between the two halves of a metal box called a flask. Both ends of this “box” are open so that sand can be packed against each side of the pattern. After the sand is tightly packed so that it holds its shape, the two halves of the mold are pulled away from the pattern plate, the pattern plate is removed, and the mold halves, which now have a hollow area which reproduces the pattern and the channels to carry the metal (called “gates”), are put together. As sand was poured into one side of the mold, a channel is created so that the molten metal can be poured into the mold, through the gates and into the pattern.