Wooden Pattern Making

GE Patterns & Foundry

Wooden foundry moulds and patterns are wooden tools, carved out or built up to create negative space, which in turn is used to make the inverse form or shape to be used for the casting of metal. To make a wooden mould, wood needs to be stacked up, like a relief, or cut out, like a sunken relief, with handles or other pieces to grab and pick up the mould from the moulding material. Individual pattern pieces that get packed into the moulding material are carved and shaped. The space or forms that these pieces make in the moulding material will be the inverse of the final cast piece.

The negative space of the wooden mould is pushed into the moulding material, which is typically a large container of sand. This is not your typical sand you find on the beach, but is mixed with other products to have wet, packing characteristics. The moulding or foundry sand is ideal for pouring liquid metal into, as the tiny silica particles will refract the temperature of the liquid. When using a wood pattern to make a cast piece, the interior core pattern shaped like the product needing to be cast is placed between the two outer moulds, and sand is poured in. In this process, the moulds are pushed together to squeeze the pattern that has been placed in the sand. Once patterns or moulds are removed from the moulded sand, liquid metal is poured into the impression left by the pattern in the sand. The moulding material can then be reused each time to create new metal castings.

From 1877-1920, an industrial movement was in full force. Electricity became a viable source of energy. Mechanization to create products easily and quickly was necessary to keep up with the demand of products. Increased use of factory systems to create products required changes in labour practices. The standards of living increased, as did the availability of products. During this time period, the architecture of the home changed in the type of products used in the home, and the materials that were available to create them.
These wooden foundry moulds from the Machine Age are a reminder of the nation's industrial past, a large factor in shaping the culture of the Modern era. While these pieces would not have traditionally been found in a residence, the types of industrial forms could have been used in the design of interior furnishings. These geometric shaped foundry moulds could potentially be converted into lamps bases, table legs, electronic device stands, and other furnishings that could reference this era.

Moulds are industrial, steampunk designs of striking colours and unusual shapes. Mould designs can be simple or complex, and without careful removal after casting the mould can break. Wooden foundry moulds are getting harder and harder to find. They are unique, authentic pieces formed through a number of processes and craftsmanship