Under the spotlight: sand casting.
A craft that’s been honoured for thousands and thousands of years, sand casting is our choice of method for creating the brass plate-and-ring handles used on a number of our French and modern country-style pieces. It all takes place in our workshop dedicated purely to sand casting in Jaipur’s Old Town.
Unsurprisingly, it starts and ends with sand. Dipak makes the casts. He blends crumbly sand with a treacle-like substance that he calls ‘jogrey’. It helps to bind the sand. Taking a ring-shaped container, he presses the sand down using his feet.
The team make so many, they keep a handful of finished handles as a template for future batches. The intricacies of the pattern are pressed into the sand and small channels are cut for the molten metal to run into.
A second ring and layer of sand is rested on top, sandwiching the brass medallion. When separated, the handle is removed, but the pattern’s impression remains.
Inside the kiln the metal is melted down. Once liquified, everything has to happen quickly to avoid it hardening. A small cup scoops the molten metal and pours it into the sand cast. It seeks out the available space, filling the pattern left by the medallion and pooling in the channels.
The cast is then plunged into cold water to encourage cooling. The sand resists the heat and when chipped away, the handle emerges. It’s polished by hand to remove any imperfections and to tease out the natural shine of the brass. And then the process begins once more.
Discover the beauty of sand casting.