News: Tree Presentation by Hargreaves 'Artfoundryman'

11 December 2015

'Artfoundryman' Andrew Knight of Hargreaves Foundry, presented, 'The Manufacture of Art Castings' to an enthralled ensemble of Lancashire Branch Members of the Institute of Cast Metal Engineers (ICME).

After outlining the history of Halifax based Iron founders Hargreaves Foundry, Andrew steered the presentation on to the subject of Art Castings.

The presentation was based around the production of The Cast Iron Tree, which now stands in Kirkby town centre. The level of moulding skill required to produce the mould and core was clear, and admired by the audience, especially when it became apparent that there was no pattern, instead the foundry was presented with a recently felled 6M x 1.8M tree! The tree was adapted for moulding, but was still a long way from resembling a pattern and clearly nothing close to being ready to produce a mould fit to pour metal into.

Six weeks worth of moulding and closing time for 2 skilled moulders, including a large odd-side, countless drawbacks and cores for under cuts and knots, polystyrene padding and studs to produce the wall thickness, and finally produced a closed mould - with a core forming a 1inch wall thickness.

13 tonnes of liquid cast iron was taken to pour the job, in front of an audience which included the artist, local dignitaries, the mayor, local schools and charities (just to add to the pressure of the occasion). Thankfully the tree poured without incident, taking 90 seconds to complete. Several days later the casting was removed from the pit, had its runner system removed, and finished under the guidance of the artist. The final product was erected in Kirkby town centre.

Outlining several other art projects, it was evident to all that an extremely high level of skill was involved in the whole process of producing art castings at Hargreaves Foundry. From negotiations with the artists, who Andrew stated generally needed 'reigning in’ from their original grand ideas, to the complex production of the mould - using lost foam, lost wax and conventional moulding processes - and finally the fine finishing of the castings which on occasions involved Hargreaves Foundry in installations too, so offering the full service.

A lively question and answer session followed, with the Lancashire Branch agreeing it had been an excellent lecture, extremely insightful and interesting.

Thanks were offered by Senior Vice President Lee Jenkins.


Lee Jenkins pictured left with Andy Knight                   Completed Tree sculpture in Kirby    

Lee Jenkins pictured left with Andy Knight       Completed Tree sculpture in Kirby