Richmond Iron makes accurate reproduction castings for historic restoration of cast iron, bronze and aluminum sand castings. The preservation of original cast metal work is our first priority, but for missing or broken pieces the best way to honor the past is to make an accurate reproduction using traditional methods. The artisans at Richmond Iron use traditional molding and casting techniques to reproduce historical castings and to preserve traditional foundry trade craft and ornamental casting sculpture.
Historic restoration of larger cast iron structures often requires replacement of missing or broken castings. Reproduction castings can be made directly from a good original casting sample if the casting is easy to draw out of the sand. But, some castings have undercuts or complex details that are easier to mold in sand if a rubber pattern or copy is made from an original casting. The mother molds of the original casting used to make the rubber pattern can also be used as follow boards for molding in resin bonded sand. The video below shows a demonstration of how this is done in the foundry.
When the Prospect Park Alliance restored the Lakeshore and Music Island all of the original castings had been lost. Members of the Alliance furnished old photographs of family members at the park to the Prospect Park Architects and Richmond Iron reproduced all of the railing castings from photographs and architectural drawings. To reproduce the railing castings in full detail including undercuts and other shadow relief features, the pattern makers at Richmond Iron used advanced foundry pattern techniques like loose pieces and flexible urethane loose pieces.
The foundry pattern makers at Richmond Iron are master craftsmen. A traditional foundry pattern enables economical reproduction of historic castings in modern foundries, and by using advanced hard pattern techniques like flexible urethane loose pieces Richmond Iron can reproduce intricate castings in a volume casting process. The combination of traditional foundry patterns and modern foundry sand casting is an authentic and efficient way to reproduce historic castings.
The James Monroe Tomb at Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia was completely dismantled, repaired, repainted and reinstalled. Richmond Iron reproduced all of the cast iron elements that were beyond repair of missing. A total of 25 castings were reproduced, 5 castings were duplicated by loose piece molding for a substantial cost savings over making foundry patterns.
Direct sand molding, making a sand mold directly from an original casting, is the most economical way to make small numbers of duplicate castings. The sculptors at Richmond Iron are expert mold makers and foundry craftsmen who can reproduce almost any original casting without a foundry pattern.
The New York City MTA completely restored the Corbin Building in 2011 as part of a major Manhattan transit infrastructure project. To restore the cast iron window surrounds, fireplaces and interior cast iron stair railings, Richmond Iron created over 80 unique foundry patterns and 600 reproduction castings from originals to replace missing or broken elements. The Corbin Building restoration is one of the largest building restoration projects ever completed in New York City and demonstrates the large scale project capabilities of Richmond Iron. Few companies are able to make accurate historic reproduction castings at this scale.
The Jefferson graveyard enclosure was recently expanded by the Monticello Association using reproduction cast iron posts and finials from Richmond Iron. The fence posts were faithfully produced from samples of the original cast iron and included a change to the post base to allow for a shorter post to be installed on a granite base.