Thursday, September 19, 2013

Metal Casting Class Syllabus, October 5 & 6, 2013

Basic Metal Casting Class Syllabus

a. Safety First!
b. Clothing Requirements
  • Absolutely no open toed footwear allowed. Leather boots or shoes recommended
  • Long pants in a natural fiber, synthetics and synthetic blends discouraged
  • Long sleeved shirt in a natural fiber (cotton, wool, etc…)
  • Safety glasses are recommended
c. A Brief History
d. Metal Casting Processes

  •  Lost foam
  • Lost wax (investment)
  • Permanent Mold
  • Die casting
  • Rotocasting
  • Sand Casting

                        a: Hard-Bonded Sand
                        b: Petrobond Sand
                        c: Green Sand
            1. Low Melt Alloys/Lead
            2. Aluminum
            3. Copper Alloys
            4. Iron/Steel
Crucible Furnaces
  • Solid Fuel
  • Charcoal
  • Liquid Fuel
  • Gaseous Fuel
  • Propane/Natural Gas
  • Wood Gas/Producer Gas
a.       Reverbatory Furnace
b.      Cupola
c.       Crucibles
d.      Types
e.       Handling Equipment
f.        Care and Feeding
  • Basic Sand Casting Equipment
  • The Sand
                        a. Type and Mesh
                                    - Permeability and Surface Finish
                        b. Clay/Sand Proportions
                        c. Mixing and Tempering
                        d. Mulling
 a. Fixed
 b. Snap

Sprue Pins/Cutters
Spoons and Slicks


Parting Compound

Molding Bench

Basic Patternmaking


Draft + Shrink
Loose Patterns vs. Mounted

Split Patterns


Gating and Risering



Shrinkage prevention

Directional Solidification

Gate Placement

Risers and Shrinkers



Making a Mold
            Hands-on Demo

Melt and Pour
            1. Put on PPE
            2. Cold Practice
            3. Fire it up!

Cooldown and Shakeout

Sprue/Gate Removal


Proper PPE will be provided for the pouring  (gloves/gauntlets, leather apron and face shield)


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Painted Pony Silent Auction Items

For those of you attending the silent auction for our annual fundraiser gala, the Painted Pony Party, there will be a silent auction. The following items will be on display in the space below the Sandwich Shop at the museum.  The following items are offered:

1. A GIFT BASKET from Thurston and Peters Sugarhouse

2. An AVON BASKET ( Donation of Alicia Baresel )(Value: $80)

3. A Framed "Wedding" Paper Cut ( Image is cut from one piece of paper)(Value: $20)

4. A Brown Glazed Milk PITCHER (Bennington) with Grape Vine Relief (Value:$45)

5. A Brown Glazed Ceramic PITCHER with Corn on the Cob Relief (Value: $45)

6.  Glazed Antique APPLE CIDER JUG (Value: $50)

7. ANTIQUE HOBBY HORSE ( $250 Reserve)

8. A 45 Minute Ride in a Seven Passenger 1929 STUDABAKER TOURING CAR ($100 Reserve)


10. A 5- Gallon Bucket of Country Store DILL PICKLES ($40  Reserve)

11.A GIFT BASKET from the COUNTRY STORE ( $65 Value )

12. An Introduction to BLACKSMITHING COURSE, 4 hours, October 5, 10-2PM ($75 Value)

13. Antique HALL MIRROR  


Monday, September 9, 2013

Metal Casting Class: October 5/6, 2013

·        Sat., October 5, 8-4:30 & Sun., October 6, 8-4:30, we will offer a Metal Casting Class. Peter Grant, the proprietor of Odd Duck Foundry, a small metal casting enterprise in Orrington, ME, will share his knowledge of furnace making, fuels, heating, metals, molds and casting in various metals. This class will involve creating sand cast molds, heating either brass, bronze or aluminum and casting an object(s). Some file work may be necessitated for a final product to take home. $225, tools and materials provided. 

Check out:

      This should give you an idea of the process we will be going through to complete the projects in this class.

View the following:

This sand casting flask was created though the process of sand casting by Peter Grant. This receives the green sand that is essential to creating a pattern.

This is ramming paddle for packing green sand into a flask is also cast in aluminum. This might be a beginner's project.

This bracket was copied from a Champion 400 blacksmithing blower. By pressing objects in green sand you can essentially replicate them in various metals, including the original metal. The original bracket was cast steel but aluminum is very durable and has been used on a blacksmithing blower assembly for five years without any visible wear. This was completed by Willowbrook director Robert Schmick under Peter Grant's tutelage.

Peter Grant imparting his knowledge of metal casting in class that was organization by Robert Schmick at the the Curran Homestead Living History Farm and Museum in Orrington, ME in 2009.

Here we see Peter Grant handling a ceramic crucible after pouring brass into a sand casting flask. The flask has drippings of molten brass at the sprue. The homemade furnace that he uses is to his left with a visible flame appearing from its top.

Grant created these pair of crucible tongs that he regularly uses from a set of golf clubs; how's that for Yankee ingenuity. The philosophy inherent in this class is that you can do metal casting on a very modest budget as a furnace and tools can be made by the enthusiast. The metal caster of yore often made his own tools as well for the purpose of casting parts and making ingenious innovations to his tools and machinery.

This aluminum casting of a nameplate was first done in cast iron for the restoration of a Lombard Log Hauler. As there were no original name plates to be had, Peter found a photograph in a book that he was able to make a pattern in order to replicate this. The design is being reproduced for the purposes of souvenirs that double as a pot trivet. 

here we see the original alongside of an aluminum copy. This is a part to a riveter's forge. As you can see a bit of drilling and file work will be required to make the aluminum replication a serviceable copy.

Here you see a furnace in the process of melting brass. Notice the cast aluminum blower that serves in the delivery of fuel to furnace.

Here we see the process of "coping out" the green sand for the purpose of metal casting.

Pouring molten grass from a crucible.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What's new at Willowbrook?

What’s new at 19th Century Willowbrook Village? The museum has been very busy this summer, and has a number of offerings that might be of interest.

·         On September 21, 6-9PM, the museum hosts its annual outdoor/indoor gala, The Painted Pony Party. A whole pig roast will be done outdoors with salad, vegetables and breads. Desserts will be provided by Blue Elephant Catering. There will artist/artisans on site, a silent movie, a Blue Grass Band, Southern Maine Picking Society, and silent auction. The museum will be open with rides on our 1894 Armitage-Herschell horse carousel. $20 Individual; $36 couple. Call us. 

·         On September 21 & 22, silhouette artist Jean Comerford of Hardwick, MA will be doing Silhouette Portraits by Reservation. This involves cutting a likeness from life with a small, very sharp set of scissors. The portraits are done with thin black paper that is pasted on a card stock. Framing available. Duplicates available. Framing available. 10 minute sittings are between 12Noon-8PM (Sat), 10-3PM(Sun). RSVP Please. $30 a portrait, $10 duplicates; single frame $29

·         On September 27,28 & 29, we will have our second Intensive Bladesmithing Class. Eighteen hours over a three day weekend. Students will learn safety, tools, fire making, heating, cutting, hammering, shaping, hardening and tempering. The project will be a knife with a prepared tang for a handle. Students have a second beginner's choice of three fireplace tools instead of a knife. Bladesmith Adriaan Gerber of Lamoine makes knives and edge tools that are sold all over the world; he will be the instructor (see his website). $325, all tools and materials supplied. Class limited to six students. RSVP now.

·          Sat., October 5, 8-4:30 & Sun., October 6, 8-4:30, we will offer a Metal Casting Class. Peter Grant, the proprietor of Odd Duck Foundry, a small metal casting enterprise in Orrington, ME, will share his knowledge of furnace making, fuels, heating, metals, molds and casting in various metals. This 2-day class will involve creating sand cast molds, heating either brass, bronze or aluminum and casting an object(s). Some file work may be necessitated for a final product to take home. $225, tools and materials provided. RSVP, as this is limited to six.

·         Fri, Oct 12, Lecture at the Ball Room at Willowbrook, Woodlands Interpreter Ken Hamilton will discuss Tools and Hardware of the Historic Fur Trade in Maine. The talk will include a slide show and many authentic 17th and 18th century edge tools and trade items from the Maine frontier. Hamilton has extensive knowledge of cutlery and tools typical of this time as well as Algonquin peoples of the region. He has a long experience as an historic artifact artist and consultant supplying living history programs around the US as well as contributions to movies like the Last of the Mohicans. $10 or included in the accompanying hands-on workshop.Proceeds go the museum.

·         Sat., Oct 13 & Sun. Oct 14, 2013, blacksmithing class: Tools and Hardware of the Historic Fur Trade in Maine. Ken Hamilton will take up the topic of the Friday night lecture with this hands-on workshop. Students will be introduced to historical artifacts like Biscayne axes, tomahawks and crooked knives which were ubiquitous among woodsmen in the 17th--18th century Maine frontier. Students will make a strike-o-light, a fire-making tool, and a tomahawk. Tuition: $225, all tools and materials supplied.

For more information visit:, blog ( search engine in right hand column):, or our Facebook. Call us: 207-793-2784, Email: See the "Ken Hamilton", blacksmithing, and "Metal Casting" albums on Facebook.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

3-Day Blacksmithing Class, Sept. 27, 28 & 29, 2013, Sign Up Now: 207-793-2784 or

Ken Hamilton, the Woodlands Interpreter; Lecture (Oct. 11, 6-7PM) and Blacksmithing Class (Oct 12 &13, 9AM-4:30PM): Tools and Hardware of the Historic Fur Trade

       19th Century Willowbrook Village will host living history speaker Ken Hamilton from 6-7 PM, Friday, October 11, at the museum, 70 Elm Street. Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres   served. Suggested admission:$10 Proceeds to benefit the museum. All welcome. RSVP, if you like. Hamilton, an expert on the Algonquian-speaking cultures of the northeast, is a 17th and 18th century Native “Woodland” interpreter who will speak on Native American life and the material culture that would have existed among Native Americans of what is now southern Maine.
       The talk will include a slide show and authentic trade objects from the period as well as historically accurate artifacts of Hamilton’s own making including axes, tomahawks, pipes and brooches; he has provided the material culture for museum presentations like the Wapanoag Village at Plimoth Plantation and the William Johnson House in Upstate NY, among others. His work has also included consultation and costume for such productions as Michael Mann’s The Last of the Mohicans.
       Hamilton will be here at 19th Century Willowbrook Village to also teach “Tools and Hardware of the Historic Fur Trade” on Sat. & Sun, October 12 & 13, 9AM-4:30PM (14 hours of instruction). The class is limited to eight. Students will complete two projects: a strike-o-light and a tomahawk (see right column of blog). This class with include a review of safety, fire making, shaping, cutting, hardening and tempering. Visit our Facebook and/or blog: for more details. This class for intermediate or advanced blacksmithing students will involve the use of spring steel, but students will have the opportunity to witness the more historically accurate composite construction of edge tools through forge welding two different grades of steel. The class tuition is $250, lecture on Oct. 11 included with RSVP, tools and materials provided. Class size limited so reserve your place.
        Hamilton is professional interpreter who has developed school and museum programs in Maine, New York and other states.. A resident of Corinth, Maine, Hamilton is an historical reproduction artist applying his skills in blacksmithing, stone carving, silversmithing, among others to create authentic colonial era material culture, especially those from French and British trade.
      “At one outdoor history program for middle school students I organized in Maine in recent years,” said Willowbrook director Dr. Robert Schmick “Hamilton, dressed in authentic period Wabanaki costume, and having set up his camp of trade objects, birch bark canoe and the like next to a pond with beaver gnawed tree stumps, cast a spell over the whole group and transported us all back to the Maine frontier of the 18th century. It’s a treat to hear him speak and to see him.” RSVP: 207-793-2784 or


Cornish Historical Society Presents: Blacksmiths and Gunsmiths: Building and Repairing Firearms in Maine 1670-1720