126 Pewter desk casting by Max Lamb
Published on March 9, 2012
Sand casting is one of the earliest forms of casting due to its simplicity and low-tech materials required. Sand casting produces metal components with a rough sand-like texture, often with a crude degree of accuracy, and therefore requires various finishing techniques to improve the surface finish.
This time, well known designer Max Lamb returned to his origins with sand-casting methods he experimented while studying at the RCA. However, this time the project got bigger than the pewter stool. The Method Case thinks that these types of projects perfectly fit into our vision: Products that its concept is the process. Moreover, we really want to emphasize the fact of Max diffusion of the process’ details.
Regarding the process, as he explains: “The date of the casting was scheduled for the 28th June as high tide coincided with sunrise and I knew I needed at least 6 hours to carve the mould and cast the pewter before the water table began to rise again. At 4:30am I began carving the negative of the desk into the sand using no more than a kitchen knife and a metal rod and by 10:30 the mould was ready for casting. We melted 180kg of pewter (92% tin, 2% copper, 6% antimony) in 30 stainless steel saucepans on 30 gas camping stoves. Myself and five assistants (including my dad), wearing leather welding gauntlets and safety goggles, began pouring the molten pewter into the sand mould one saucepan at a time in quick succession until the liquid pewter reached the brim of the mould. The pewter took over an hour to cool and solidify before I could begin to dig away the sand and excavate the the pewter desk, and between five of us we easily managed to lift the finished desk out from the sand. The natural texture of the sand appears on the legs and underside whilst the smooth seemingly molten surface of the pewter remains on the top surface of the desk.”