Extensively practiced by the artisans of Reha, sand casting is one of the oldest casting techniques in which recycled metals are melted and poured into one-time used molds made from river sand.
Back in the days, artisans from the Lohar community of Kutch's Nani Reha and Mota Reha villages, specialised in making swords and knives for kings, and also weaponry and agriculture implements. Later on, they started supplying knives to the Anjar market which were known for their antique appearance as well as durability. However, with time, these handmade knives started losing their edge to Chinese products -- think knives that are fancy as well as cheap.
To help sustain this craft, through a series of design interventions and product developments in collaboration between artisans and designers, Khamir is working to help sustain the craft and making it lucrative to the younger generation of artisans. The result being collections such as the Reha Chef's Knives and Reha Jewellery, which use ancient techniques and practises such as blade crafting, sand casting, polishing and buffing birthing products that are the result of many artisans’ collaborative work, which in turn helps strengthen the sector.
What's' In the Technique
First, an epoxy compound model of the designs is created. The caster uses these to make sand molds. Metal rings hold the pressed sand that forms the top and bottom parts of the mold. Then, recycled metals such as household utensils and old pipes are then melted into pourable metal inside a coal-fuelled furnace. This melted metal is then hand poured into stacked molds. After they are cooled, the sand is broken to reveal the objects. Raw unfinished cast pieces fresh out of the sand molds. These are then hand filed and polished to complete the process."