Whether you’re producing precast items such as wall dressings, window surrounds and porticos or large facade panels, bridge parapets or staircases, timber moulds can play an integral part of the manufacturing process. Timber moulds are versatile and are able to form precast concrete into a variety of shapes. Predominantly a timber mould will consist of a base, 2 sides and 2 ends, the sides and ends being independent of the base in order that they can be easily removed to enable the precast unit to be lifted from the base. Any detailing can be carried on the sides and ends but may be subject to a moulding taper to allow the side or end to be removed from the precast item without damaging the item itself or indeed the mould as it is likely that the mould will need to be used for a number of units. Timber moulds are also adaptable and the ability to be able to insert a stop end or division in order to cast a shorter length means that a number of varying items can be cast from one mould with changes, it is worth noting that there are limitations to this, for example, a large full-scale change may lead to more downtime on-site for instance where a mould supplied to cast a particular unit would be quicker for production. Here at 3D Pattern and Mouldmakers ltd we can advise the best course of action and will work with our customers to find an outcome that will inevitably be inline with budget and plan.
So, when we look at the finer details around timber mould manufacture, it pays to consider what the mould is actually going to be casting and the quantity of units required. Timber moulds can be used effectively in the production of ornate cast stone using orders of architecture such as Doric, Ionic and Corinthian, manufacturing moulds of this nature is highly satisfying for the skilled mould maker and the results are outstanding for the precast manufacturer. If high numbers are required of a straight cornice section, for instance, the decision may be made to make more than 1 mould to pick up these and another mould to pick up any additional variants. In this case, let’s assume we need to allow a left hand and right-hand return unit to be cast and these will need to include the profile of the front face of the precast unit (or stone) to return around a corner. The mould with the returns could be made sufficiently long enough to cast both handed variants but then with the addition of 2 stop end plates be able to cast straight units also. The ability to achieve any given section makes timber moulds for architectural cast stone a good fit.
At the other end of the precast spectrum, we have larger scale items that use timber moulds in their production. These still require a great level of accuracy and occasionally will have a high level of feature work but when dealing with large beams (20 metres is the longest mould length we have produced), other key factors come into play such as stability of the mould and its ability to withstand the pressure created by vibrated concrete. By using bolting systems that pass under the mould and straps that run in line with these across the top or open face of the mould, we are able to prevent the mould sides from bellying out under pressure. As with all timber moulds, any large mould can be changed to cast variations and in some instances, it can be easier to create change pieces and stop end plates for a large mould.
Timber moulds have been used throughout history and at 3D Pattern and Mouldmakers Ltd we would never claim to be pioneers of the craft, we are however exponents of all facets of timber mould making and would be only too pleased to discuss any projects you may have in the pipeline. Get in contact with our experienced team who can help you decipher the right option for your project today.