Just back from a lightning visit to Buenos Aires for a short visit to Fersa – 5 days. You’ve probably heard it before, Buenos Aires – Paris in South America. It has been a mecca for architectural salvage. No kidding!
I needed to update myself with a supplier that has become very important to us. This is only my second visit, the first soon after we became their Australian representatives.
By staying in touch, visiting, I believe we create a better understanding of their processes which means we can be a better representative. Also of course, find out what is new.
I enjoy touring the factory and picking up on new detail. There is something fascinating about a place that takes in raw product and turns out finished product and observing atmosphere. I’m particularly interested in how the workers go about their tasks. Are they involved? are the conditions good? At Fersa, all great.
I’ve been to most of my suppliers places and have a pretty good understanding of casting and finishing hardware, the most common processes being sand casting and forging, but Fersa is the first factory I’ve dealt with that performs lost wax or investment casting.
Basically sand casting is fine for 2 dimensional casting and delivers a result thats fine for most hardware, but with lost wax, detail reproduction is excellent.
Fersa have a master pattern maker, one who hand produces what is needed in resin from which a rubber mould is made. Softened wax is injected into the mould and when released, a wax replica of the item is made. The processes is repeated until there are enough pieces to make up a ‘tree’ that can be used for the casting.
The tree is placed in a cylinder and loaded with a gypsum that is vibrated so that flow into all the crevices is achieved. Drainage holes are made when set and then a series of ovens, first bakes and hardens the gypsum, then melts the wax. Molten brass is poured into the cavity and you have the raw product.
Now, while I can say all this in two sentences, (more or less) this is very skilled and time consuming and this might help explain why Fersa products are what they are, Truly fabulous! All this of course before expert engraving, chasing, machining and finishing.
Link to Fersa production information http://www.fersa.biz/en/company/custom-hardware/