The National Governing Body for the Outdoor Pitching Sport of Traditional
American Quoits 4 Pound Competition Weight Steel Quoits


















How Brass Quoits Are Made:

The Flury Foundry in Lancaster, PA





The Flury Foundry in Lancaster, Pennsylvania is one of only a few places in Lancaster county where quoits are still manufactured from scratch.  This small company is family owned and produces castings from several copper based alloys, mainly brass and bronze.  The foundry supplies a large portion of the quoits for the Ephrata East End Mart, an excellent source for purchasing locally-made quoits which I feature on another page of this web site.  I had the great fortune to receive advance notice from Paul Burkholder at the East End Mart that he was placing an order with the foundry for 21 sets of  four-pound quoits, in order to restock the store's inventory of quoits for the holiday shopping season.  He was gracious enough to arrange for me to visit the foundry while the order was being produced, and photograph the entire process from start to finish.  Jerry Flury, the owner of the foundry, notified me the day before the run, and at 5:30 the next morning, I met with him and some of his employees to setup this photo session.  I enjoyed the experience immensely, and am very gracious to Jerry, and to Paul at East End Mart, to make this page possible.  Thanks, guys!



               Grinding and finishing areas of the plant.                                                               Jerry Flury poses with the completed order of brass Quoits


I was able to capture on film all the steps in producing quoits, except for the actual creation of the plastic pattern used for the pour.  The pattern had been fashioned before the beginning of the quoiting season, so our tour begins at the molding machine,  where the pattern, mounted in a 'pattern board', is inserted into a metal frame that is filled with sand to create the mold.  Below is a photographic tour of the Flury Foundry and the detailed process of making Brass Quoits from raw materials.


The Pattern


Left Photo

A pattern is made by making an identical copy of an actual item which needs to be reproduced, usually out of an inexpensive material such as wood or plastic.  In this case, a hard black plastic is used to create the pattern containing two quoits, one with a raised letter 'A' and one with a raised letter 'B' on the top surface.  The pattern also includes all the paths required for the molten metal to flow through to reach the two quoit forms. You can see the bottom side of both quoits and the two risers and gates between them through which the liquid brass flows. The small white block just above the upper riser is the point where the pouring hole, called a 'sprue', will be made from the top of the mold to the surface of the two halves of the mold.  The quoits are actually orientated upside-down inside the mold, so this side of the board is facing up when the casting is done.

Center Photo

The top side of the pattern board contains a long runner between the two quoits for the brass to reach the gates.  The purpose of the risers and the extended runner is to provide reservoirs of extra metal which can flow back into the quoit cavities to compensate for any shrinkage of the brass during the solidifying process.

 Right Photo

The metal frame which holds the sand in place is called a 'flask'. Luis Silva is seen here placing the pattern board upside-down onto the 'cope', which is the top half of the flask.  He will then place the bottom frame, called the 'drag', on top of the pattern board.



Making the Mold



A mixture of compressed air and a mold release agent is sprayed                            The drag is filled with a fine black silica sand.  A small wooden,      

     on both sides of the pattern board when needed to act as a lubricant,                      'press board' is then placed on top. The molding machine vibrates             

        preventing the sand from sticking to the pattern when the flask                                to settle and  pack the sand into the frame. The flask is then               

                            is separated.                                                                                turned over and  the cope is also  filled and settled.  




The whole assembly is then packed tightly using a large hydraulic press,                    The press boards are removed and the sprue, the access hole   

which swivels into place on the top of the molding machine.                                   through which the brass is poured,  is created by pressing

                                                                                                                                     a hollow tapered tube into the sand and then removing it.


  The Flask is then separated, and the cope is set aside while                     A small screen made of mica, called a 'strainer', is placed at the bottom

the pattern board is removed.  Here you can see the                                      of the sprue to capture any impurities that may be floating   

the perfect imprint of the pattern in the black sand.                                     in the molten brass before it flows into the pattern cavities.  




The two halves of the mold are put back together without                             Three molds are placed together on a small rolling pallet on rails,    

the pattern board, and the flask is removed, leaving only a                                      and then shoved into the casting room, ready to pour.              

large block of compressed sand with the completed mold cavity inside.                                                                                                                                         






The raw materials for making the quoits are inserted into the top of two              In less than a half hour, the brass is molten and ready to remove from  

 small electric furnaces in the rear of the factory, and fired until molten.              the furnace. These furnaces actually raise up and swing away from the

  The foundry uses what is called 'red brass' for their quoits - a mixture of              from the  pedestal on which the crucible sits, as Sergio Montanez is seen

81% Copper, 9% zinc, 7% lead, and 3% tin.  Here,  Rob Silva fires up the                    doing above, to allow easy access with a small hoist and carrier.     

furnaces after loading them full.                                                                                                                         




The crucible is first carried under a vent hood where zinc and phosphorous            The crucible is then transported via a traveling hoist to the Pouring Deck

   copper is added to make impurities come to the surface of the liquid                  and the awaiting skids of molds. Ed Smith wears a facemask to protect



Pouring Baille



The Pouring Deck contains four sets of tracks leading from the molding area to the left, behind the heavy plastic partition curtain. The crucible is place in a pouring 'baille',  a carrier which allows the operator to move it horizontally in front of the row of skids and tip it over to pour the metal into the sprue of each mold.  A helper places heavy weights on the top of each mold to prevent it from expanding or breaking apart when the pour is made, then removed shortly after.  Ed Smith and Junior Ocasio complete a pour along a row of skids in the two pictures above.


When the crucible is close to empty, it is taken off the baille and moved back to the furnace room by the hoist, where it is emptied of any remaining metal and bottom impurities.  It is placed back onto the furnace pedestal, the furnace is lowered down over it, and another shot is loaded for melting.  The second furnace is then lifted and the whole process begins again with a fresh batch of liquid brass.



Breaking the Molds


Once the molds are cooled enough that the castings are hardened,                       The dumping platform then lowers backwards and the empty skids

 usually not more than 10 or 15 minutes, the skids are moved                              roll down under the deck onto another set of tracks that transport

    to the far end of the Pouring Deck onto a dumping platform,                              them back to the molding area.  The upper platform in  this photo   

which tilts the skid over and causes the molds to roll off  into a                                 is seen in this position.  The conveyor full of quoits and sand      

conveyor belt. The molds break open as they tip over, and the                                     moves away from the dumpers, to be separated by hand.       

castings fall free of the sand.  The objects seen above are not quoits                          The numerous white spots in this photo and the one at left are       

but were being processed in the same batch along with the quoits.                         reflections from the camera flash on smoke particles in the air     

                                                                                                                                     from pouring the molten brass.




At the end of the short conveyor, a worker uses a hammer to pull the quoits              When the wheelbarrow is full, the quoits are wheeled over and dumped

out of the sand and put them in a wheelbarrow. The sand falls into a                              into the hopper of a cleaning machine called a Wheelabrator   

hopper and is sent through a cleaning machine which screens out                                                   to remove any sand stuck to the metal.                  

the scrap metal particles and then conveyors the clean sand up overhead                                                                                                                                  

and back to the molding machine hoppers for reuse.                                                                                                                                    



The Wheelabrator



The Wheelabrator is basically a large tumbling machine, in which the                        After a short time in Wheelabrator, the quoits look much cleaner.    

     inside surface, similar in construction to a tank-tread, rotates                            The metal track is reversed and the quoits fall out onto a vibrating

the quoits until no sand remains.  Here, Sam Krauskop raises the hopper                                           shaker which removes the last bit of sand.                         

up to the open doorway of the machine and dumps them in.                                                                                                                                  



    The quoits are vibrated to the end of the shaker                                                         The quoits are clean and ready to be cut apart.

and fall back into their wheelbarrow.                                                                                                                            



Cutting and Grinding the Castings



     At the cutting machine,  the quoits are separated from the gate. The scrap                      Brian Starr cuts the gates from the quoits, freeing them at last!      

is moved back to the furnace area for reuse.  Remember building a plastic                                                                                                                             

model when you were a kid, and having to break off all those little parts                                                                                                                             

from their plastic frames?  This is the same thing, only on a                                                                                                                             

slightly heavier scale!                                                                                                                     


                     A bin full of freshly-made quoits is ready for the grinder.                                A pedestal grinder is used to take off the remaining protrusions   

                                                                                                                                             left by the gates on the outside edges of the quoits, and to remove

                                                                                                                                           any large burs or excess material from the casting process.


Adrian Santiago grinds the outside edge of a quoit to a smooth finish,             The finished product is stacked on the table and labeled for shipment.

while his fellow co-worker Romulo Maldonado busies himself with                       All those glistening brass quoits are certainly a beautiful sight!    

 After this rough grinding is done, some hand grinding with a small,               Romulo Maldonado, Adrian Santiago, and Tony Silva are proud of their

dremel-like tool is performed on the inside edges of the quoit.                        hard work, and so will all those lucky folks who receive these quoits

                                                                                                                         under their Christmas tree this year!