Forging vs Casting

Casting and forging are amongst the oldest metal shaping techniques known to man. But what's the difference?

forging versus cast

In comparing the two methods of method shaping, the properties of these methods will be discussed including compressive strength and tensile strength.

Compressive Strength: this is the measure of resistance of a material to break under compression.

Tensile Strength: the measurement of the force required to pull a material to the point of breakage.

Forged Metals

Early man discovered the method of forging around 4000 BC.  Bronze and iron were the most common metals used to make cooking equipment, weapons and jewellery. Rocks would have initially been used to hammer the metal into shape, and later tools were fashioned as the art of blacksmithing developed.

Blacksmith hot forging


Forging changes the physical shape of a metal by using force. The desired shape is achieved by applying pressure, and is invariably completed while the metal is hot.

  • High Tensile Strength
  • Low Compressive Strength


Cast Metals

Metal casting can be dated back to ancient Asia Empires in the 4th Century BC. It was discovered that when molten metal was poured into a mold and then cooled, many shapes could be made. Cast iron can be dated back to the 5th Century China. However it wasn't until 1200-1400 that metal casting was used in Europe, where cast iron was used for many items such as pots, cannon balls, armour and in later years, bridges and building structures. Cast iron was a cheaper metal to manufature, compared to hand forged metals. The specific properties of cast iron also meant that it was perfect for load bearing applications and was used in many advancing business sectors during the Industrial Revolution.


Due to a combination of the chemical composition and the cooling rate of molten metals, most cast metals are harder, yet more brittle. Cast iron, for example, has a high percentage of carbon. As it cools, some of this carbon, in the form of graphite, crystallizes out of solution and forms a granular structure.

  • Low Tensile Strength
  • High Compressive Strength


Both cast and hand forged ironmongery products are ideal for Doors and Windows. Also for Hooks and Shelf Brackets. Now that you understand the different properties of cast and forged items you can make the best choice for your needs. See our extensive range of traditional and classic deisgns HERE.


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