Cast Iron Production
Le Creuset’s original and most well known range of products is its cast iron range. Cast iron has been used as “the” material for cooking pots since Roman times. Even with today’s wide choice of cooking materials, cast iron, still forged and crafted by hand, reigns supreme with its versatility, good looks and ability to retain and spread heat evenly.
Sand moulds and casting
In order to produce the desired shape for a Le Creuset piece, two sand moulds need to be made. One produces the interior shape of the item and the second, the exterior shape. The moulds are secured together leaving a small gap between them. The raw materials, including pig iron, are melted at an extremely high temperature in a large cauldron (called a "creuset" in French) and then poured into the moulds. Once the shape is cast, and the iron cooled, it is removed from the mould ready for the finishing process to begin. After use each mould is broken (the sand is then recycled) meaning that no two pieces of Le Creuset are ever "exactly" the same.
Once removed from its mould, each piece has then to pass through several finishing processes under the hands of skilled craftsmen for cleaning and smoothing, rough edges and burrs are removed in a hand process called "fettling". Then each piece is blasted by tiny metal pellets to prepare a uniform surface for enamelling.
Each piece of Le Creuset receives two coats of enamel. The first is a ground coat which, once fired at 840°C, is clear and uncoloured. This allows for better adhesion of the second coat, the coloured enamel, to the cast iron. This special colour coat is applied internally and externally. After the enamel is applied it is air dried before being vitrified to produce a highly durable, hygienic and shock resistant finish.