No one is quite sure when people first started melting metals and casting them in sand, however there are plenty of old books with descriptions and details of techniques. The Archive.org site has a few of these books including the following two.
American foundry practice treating of loam, dry sand and green sand moulding, and containing a practical treatise upon the management of cupolas and the melting of iron (1892)
Wood working, wood turning, patternmaking, green-sand molding, core making, dry-sand and loam work,
cupola practice, mixing cast iron (1905)
The American foundry practice describes, learning the moulder's trade and is not particularly complementary of the novices.
When a young man starts out to learn the moulder's trade, about the first thing lie does is to get a trowel, stick it in his pocket, and call himself a moulder. He comes to his work finely dressed, with a cigar in his mouth, and his talk is about anything rather than what he is doing. This is not the case with all beginners, but it is true of the majority of them.
However it does go on to have lots of information on casting flywheels, pulley's and gears. There is lots on creating patterns, handling sand, cores, venting and pouring the iron. There is a comprehensive index which is always good to see in a reference book.
The second book as the title might imply is biased towards woodwork and pattern making. Following a intro with sections on woodworking (and woodworking tools) and wood turning the book looks at how different patterns might be made. Some of the examples are quite complex such as steam engine parts or a throttle valve. As per the previous book there are sections on working green sand and cores. The last section of the book has details of working with an iron melting cupola which might not be relavent for a home foundry. The book finishes with a good selection of exam questions and again a comprehensive index.
Some nice photos of Sheds from Getty
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