Dhokra casting of the "Situlias" is another example of Odisha's metal ware. Dhokra is an alloy of brass, nickel and zinc which emanates antique look. (The wide product range on Dhokra with their antique look goes well with interior decor).
The process of Dhokra casting can be divided into two categories: (i) the hollow method (lost wax, cire-purdue) and (ii) the dense method. In the hollow method, a clay replica is prepared slightly smaller than the object to be cast. This is the clay core. Once this is burn dry, hand-rolled threads of bee's wax (now of course substituted by petroleum wax) are applied on the clay-core, till clay is totally covered by wax, and upper surface is uniform. The wax layer is generally very thin to reduce consumption of metal (upto 1.5 mm). Wax is occasionally smoothed out with fingers or warm metal-strip. Further modelling is done in the wax-sheath covered with clay paste (made out of clay, dung, paddy husk and jute-pieces and vegetable paste). The pouring channel has to be left in this second sheath. The design of pouring channel varies from place to place, but everywhere it is to be designed in such a way that molten metal flows smoothly and uniformly. The clay is allowed to dry, and a few coatings are repeated. Then molten metal in a clay pot is poured in to the passage, which flows quickly, cuts into the wax (which is drained of through another channel), filling the empty space left in between clay layers. The whole thing is allowed to cool. Then the outer clay layer is removed with a knife and metal image is taken out. The inside core of earthenware may or may not be removed.
The 'solid' form of casting is to be seen in metal crafts of Khoduras. Here, the object to be cast is made from wax and extreme fineness is achieved at this stage itself. Then it is sheathed with clay-paste and allowed to dry. A passage is of course left in the sheath. After a thick clay sheath is completed, the whole thing is exposed to slow fire, when wax melts out and is collected. After wax is drained out, molten metal is poured in and the structure is allowed to cool itself. Finally, the sheath is cut out and the object at the core is produced. Finishing and polishing was previously done with (i) alternate treatment with limejuice (containing organic acids) and vegetable alkalis, (ii) brushing vigorously with vegetable fibers. At present vary dilute sulphuric acid and sodium carbonate solutions are invariably used and buffing is done by machine. This craft is practised mainly at Adakata in Nayagarh, Sadeibareni in Dhenkanal, Kuliana in Mayurbhanj, Jhigidi in Rayagada and Badamba & Narsinghpur in Cuttack district.