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Monthly Archives: February 2010

Here all the King’s horses and the all the King’s men have put Humpty Dumpty back together again! I mixed a little cup of silicon and plugged up the armature-rod holes, making them ready for hot wax pour. Before we get that far, I’ll put them together and see if they hold water and trouble-shoot any leaks. Let’s hope it all holds water.
The first image is of the fiberglass molds with the wooden supports, sans silicon molds. I tried to add a bit more fiberglass out in the garage bay, and the weather chilled things down so hard that the catalyst didn’t kick till hours and hours of sitting in the warm studio. There are still a few areas that need a bit more fiberglass, but I’ll get them covered tomorrow when fiberglassing the feet/skates.

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After completing the fiberglass mold over the silicon mold, I created a wooden superstructure to support the fiberglass mold. This allows the mold to be rigid when pouring the form, yet can be removed to allow the fiberglass to flex and release the mold if necessary. (I spent today tweaking out the steel supports for the wood, and adding extra fiberglass on the connective joints.)
Next I removed the wooden form, then popped off the fiberglass mold. This takes a lot of wedges and patience and prying.
Next I use an exact-o knife with a square head and create opposing angled cuts through the silicon seam line all the way down to the clay sculpture. This took a lot of help from Elizabeth at the start of each bird, as she helped me to pull on the silicon while I cut. Eventually the weight of the mold itself would pull, and she went in and took a Sunday catnap- leaving me to NPR Weekend Edition and gazillions of alternating cuts, none of which drew blood. It took nearly 3 hours to make my way around the big buck. The day started at 9am and ended around 8pm- the logistics of supporting the birds while cutting the mold away were much more than precautionary and time consuming- as the board supporting the armature rod of the female quail snapped in two right at the end. I knew she was a fatty, but wow.

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A “Natural Bridge” is different from an Arch, in that a Bridge is formed by a stream. This bridge was formed by a waterfall, and so is rather unique. It is the 6th largest Natural Bridge in the US (I’m guessing the 5 larger bridges are within a 20 mile radius). It was an icy trail, and Carmine was the only one to slip and fall into the creek, and/or to freak out on a rocky/tight part of the trail and need the help of two humans to get her squeaking along. She ate a big stick and felt better. This is usually a very crowded trail, but today it was nearly deserted– cold and snow and ice are great tourist deterrents for the desert (and to fill the sentence out, for dessert that afternoon we had a butterscotch malted milkshake at Milt’s Stop & Eat.)

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Came down to Moab for a little break over E’s 3-Day weekend, her friend Lisa ran a 20 miler today, and her husband “Edwards” ran 10 miles in from the finish and took pictures of her for the return 10 miles. He heads down to Mexico soon to run 50 miles. E & I spent the day out at Fisher Towers with Carmine- the trail winds around to a ladder that we couldn’t get Carmine down- so we headed back before we took in the whole trail, but toured around on the road and headed up into the La Sal mountains as far the the 4-Wheel could take us into the ever-deeper snow.
Carmine’s tummy is stained red from the sandstone mud, and she is sleeping like a stone.

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I thought it would take three long days to dress them out in silicon, but it took five. And quite a few books on tape. First I had to cut off the legs & skates, as they will require more elaborate molds. The big critters will each be a simple two part mold. I sprayed the clay with clear spraypaint, and brushed on a sealant- this is because I used quite a bit of sulfinated clay, mixed in with my good clay- as I used every bit of clay I had- and sulfur nixes the silicon’s catalyst and ruins the mold. Next came the impression layer of silicon, then a batch at “peanut butter” consistency, then a layer put on over sport mesh (for added strength), then a layer to completely cover the mesh. Then I added the mold separation line- I made a mold for that with trim board glued to a plank, for a consistent 1″x3/4″ bead- then stuck them in place with a layer of silicon and a few hundred T-pins. I made a smaller bead for the separation lines on the skates, and used that for mold keys as well- the > shapes on the bird’s sides- these should keep the mold tight to the fiberglass layer.
All together I used 6 or 7 gallons of silicon mold. That makes this the biggest mold making effort I’ve attempted to date. I say attempted, as there is still a long way to go…
Right now I’m taking a break from fiberglass. I had intended to roll everything out in the garage bay and do this step with the garage door and sliding wall panel wide open- but I didn’t want to risk tipping the overloaded gurney as I wended the critters through the door and down the 1/2 step. Just as well, as even with the shop door open and a fan on, the room chilled down too hard and kept the catalyst from kicking. So now I’m like a kid gluing his battleship together in a closet, even with a nice fume mask. I was getting loopy and nauseated, and am still a bit queasy, but might as well head back out now and keep things going.

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