Long may it wave

Our Construction Diary
Page 39

















Ping Pong's Puppet Workshop


October 30, 2001

We had already made the decision that Professor Salt 'n' Puff's shell would be cast in neoprene. This would allow us to cast more than one of him without doing the cloth mache technique with all of its work.

Marty had ordered in another five gallon bucket of Chicago Latex 501, and that will have to last us until Spring, (since you can't risk it freezing in transit in the Winter or else you can pay as much to ship it in a heated truck as you paid for the material -- an option of desperation). The shell is so large that it will take about four gallons to do the pour, and will consume about 3/4 of a gallon of neoprene for each casting.

OK, so just how do you cast a snail shell that weighs 49 pounds and is 15 inches long, 11 inches high and 9 inches thick?

Very, very carefully...no, really, none of the plaster techniques that we have shown here previously would work very well, since first, it would take a very large mold box and an awesome amount of plaster, and second, we had no easy way to suspend the 49 pounds of the sculpt off the bottom of the box to get the proper thickness of plaster all around the shell.

Therefore, we decided to cast it in place, as you will see below.

The shell in plasticine

Here's the plasticine shell ready to cast. 11 inches high, 15 inches long and nine inches thick.

One side done, ready to start side two

We join the casting already in progress...Side one is complete, the dam up and over the top of the shell has been removed, and we are getting ready to cast side two.


Last minute preparation

Bill and Steve are making last minute preparations to the plasticine. Each flute in the plasticine shell where it met the plaster was smoothed down again and dams were placed on the bottom to keep the plaster from flowing too far underneath.

all is ready

All is ready for the plaster. The moat is in place, the edge of the side-one plaster has been raised with plasticine, the surface has been sprayed with mold soap, and its time to get messy.

here comes the plaster

The plaster mix was thicker than usual -- 24 pounds in six quarts of water. The moat gets filled while the plaster is still loose, and as the rest of the plaster starts to thicken, it is hand slumped up and on the surface of the plasticine.
I don't have pictures of that, because it took Bill, Steve and me all working together to get the plaster to stay where we wanted it.


All the plaster where we want it to stay

All the plaster is where we want it to be, and some final cleanup is performed. I would guess that this way of casting the shell used one-third the amount of plaster than if we'd cast it in a box.

Yes it's a messy technique

Yes it's a messy technique, but then - what work with plaster isn't?

Marty & Bill celebrate the opening

Success!!! The two halves of the mold are removed from the plasticine, ready to be cleaned, dried a bit, and on the next page we'll cast it in neoprene.

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All text and photos © 2001 Olde World Puppet Theatre

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