• Subway beaver panel update

    Seeing how the first beaver panel fits in the kiln, cutting it close for height with only 5/16″ between it and the lid but it will work. A second one- red- will go in when it’s drier. I had to stack a couple of shelf supports behind this first one so that if it tends to want to lean backwards it will be stopped by them, the second panel will need the same behind it.
    I think next Friday I’ll turn it on. I modified the firing program just a little by adding another hour of pre-heating @195º making it 9 hours so these are good and dry for sure. I also added 5 minutes at the end making it hold at 2,060º for 15 minutes. So overall it will take about 25 hours for the firing process and then “overnight” for cooling down.

    What most people know is water boils to steam @ 212º and is gone, but what they don’t know is the chemically bound water in apparently bone dry clay stays in the clay up to at least 700º before it finally burns out.

    I could use a larger kiln like the Olympic oval model which would be large enough to lay pieces like these flat, but besides the cost being dramatically higher than this one was, I’d have to upgrade my home power line from the weatherhead on in, the 100amp breaker box and incoming line isn’t enough capacity.

    I put the first red one in with this one earlier, and decided to turn the thing on and let it run the first segment @195º until I turned it off now, so they had a good 6-1/2 hours of that amount of heat as an additional tomake sure they are as dry all the way through as they can be so Friday after work I can turn the kiln on and let it go through the whole 24 hour cycle and shut off Saturday afternoon when I’m here.

  • Nr 137 to be made in terra cotta soon too

    I decided that since I thought I have JUST enough left over mold rubber, that about the only thing small enough I could use it for is that grotesque keystone, so I got the mold out and filled it with water to see how much it takes to fill it, just about one gallon. It looked like I might have just a hair less than one gallon of rubber left, so I mixed it up and got every drop out of the containers I could and poured it in, and it was about a pint too little, but an old trick of floating something weighted right like this plastic drink cup in the liquid rubber, would take enough displacement to raise the liquid up a little. It did that, didn’t get it to the top, but its filled enough the complete design is covered.
    Next thing I need to so is make a form to pour the molding plaster into to re-create the 4″ deep backing this had originally.
    So, pretty soon I can make this one in fired terra cotta too.

    The rubber positive of this keystone is cured and out of the mold now, I had JUST enough rubber to make it as the 2nd photo shows how thin the corner is, but with the plaster backing I will be adding it will be good.
    The original this was molded from I removed from a building around 1977 that was at 1 West 111th St in NYC on the corner of 5th Ave, the buildings that were there have been replaced by this new one.Now I need to set up to cast the 4″ deep plaster backing for this.

    I like this pourable rubber, it’s also a lot less expensive @ $105 for 2 gallons than what I use for brushing-on molds, and for these use once items it doesn’t need to be premium rubber.
    The big issue is being pourable it’s really only suitable for relatively small or thin plaques because it would take a lot to fill larger or deeper pieces.

    Now I have the backing form made for this, I’ll have work to do to it yet.
    Making the wood form to pour the plaster in was a bit more involved than other pieces as the bottom of the keystone is arched upwards as this was originally over the top of an arched window. I had to shape a piece of scrap wood to fit the curvature.

    If I use some clay on the sides to get a texture, smooth and fill gaps etc the plaster form needs to be damp and making the plaster molds’ 4 side pieces has to be done while the clay is still kept moist so the clay doesn’t shrink.

    Once the 4 sides are made it can sit until I get more plaster to finish it- sometime the end of June since I only have 50# of plaster left right now and it’s pretty sure it won’t be enough to also pour the largest section over the face.

  • Rubber positive for grotesque 137

    The rubber positive of this keystone is cured and out of the mold now, I had JUST enough rubber to make it as the 2nd photo shows how thin the corner is, but with the plaster backing I will be adding it will be good.
    The original this was molded from I removed from a building around 1977 that was at 1 West 111th St in NYC on the corner of 5th Ave, the buildings that were there have been replaced by this new one.

    Now I need to set up to cast the 4″ deep plaster backing for this.

    I like this pourable rubber, it’s also a lot less expensive @ $105 for 2 gallons than what I use for brushing-on molds, and for these use once items it doesn’t need to be premium rubber.
    The big issue is being pourable it’s really only suitable for relatively small or thin plaques because it would take a lot to fill larger or deeper pieces.

    Now I have the backing form made for this, I’ll have work to do to it yet.
    Making the wood form to pour the plaster in was a bit more involved than other pieces as the bottom of the keystone is arched upwards as this was originally over the top of an arched window. I had to shape a piece of scrap wood to fit the curvature.

    If I use some clay on the sides to get a texture, smooth and fill gaps etc the plaster form needs to be damp and making the plaster molds’ 4 side pieces has to be done while the clay is still kept moist so the clay doesn’t shrink.

    Once the 4 sides are made it can sit until I get more plaster to finish it- sometime the end of June since I only have 50# of plaster left right now and it’s pretty sure it won’t be enough to also pour the largest section over the face.