The alt.sculpture FAQ—What is alt.sculpture? What can be posted?

Posted in Alt.Sculpture FAQ
What's welcome and what's not, plus how to find the group.

The Rubber FAQ—Flexible Mold Materials Compared

Christopher Pardell explains why silicone rubber comes closest to the ideal, and where other types fall short. This article compares the following materials: latex, gelatins, alginates, urethanes, neoprene, vinyls, polysulfides, and silicones.

The PVC FAQ—Using Hot Melt Vinyls

Evan Hughes, with a somewhat contrary view, explains how this material can be an economical substitute for expensive rubber compounds in some applications. This article covers the following topics: using hot-melt vinyl for making flexible molds, melting it, the electric pot, pouring, hazards, and limitations.

The Plaster FAQ—Working With Plaster

Christopher Pardell gives detailed instructions on how to mix and use this versatile material, with advice on plaster mold-making, casting, and direct tooling. The article covers the following topics: plaster defined, its qualities, various uses, flexible molds, different types, modifications, investment, storage, hazards, water bubbles, air bubbles, tooling, mixing containers, mixers, industrial techniques, mixing by hand, influencing set time, reinforcements, use in sculpture, mold casings, fractioning the batch, cautionary notes, waste molds, separating sections, using shellac, adding on, fixing holes, slosh-casting, handling large molds, tempering and drying, tools, and last tips.

The Latex and Urethane FAQ—Casting Positive Forms in Latex and Urethane

Christopher Pardell goes over the steps taken by FX artists to create flexible objects which can be painted. This article covers the following topics: uses of rubber parts, plaster molds, thin latex castings, painting latex, foam latex, latex and urethane foam, self-skinning urethane foam, painting urethane rubber, urethane’s characteristics, and safety notes.

The Urethane Rubber FAQ—Making Molds with Urethane Rubber

Dan Spector steps up to the plate, and makes the case for urethane elastomers in sculptural moldmaking. This article covers the following topics: advantages of urethanes; heat and distortion, sheet molds, including fibers and foam; adding rubber to rubber; limitations and drawbacks, box molds, and poured mold variations.

The Silicone Rubber FAQ—Using Silicone Rubber for Mold-making

Christopher Pardell describes his technique for mold-making with this space-age material. This article covers the following topics: silicone rubber for mold-making, additives, sealing the model, mold seams, de-airing, first coats, fill coats, gloss coat, reinforcements, mold casings, casting polyester resin, slab molds, another poured technique, and cup molds.

The Scaling FAQ—Pointing Up: Making Big Ones from Little Ones

Christopher Pardell gives a step-by-step rundown of the traditional process used to make a large sculpture from a small maquette, with some notes on more modern techniques. This article covers the following topics: definition and setup, ruling, surface gauges and their use, transferring points, sectioning a foam model, and digital techniques.

The Resin FAQ—Casting Resins into Molds

Christopher Pardell covers the various types of resin commonly used by sculptors for filling molds, including polyester, urethane, and epoxy. This article covers the following topics: casting vs. layup, suitable molds, types of resin, polyester resin, polyester’s drawbacks and hazards, epoxies, urethanes, clear castings, shrinkage flaws, heat effects, shrinkage cracks, achieving larger castings, slowing polymerization, filling resin, various fillers, air bubbles, mixing, agitation and vacuum, and pressure casting.

The Concrete FAQ—Concrete Casting

Dan Spector reveals the secrets for successful concrete castings using this versatile and inexpensive material. This article covers the following topics: concrete defined, Portland cement, aggregate mix, cement proportions, water content, rock size and molds, drypacking, mixing, additives and special mixes, use of rebar, surfactants and vibrators, hardening and curing, tinting and washing, decorative treatments, staining and painting.

The Water-Gilding FAQ—The Traditional Gold-leafing Process

Wies Norberg provides information on this traditional method of achieving a brilliant gold finish on sculptural surfaces. This article covers the following topics: a general introduction, gesso, applying bole, handling leaf, applying leaf, burnishing.

The Oil Clay FAQ—Oil-based Clay for Sculpture

Andrew Werby discusses various oil-based modeling clays and their use, with notes on modeling technique, as well as several recipes for mixing ones own. This article covers the following topics: origins and qualities, available varieties, armatures, tooling, smoothing, mixing ones own, variations, safety considerations, and clean-up.

The Clay FAQ—Water-based Potter’s Clay and its use in Sculpture

Andrew Werby tells how ordinary water-based clay can be used to create permanent fired sculpture, as well as its use for making models for production in other materials. This article covers the following topics: clay defined, direct and indirect use, waste molds, natural clay, reusing clay, handworking clay, plaster and clay, joining clay forms, firing, slipcasting, making slip, modifying clay bodies, building hollow forms, freeze/thaw problems, armatures, accelerated drying, and surface treatments.

The Steel FAQ—Using Steel for Sculpture

Andrew Werby offers an overview of the techniques sculptors use for cutting, shaping, and joining steel, plus notes on surface treatments. This article covers the following topics: steel in sculpture, available types, cutting, bending, hardening and tempering, forming sheet, the forge, cold attachment, soldering, brazing, welding, oxyacetylene welding, arc welding, TIG welding, MIG welding, grinding, rust, paint, galvanization, vitreous enamelling, patinas, and safety considerations.

The Stone FAQ—Basic Stone Carving

Andrew Werby sketches out some approaches to basic stone-carving, with an emphasis on the softer stones, like soapstone, alabaster, and marble. This article covers the following topics: carving soft stones, safety issues, points and chisels, other tools, abrasive techniques, larger stones, diamond bits, and sanding and polishing.

The Wax FAQ—Sculpting in Wax

Andrew Werby covers the use of wax in sculpture, including the types used, direct construction techniques, casting, welding and smoothing. This article covers the following topics: sculpting waxes, carving wax, casting slabs, melting, handworking and tools, lost wax, armatures and addtitions.