a sand question

Susan_D(z7 Victoria BC)November 14, 2005

Just wanted to say hello & thank you all for all you offer here. Oh how I love the web, with just a few clicks on Google ... "there you are....look at this.....lots people who get excited about the same things as me, I am not so strange!"

I have been busy lurking/learning, having fun in the mud and creating with all your know how, but today ran into a bit of a problem casting a gunnera and I donÂt know if it was the sand.

I have always used a hypertufa mix before but I wanted the more defined look many of you are getting.

The plan was to cover the leave with a thin cement layer and then put on wire and finish with another layer of a hypertufa mix so it wasnÂt so heavy.

The sand I am using is called "extra fine"

Mixed up 2 extra fine sand + 1 cement + water and the mix didnÂt look to "wet" just "nice" but as soon as I tried to move or even touch it on the leaf to get it to the edges it turned from sort of hard/wet sand consistency to a runny/liquid mess. (Think of playing with cornstarch and water.) It is like the more you touch it the runnier it becomes. I gave it an hour to "think" but again as soon as I touched it it seemed to liquify again.

Do you think this because the sand is so fine?

Has this happened to any one else?

Thanks for any help here


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rickharmer(z4British Colum)

Hi from just up the Sunshine Coast from ya!
I'm using a 1:1 of portland and silica flour,add in some silica fume and this stuff is STICKY.Use 100% admix,mix until viscous and put it where you want(leaf,your dog)and it'll work just fine!!
Cheers from here!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 12:07AM
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Susan_D(z7 Victoria BC)

hello rick
wipe the rain from my eyes and I could almost see you!
sorry I'm so new to this I don't know what silica flour or silica fume is or where I would look for it. Thinkinking it is not in a huge pile at Butler's right? I would love to know about this "sticky" stuff and also having something to put on my hyper dog to slow him down a little sounds fabulous.......flour and fume....... George would love it!
I'm getting up early tomorrow to mix a batch of tufa to put on top of my sand/crete mix of today to try and save my leaf(crosses fingers that the mix has hardend enough but not to much)

Let me know where to get your magic before the frost sets in!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 1:51AM
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rickharmer(z4British Colum)

Take a trip to the lower Mainland.Go to Target Products in Burnaby for silica fume ,white portland and coloured sands.
They're at 7550 Conroy,and their tel number is 604-420-3620.
For my silica fume(and modelling clay)I go to the Mad Potter in Richmond(6-3071 number 5 road,tel#604-244-3734)
If you want to explore the detail mesh(EIFS in the U.S.)school of concrete,you can try Pacific West Systems Supply on Boundary in burnaby.They're at 100-2550 Boundary,tel#604-293-1741.
A final thought:Be safe!Mask up at all times!
Cheers from here

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 11:11AM
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Hello neighbour!!!! I live out in North Saanich. I have been casting leaves for two years, and only this year came up with a better mix. I use 3 cups fine sand, 2 cups portland cement, and a few teaspoons of powder admix. Then add water until it is a toothpaste consistency. I have a gunnera sitting right now that I did on Thursday afternoon. Will probably leave it until at least Monday. I still have 2 more to do!!! You said in your note you use extra fine sand??? Where do you get it??
I still have trouble with small holes in some of my leaves, but have learned to live with it. It depends on the leaf.
I have done many many leaves this year, including very large elephant ears. I am in the middle of painting some of them now. I did two very large gunnera last year. MY favourites are hydrangea and brugmansia.
Hope to hear from you.


    Bookmark   November 20, 2005 at 1:32AM
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Susan_D(z7 Victoria BC)

Hi Glenda,
We are close, IÂm off W. Saanich!
Sand is from ButlerÂs pit on Keating. @$0.04 lb.
When I mixed it up it is like toothpaste but when I try to smooth it out at the leaf tip ends it liquifies and I canÂt get it much more than 1/8" thick.
I need it to be thicker than 1/8" donÂt I, or do I just need more patience before I turn my pieces and try picking off the leaf? The leaf edges keep breaking off!!
The small leaves with this sand have been wonderful, no holes and amazing detail.
I love the hypertufa mix consistency it makes too. Easy to work with, dries slowly and carves beautifully, with a smooth, sandstone finish.
For my latest attempt I put the thin layer of my sand + portland cement mix over the gunnera, then a hypertufa/chicken wire layer over that to build it up and keep the weight down. Dying to turn these over and see ...... waiting is hard!
Now that everyone is cutting down their gunneras I have a stack of leaves laying out there and I am hoping I can create just one that I am pleased with before they rot!


    Bookmark   November 20, 2005 at 1:15PM
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