learning curve

so i’ve got these patches of putty that won’t harden.  i’ve got gray putty, i’ve got white putty.  it’s all the same putty.  there are several patches of gray that won’t harden, and several patches of white that won’t harden.  most of the putty has hardened nicely.  some of the hardened stuff is dark gray and most is white.  but the non-hardening putty, i was racking my brain as to why, but really, it’s simple.

i forgot to mix a batch of putty together.  oh, i mixed the putty, i kneaded it and rolled it and made it into snakes and scrunched it up into balls and flattened it until my palms were sticky with the clay that was sticking to it.

i just didn’t mix the parts a and b together.  i put on a whole batch of gray part b, and it was dark, and i put on a whole batch of part a and it was light.  and it never hardened, and it’s been, oh, four or five days now.

so i was looking at it today, and decided that the nice nonhardening white patch by the flipper was about the same size as the nice nonhardening gray patch on the 3/4″ pipe.  so, before accidentally covering it over with putty that was mixed and ready to harden, i stopped and dug it out with a screwdriver.  first the dark stuff, then the white stuff, and lo and behold i had about equal amounts of each when i was done.

so i put on the gloves and mixed it up, and mainly put it right back where it was.

 see the gray clay?  bad.

in the photo above, the two black bolts you can see are sticking out of the holes i just drilled (two holes per battery charge, that’s how difficult it is to get thru this fiberglass).  i put the bolts in thru the bottom, and ran a washer and nut down the bolt to the base, making sure to sandwich putty between the surface, the washer, and the bolt.  i covered the bolt head underneath the base with putty also, and when i stick the pipe on, both ends are going to be full of putty that will hold on to the bolts when it’s dried and never come off (evil laugh).

about gloves.  in the beginning of using this two-part epoxy, i pupu’d gloves.  the stuff’s nontoxic (when cured) and it didn’t smell bad or feel bad, so i simply never minded the safety precautions.  and you’ll remember woke up the first night, when i didn’t bother cleaning the putty off my hands, with an unbearable itch in the palm of my hand.

so far it hasn’t damaged my hands.  i have read some scary things about people who have become sensitized, however, and it’s not pretty.  it can show up way after your use of the epoxy, too.  and still i didn’t pay too much attention to it.  i’m the kind of artist who will dunk my paintbrush into my coffee and continue drinking the coffee.  but i’ve been washing my hands thoroughly after getting putty all over them, except for the stuff that gets stuck around my nails.

however.  people yelled at me, so i got out a pair of gloves.  jim uses gloves whenever he mixes up a batch of casting material, so there are plenty around the studio.  so, okay.  and, you know, just for the fact that i don’t have to wash my hands all the damned time, it’s worth it.

but the gloves get in the way of my fingers, so when it comes time for the serious smushing and smoothing, the gloves have to come off.  but i hardly have any direct contact with the putty now, and i like it that way.  it’s too messy.  too hard to get off.  and you have to spend hours with your hands under hot water, running the tank completely out.  so, to save water, i’ll wear gloves.

and you can bet money that i’m covering my nose with a mask and vacuuming up immediately after drilling holes in the fiberglass.  that shit’s toxic as it can be.  nasty fiberglass.

i only have one more batch of putty, but the snow has done frozen here in the sunny south, and i’m not fool enough to go out on the roads for more tomorrow.  nor is the store fool enough to be open tomorrow.  i’ll wait until thursday or friday before venturing out of the house.  people drive like idiots in the snow down here in the south.

so, what lessons did i learn today?  1. shit happens.  no matter what my procedure or failsafe, there are going to be times when i lose track of what i’m doing and will have to deal with the consequences.  2. there are reasons for every (most every) rule, just maybe not the ones that are stated, and rules should continue to be broken, but with a little more circumspection.  3. i’m an idiot.

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