yet more putty

jim and the grandbaby went for the putty while i slept.  thanks to this kindness, i got 5 hours of sleep last night.  yay.  when they got back, the baby went to his mom and i went to work.  it’s now exactly 4 am, (hah, almost 5) and i’m bleary eyed again, but finally at a stopping point and ready to document my progress.

i enjoy the documentation as much as i do the work.

i mixed up a brand new batch of putty, a nice big one.  i used a lot of it filling behind the apron and puttying in pins.  then i used tapioca starch (or use cornstarch) and a brayer, and rolled a chunk out super thin, and applied a whole long sheet of it to the pvc pipe.  i noticed that the dark gray putty wasn’t thru drying yet, and thought it odd.

then shit happened, and i got called away for several hours, and stuck the putty into the freezer before i’d really gotten started.

the picture above shows the new putty on the pipe.  this putty is readily smoothed using plain water, where at least two containers of putty i used near the beginning wouldn’t smooth with water, and after that i just used orange oil to smooth all the putty.  but now i’m back to something that acts just like clay when you put water on it.

i really love rolling this epoxy putty out into thin sheets and applying it with water.  i had to dunk each sheet in water before applying it, simply to get the starch off of it, and this helped to smooth it on.

my only issue was air bubbles.  there’d be one in every sheet, at the very least, and it really wouldn’t want to be chased to the edge and forced out.  in fact, the more i tried to rub it out, the weaker the putty got and the more readily it came up stuck to my fingers.  the solution was to use a carving tool and poke a hole into the air bubble, and then smooth the air out as i closed the wound.

you can see how the new putty is just laid on, and not smoothed out at all near the top.  i believe it’s blended at the bottom, over the gray putty.

here is the mckenney’s dolphin helping out by holding the flattened out snakes of putty.  i took that piece and cut it in half with the back of a razor blade (why gum up the business end unnecessarily?), and then pasted each half in the crease along the sides of the pipe.  and took water and smoothed it out, got rid of air bubbles, and feathered the edges with my fingers.

now i’ve gone over the ends of the cloth strips, which i’d already covered with putty days ago.  putting a sheet of this stuff over it was like using makeup to cover spotty skin.  the gray putty is now underneath fresh putty on the fin, and fresh putty on the pipe.

then i turned my attention to the paint tray and sanding block, and put the rest of the putty over parts of the tray i hadn’t sufficiently covered when my putty ran out the last time.

and i grew suspicious of the gray putty. the putty i’d spent so much time covering with nicely rolled-out sheets of putty earlier this morning, after mixing up my second batch of clay.  the putty that wasn’t hardening.

it’s like this.  i remember mixing up the first batch of clay and starting on the apron, and rolling it out and putting it on the pvc pipe and putting a little leftover on the paint tray.  then i remember mixing up another batch to continue the process.  at the time (i was being talked to by someone visiting the studio) i remember looking at the putty i’d just scraped out of the containers, and thinking how both of them looked pretty gray, but one was lighter than the other, and it was probably just the way it was.  and i remember not opening the part a container back up to check if it was as gray as the putty i had in my hand (it wasn’t).  i just mixed it up, rolled it out, and applied it, easier than putting lattice on a pie.

except that i did the same thing i did several weeks ago.  and that is to mix up two handsful of the same part of the two-part epoxy.  i mixed up two handsful of part b, and put it on.

but at least i didn’t have to wait four days before figuring it out.  like i did last time.

so i took a carving tool, and i peeled and scraped up all of the gray putty, sacrificing perfectly good, properly mixed up and already drying putty, when i knew there was the gray stuff underneath.  that stuff will never harden, and will do bad things as a substrate for other media.

the gray stuff was horribly sticky, and there was a large handful of it when i was done.  i mixed that with an equal amount of part a, and let is sit while i went over the parts i’d scraped up with orange oil on a rag, and since it didn’t want to wipe up, i scraped it off with a fingernail.

when i came back to it the putty was hot.  that’s funny, because that putty’s never had that kind of  reaction before.  on the other hand, it’s never been the same putty twice under my hands.

so i rolled out a chunk of putty, and it was very hard.  i guess i’d let it sit for a minute.  so i rolled it as thin as i could get it, which wasn’t much less than 1/4″.  then i took it over, dunked it in water to get rid of the cornstarch, and put it on the side of the paint tray.

it wouldn’t feather out very well.  it was hardening as i draped it into the tray’s interior.

when i went back to roll out the rest, i could hardly budge it.  it didn’t want to knead at all, and so i gave up on it and mixed up another batch of fresh putty.

i can’t find anything on the internet about it, so i’m gong to guess that i contaminated the part b with dried putty and old paster and even some acrylic, and when i mixed it up, it went nuts and activated right away, releasing heat and hardening in minutes.

funny thing.  when i scraped the putty off, i noticed that the roller was still soft, even tho it had a layer of unmixed putty underneath a nicely hardening layer of mixed up properly putty.  so i stripped the putty off the roller.  and the damned thing was still wet.

so i took my razor blade and stripped off all the foam, and pulled it out of there.

these are necessary things to get around to fixing before i go the next step.  so it’s good that i found out now.  and so i did just what i needed to do today, even tho i’d predicted i’d be thru sticking pins onto the dolphin and patches as well.

maybe tomorrow…

this is what it looks like when i roll out the putty.  it’s as thin as i can make it.  the brayer is above, that black roller thing.  and the remaining putty is beside it.  above that putty is the putty that hardened and grew warm as it set.  the starch is in a bottle at the rear.

then i covered all the surfaces again with rolled out putty, and the work went quickly.  it was necessary to do this work, even tho it meant losing most of a day’s work.

i realized during this process that the level of plaster in the paint tray was too uneven, and not high enough.  so i mixed up about 6 ounces of water and several handsful of plaster, and poured it in.  and some of it was set before i’d finished pouring the rest.  it’s a learning curve thing.

i’m going to have to cut a thick piece of putty tomorrow and pretend that’s the foam roller.  and i am tempted to pull the sanding block apart and rig something not spongy to go in there,  but i’ll see tomorrow when the current coat of putty dries.

before all this crisis started, i used the last of the first, good batch, to stick the pins on the bottom of the apron.  so far the above are the only ones i’ve done so far, altho they’re all pinned in place.  i put putty behind them, to secure the pins to everything.  i also built up under the gloves in certain places, and put snakes of putty under the apron in the same pattern as the various sags and wrinkles.

after i’d fixed the crisis and gotten back to square one, i used the very last of the putty i’d mixed to coat out the brim on the home depot dolphin’s hat.  it’s been too flimsy so far, and i’m trying to avoid building up underneath it too much.  which i’ll go ahead and do if this doesn’t work.

now i’m really tired, so i’m going to do a short proofread and go walk the dogs.

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