Reply by Carl

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Posted on Duplicating Carvings & Gothic Panels

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1 post in 4192 days

#1 posted 11-27-2006 08:52 PM


You may have the information you need by now, but here goes anyway.

I have replicated moldings and column capitols in a couple of different ways, including carving them straight out (for simple things) casting them in fiberglass/resin, casting them in plaster, and casting them in very hard plaster and then copying them with a carving duplicator. All of the methods take time, but for complicated parts, I think that casting in plaster is the most efficient.

You need to make a mold of the model, which can be a challenge by itself. Here are the basics (or at least how I’ve done it). You need to have one of whatever you are planning to copy available to take with you. Making the mold “on-site” would be difficult (but not impossible, I’m sure). The mold-making process involves a flexible inner mold to capture the detail, and an outer mold, or “mother mold” to keep the flexible inner mold in the correct shape during the casting.

I prefer silicone to urethane for the inner mold. It’s much easier to work with, but more expensive. The outer mold can be made out of plaster. For a casting of something that’s going to stay indoors, plain plaster with hemp fiber reinforcement is sufficient and much easier and less toxic than resin/fiberglass. Outdoors, you either need to use a “polymer modified” plaster or, what some decorative casting companies do is to thoroughly seal the plaster part with linseed.

It can be an undertaking, to be sure. Getting a casting book would be a good idea. And making the mold is not exactly cheap, especially if you go the silicone route. If there is a scupture supply company in your area, they can probably help you get going.

Good luck.

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