Plaster cloth sources and prices

Based on research (catalogs, on-line price lists) and experience.
a) Woodland Scenics: not cheap, but easy to get if you are a regular at
a hobby shop. call it Average.
b) Arts and crafts suppliers: varies, depending on targeted clientele. Average to higher at craft supplies shops, average to lower at pro shops. I found the cheapest at a sculpture supplies shop in Toronto, about 1/3rd the price of Woodland Scenics.
c) Medical supplies companies: expensive (suppliers routinely overcharge for anything paid for by insurance companies or Medicare/Medicaid.)
d) School supplies companies: expensive (there's no respect for "taxpayer's dollars" at these places.)
HTH
--
wolf k.

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Buying hydrocal in bulk (80lb bag) at an industrial sculpture supply place is the cheapest. The only down side: you need to keep it dry, possibly for a long time. One thing that work well is to get a used (empty) re-sealable plastic bucket -- if a friend, neighbor, or yourself has a swiming pool, you can re-use the plastic bucket that the chorine tablets or powder (for the pool filter) comes in. USG provides a list of wholesalers / industrial supply places that carry hydrocal (a USG product).
Plaster cloth is just hydrocal (plaster) embedded in cheese cloth.

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Robert Heller -- 978-544-6933
Deepwoods Software -- Download the Model Railroad System
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Robert Heller wrote:

Yes, I found a large bag lets say 2.5 ft tall, not sure of the weight, probably 80lb, but it was so cheap there was no reason not to get it. It was sold as molding compound, used to make forms/molds for prototypes of ???. I did some work and used about 2-3 gals. of it, and then 5 years later noticed it was a brick. LARGE BRICK sitting in the damp basement. Who'd guess :-)
Thanks for the info, I'm kinda looking for a bag like that. Al.
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Hmm. Plaster + water == hard as a rock -- afterall, that is what we do with the plaster normally. The bags USG uses for bulk hydrocal are just paper and are not waterproof. Normally, those large bags are used to make really, really big molds or to cast really, really big stuff.

Visit www.usg.com -- there is a link to a distributor finder.
But *first*, get that sealable plastic bucket! Someone in your neighborhood must have a pool and thus uses either the big chlorine 'pills' or chlorine crystals in their pool filter -- snag their empty bucket before they toss it in the trash.

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Robert Heller -- 978-544-6933
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Robert Heller wrote:

Actually I do have those pool buckets from the days of our pool. And I keep them for just these things. I'm ahead of the game there.
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On 7/30/2008 6:30 PM Robert Heller spake thus:

Yep; adding water to plaster makes "large bricks". But taking water away from "bricks" makes plaster. Wonder how big/hot a kiln would be required to turn the brick back into plaster? (That's how plaster is made, for thems who don't know: huge kilns or retorts drive off the water from gypsum, or from calcium carbonate in the case of lime plaster.) Just another little DIY project, hmm?
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yourself
OR
Buy yourself a bucket at Home Depot
OR
Hit up a commercial painter for a bucket. Must of them deal with 5 gal buckets of paint.
OR
Hit up a Drywall contractor. They have scads of buckets that drywall compound comes in.
OR
Hit up a neighbor that has a cat. Tidy Cats comes in a bucket. Just got two from my neighbor. (Why would anyone throw away such a great thing??)
OR
Laundry Soap also comes in large buckets. Got a family on the block with lots of kids??
OR
A restaurant or Deli may also have 5 gal buckets. Pickels, Mayo, and Deli Salads are sold to such places in 5 gal buckets. I got me a pickel bucket that has a rubber O Ring in the lid. Makes a good seal and is easy to open.
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And best of all, your scenery will be kosher.
-Pete
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LOL!
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This is rather a rippoff. I don't know if Home Depot sells large buckets with tightly sealing screw tops.

These are not meant to be *easily* tightly resealed.

These don't *tightly* reseal.

Are they large enough for 80lbs of Hyrocal?

Again are they large enough?

You need to dry these out very throughly before you store Hydrocal (plaster) in them.

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Robert Heller -- 978-544-6933
Deepwoods Software -- Download the Model Railroad System
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On 8/3/2008 7:22 AM Robert Heller spake thus:
>

Well, DUH ...
By the way, is a Pickel the same thing as a pickle?
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endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it.
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I have a friend with the last name Pickel, So I tend to miss-spell Pickle
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Snip!

Rippoff? These buckets are available at Home Depot and such. They have a snap on lid and are clean and rather inexpensive. I double bag with appropriate size plastac trash bags as a liner and twist tie to seal. Keeps my plaster very dry and I don't have to look for some one with pickles, cats, a pool, or a contractor who may have an extra one.
Jim Bright
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It is a rippoff in much the same vein as buying pre-cut strips of cardboard for scenery making. There are probably *hundreds* of perfectly good (and reusuable) buckets being thrown out all over the place.

--
Robert Heller -- 978-544-6933
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On 8/3/2008 2:20 PM Robert Heller spake thus:

Yes. Those cat-litter containers someone else mentioned are particularly good. Not quite as big as the 5-gallon buckets, but they have tight-fitting lids and are essentially free if you buy that brand of cat litter, as I used to do (actually was Safeway's house brand, cheap stuff).
In a so-called third-world country, such containers are valued and not just wantonly tossed into dumpsters are they are here. Used until they break. We are *so* wasteful ...
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It's a matter of availability. If I have need of a bucket and have access to a free one that's the way I'd go, but if I have to spend a lot of time hunting one down the inexpensive one at Home Depot becomes the source of choice. As for the cardboard analogy -- free uncut cardboard is very easy to come by but if for some reason the only thing available was pre-cut strips and I really needed them now -- I'd guess I'd go with the rip-off.
Jim Bright
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I purchased a bunch of 'drywall shims' at our local Menards, to try instead of cutting cardboard strips - about $5 for a batch of 50 strips, exactly the size I'd cut from cardboard (1" wide by maybe 3' long). I used cardboard before, but it's a lot of difficult cutting, and for pretty low cost these strips seem like they might work well.
I haven't actually used them yet (still laying track), so we'll see, but it seemed like a good thing to at least try.
- Steven RGS history, photos, etc - http://www.rgsrr.info
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From time to time, our local bakery sells them as well. Just a couple of bucks since they are used. And since they had food products in them, there is no environmental concern.
dlm
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I've often thought about making my own but don't know how you would get the plaster to stick to the cloth in sufficient quantity to make it useful. I thought about something like spray adhesive but there goes the price agian. Anyone know how it's done?
dlm
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For home grown 'plaster cloth', the easiest and most straight forward way to do it as a 'last minute' / as needed method:
Mix up the plaster as usual, maybe a little thinner that normal.
Dip strips of (plain) cheese cloth and immediately apply to the scenery.
Basically not really different from paper mache technique, except for materials differences (cheese cloth vs paper, plaster vs. thin paste/glue mix).
No real need to stick the dry plaster to the cloth -- just dip the bare cloth in the mixed plaster. It is not like you need to manufacture it as a dry product to be shipped off to hobbyests somewhere.
I expect that the manufacturing process is really much the same: dip the cloth in wet plaster, let dry, then bake the water off to restore the plaster to its original dry state, ready to be wetted again. This seems like overkill for 'home use'.

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