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Working with plaster cloth

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  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Southern Quebec, Canada
  • 868 posts
Working with plaster cloth
Posted by Guy Papillon on Friday, April 18, 2014 5:44 PM

Railroad modeling is a good occasion to learn and develop new skills: woodworking, soldering, electronics, etc.  Today I learned a new way to work with plaster cloth.  To date I always soaked the plaster cloth in water for a few seconds and laid the piece in place with my fingers. Always a mess and sometimes difficult, particularly with large pieces or long and narrow ones. 

Today I tried a new technique.  I placed the already measured and cut piece of plaster cloth in place dry. I then soaked it with water using a brush.  The result is amazing.  The piece of plaster cloth stays where it is placed, my fingers stay dry and it is easier to get a smooth surface as the brush fills the small holes in the cloth with plaster.

Maybe this has always been the right way to do it but I was unaware of it. 

 

Guy

Modeling CNR in the 50's

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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Friday, April 18, 2014 7:00 PM

I never tried using a brush.  I have always put it in place dry and wet it with a spray bottle.  That, of course, still requires you to get your hands dirty smoothing it out.  I may try the brush next time.

Dave

Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

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Posted by NP01 on Friday, April 18, 2014 11:28 PM

I use the spray bottle technique with 1-2 pins to hold the cloth in place when dry. The brush technique sounds promisinG with the right size and softness of brush. 

  • Member since
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Posted by zstripe on Saturday, April 19, 2014 6:26 AM

Well I guess you weren't around in the 50's, with open grid, window screen and plaster mountain's, that's not a bad thing though!

Have Fun!

Frank

Btw: Maybe I should be more specific. As far as using the brush method thingie. The plaster would be the consistency of soft serve ice cream for the first apps. over the screen. Big Smile

  • Member since
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  • From: Weymouth, Ma.
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Posted by bogp40 on Saturday, April 19, 2014 4:18 PM

Spray bottle and a brush. Alawys helps to have a cup of water to keep wetting the brush as you work. I also add additional Hydrocal to thicken the hardshell applying and smoothing w/ a margin trowel and the brush. This technique works well to plaster around castings and other objects.

Modeling B&O- Chessie  Bob K.  www.ssmrc.org

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  • From: Stagecoach Nevada
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Posted by crhostler61 on Saturday, April 19, 2014 6:48 PM

Plaster is always fun. Never used the cloth though. I know what zstripe is getting at. I still use the method he's describing. I picked up on it back in the 70's.

But I do want to try the plaster cloth.

Mark H

Modeling in HO...Reading and Conrail together in an alternate history. 

  • Member since
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  • From: Weymouth, Ma.
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Posted by bogp40 on Saturday, April 19, 2014 7:07 PM

crhostler61

Plaster is always fun. Never used the cloth though. I know what zstripe is getting at. I still use the method he's describing. I picked up on it back in the 70's.

But I do want to try the plaster cloth.

Mark H

 

You do get "spoiled" after using plaster cloth.  Old hardshell, plaster over screening is still done, but placing, fastening, shaping the screen not to mention supporting it to hold the wet goop is more tedious than platercloth over foam/ cardboard lattice. Still do both depending on the circumtances.

Modeling B&O- Chessie  Bob K.  www.ssmrc.org

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  • From: Knoxville, TN
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Posted by farrellaa on Saturday, April 19, 2014 10:52 PM

A good cup of hot coffee would help here. You can drink some and use some to wet AND color the plaster! Just don't forget which is first! Actually, your method is certainly deserving of a test on my next plaster gauze session. Thanks for the tip.

   -Bob

Life is what happens while you are making other plans!

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Posted by CGW121 on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:35 AM

I tried it and love it. Faster, less messy. Will make the job a lot easier.

 

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Posted by dave v on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:27 PM

I like plaster cloth as well and i wear latex gloves. I tried a new method that works awesome, used BOUNCE sheets out of the dryer dipped in plaster of paris. Works like a charm and the sheets are very pliable and way cheaper than plaster cloth. the sheets are just the right size to work with and add just a hint of freshness to your layout. Give it a try

  • Member since
    November 2013
  • From: ___ _, ____
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Posted by CPfan on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 7:58 PM

Greetings,

I'm new to the hobby but I love working with plaster cloth so far. I put it in place dry, make sure the seams are smooth, play around with it until I'm happy with the shape and spray it with a spray bottle. Sometimes the water drips under the layout, down the fascia, etc. but that's when I stop spraying and start sopping it up with rags! Still I don't find it too messy. The plaster starts setting up pretty quick and before you know it, the water gets sucked up. Beats dipping paper towels in soupy plaster or any of the other many methods out there. 

One tip: I found the plaster cloth much cheaper at a large art supply store than the stuff made for our hobby. And there's no difference in quality. It's the same plaster-soaked gauze. 

 

 

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 12:01 AM

If you don't get it wet enough, then you will have problems. I dip mine but only for a second, never much of a mess. As far as cost, it has gone up some, used to be under $1.50 a roll, now $1.97 shipped.

  • Member since
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  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 7:14 AM

Plaster cloth is another item I pick up at Michaels or A.C. Moore using their weekly 40%-off-of-one-item coupon.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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