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Scrabble mania plus pouring plaster

I've been playing a Scrabble-like game online with a friend about once a week or so. She generally completely kicks my butt, but somehow or another I picked up some good tiles yesterday, including all four high-scoring ones (J, Q, X, Z). In addition, I managed to put together a bingo, and I even had a second one in my rack (LUMPERS or RUMPLERS) but I couldn't put it anywhere. S also managed a bingo, and so in the end I won with 396 points to her 378. Maybe I should start keeping track of game totals.

Anyway, here was our final board:
High-scoring game

Later in the day, I told sytharin that I would lend her a hand with projects out in the garden. First things first, I went on a quick trip over to the store to pick up more potting soil to replace the soil I'd used up, so she can start a bunch of interesting seeds. Things like a pink banana plant, for example.

When I returned, she was underway with another project, mixing and pouring plaster for a ceramics wedging table:

Plaster preparation

Have you ever mixed and poured plaster before? I've dealt with it a lot, in the context of making ant nests. So I was a touch nervous when RAC said she'd been mixing the plaster and water for about 5 minutes by that point. So then she got ready to pour:
Plaster pouring

...slightly more liquid than she'd hoped...

Plaster pouring

...kind of thick towards the bottom...and you can see how it's starting to leak out of the mold, too...

Plaster pouring

After things reached this stage, I stopped taking pictures and started helping out. A spare board helped reduce the leak rate, and then we managed to scoop a bunch of the plaster back into the mold. If you ever find yourself wanting to make a plaster clay wedging table, I have a small piece of advice: put a small strip of clay along the seams, to seal them off.

Oh, actually, multiple pieces of advice. I think the mixing ratio that RAC used was probably okay. It was the ratio on the package. Anyway, other advice. Do what she did and get one of those drill attachments for mixing paint. Always add plaster to water, not the other way around. And maybe put the form onto something that's slightly easier to tap/vibrate/relocate to knock out as many of the bubbles as possible. In this case it would have helped to have something like a moving dolly. That would have helped with the splashing, too.

For clean-up, have a bucket of water ready to go for immediately after you pour. Use the water to rinse out and dilute the plaster that remains in your mixing vessel and on your mixing equipment. You don't need a ton of water, but enough to loosen things up. Removing hardened plaster is often more difficult, but another alternative is to work with a flexible mixing vessel. If you generate a bunch of waste liquid, pour it into a big bucket and let it sit for a week or more. The plaster residue will sink to the bottom and you will be able to pour off the water. Then, once things have dried out, you'll have an easier time disposing of the residue. I believe there's actually a way to recharge it, but it might involve temperatures that are too high for doing this at home.

Then I did some cooking, and I have no idea where the rest of the day went.


( 2 remarks — Remark )
Apr. 12th, 2016 03:54 am (UTC)
I think to regenerate it you have to calcine it, which is in the red-hot range.
I've seen people do something similar using a garbage bag to line the system, to prevent escape. I'm also told that any sort of shop machinery, like a tablesaw or bandsaw, will do a pretty good job of debubblizing the plaster.

The other day I found a blog about a guy rebuilding a 1915 motorcycle. he casually mentioned that he'd rebuilt a bicycle pump as a vacuum source, able to crank down to 1/100 of an atmosphere with assiduous application of the pump. I haven't yet found details, but that would certainly debubblize plaster effectively.
Apr. 12th, 2016 06:58 pm (UTC)
I've found mixing cake mix in a big plastic bag helps cleanup immensely.

I have to put quickcrete on the bathroom floor, please fly out to NYC to help. We have nowhere for you to sleep, so I'll sleep in the garage. Sorry.
( 2 remarks — Remark )

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