Oliver underway!

I still have photos and a BreyerFest report to make, but I thought I’d pass along this picture showing the start of the Oliver master mold. Oliver and his mother Elsie, both sculpted by Sarah Minkiewicz-Breunig, are new releases for 2010. Oliver’s master mold is part of the reason I am behind on my posting. Work on it was interrupted for back-to-back trips, first to Kentucky and then to Alabama, so I’ve been eager to finish the project before I hit the road to Ohio in a few weeks.

In this picture he’s being prepared for the pouring of the first large side. The claying up isn’t completely finished; the edge along his topline has to be brought up tight to the original. This is important since it determines how tightly the mold will fit, and therefor how much (or how little) flashing will be present on the castings. Extra time spent getting this part right means less time spent later. The rest of the mold keys (the indentions around the outside) have yet to be cut and the outer edges still need to be made square and true. Unless there is trouble getting a rubber casting, this is usually the most time-consuming step.

Fortunately this is a very straight-forward mold to make, so I don’t anticipate any trouble. I was pleased to see that he even fits within my favorite set of mold boards, which are smaller and easier to handle. Elsie is a tight fit even for my largest set, so I suspect I’m going to need to get my husband to make a bigger set before I start working on her mold. I should probably break down and have him make them from plexiglass like this set Joan has, because being able to see through the sides is really useful, and the clamps don’t gouge them.

If only everything could be molded with Legos! They don’t have the strength for larger molds, but for smaller projects they are faster. That was how I could make ten new molds for the cabochons used in the previous few posts. With just one functioning mold and really humid weather, I could only cast two beads in a day. That wasn’t going to work, since they are the sort of thing that only makes sense in large batches. I made the new molds just before I left for Kentucky, so they are now dry and ready to use.

My plan is to experiment with glazes on the cabochons and the Flying Hearts Fundraiser tiles during the rubber cure times. I swear the hardest part of moldmaking for me is leaving the rubber long enough for it to properly cure. I’m always dying to see if it really worked! So a distraction is a good thing. If it all works out, I’ll have Oliver and Elsie plaster molds drying and a fully stocked Etsy store by fall.

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