File puptcrit/puptcrit.0509, message 24

Date: Thu, 01 Sep 2005 21:51:57 -0700
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Repairing cracked latex


Here are some thoughts....certainly not the end of the discussion.

Since natural latex is a bio-degradable material
it does have an aging process.  Usually a slip
cast piece, if it is handled and used (like a
puppet)  it's somewhere between 3-10 years
depending on the formulation, protective coatings
and care it receives. Longer if it's a display
item.   Once the stickiness begins, it's a sign
that it's the end.  It's not just a matter of
removing the sticky part to "stop" the
process.  The process is inert and will continue.

The enemy of natural latex is the sun and ozone.
The best defense is prevention.   Coating the
surface of the latex with Armor-All or other
vinyl protectant about every 3 months will
prolong the life of the product the best way
possible.   Keeping it out of direct sunlight
when on display is also best but not always possible.

You can also use ArmorAll to lubricate the
problem areas to keep them from feeling sticky
and a good coating daubed on the front surfaces
(not scrubbed hard to hurt the paint) will brighten the piece up.

I have patched old pieces with newer latex
brushed on over saturated pieces of fabric,
gauze, or burlap, and it can work sometimes.  The
trick is to use Acrylic Lacquer Thinner to break
open and score the old surface.  It doesn't
always work depending on the formulation of the
old / and new latex.  In the cases where it
doesn't stick to the old latex, on the inside of
the crack, you can substitute contact cement with fabric to make a patch.

We have worked for years with chemists to develop
a superior latex for the production of our
puppets.  Many latex products like masks have a
bunch of fillers in the formula to reduce cost
and cause faster set ups for production.  It will
break down much faster.  They want it that way,
"planned obsolescence" they call it.   If they
can formulate the latex so poorly so that
halloween masks only last 1 or 2 years, they have
more re-orders.   Not my company.

You can repaint the areas with latex mixed with
pigment (or acrylic paints) and prosaide mixed
together as an adheisive, but first clean off the
area to repaint with Lac. Thinner.

You can glue latex with a flexible solvent based
contact cement, or barge cement (shoe repair shops).

Here is another resources....


At 05:16 PM 9/1/2005, you wrote:
>Thanks Les. Of course, I was thinking  about our very own Steve Axtell.
>He's always helpful.
>Hope he checks his emails soon.
>Mathieu René Créaturiste
>Marionnettes, Masques, Etcetera...
>Puppets, Masks, Etcetera...
>(514) 274-8027
>List address:
>Admin interface:

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