File puptcrit/puptcrit.0509, message 91

Date: Fri, 9 Sep 2005 14:52:11 EDT
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] latex

A lot of pioneering the slip casting of latex puppets was done by Bil  Baird 
using Cementex L200 when it first became available. If you speak to the  owner 
of Cementex, he will tell you about the early days of latex casting with  
Bil. Latex is a natural rubber, not a synthetic, that Bil referred to as "gummy"  
in his design drawings. Bil's famous singing frogs were cast L200 (see photo, 
 page 245 of "The Art of the Puppet.")
I have had L200 puppets that severely deteriorated after just a few years.  
However, I also have  some of Bil's castings that must be more than 35  years 
old, showing no signs of deterioration other than slight darkening in  color. 
I suspect that using fresh L200 instills a longer life than using latex  that 
has been on the shelf for a while, but that is my own trial and error  
opinion. Of course, as has been mentioned, keeping latex castings out of  sunlight 
and air, add to the life expectancy. The nice thing is that you  can save the 
molds and easily replace a latex puppet by casting a new one, and  easily 
create backups and duplicates.
Among those who were innovative after learning this technique from Bil  are 
Ronnie Burkett, Michael Baroto, Leslee Asch and Tommy McGlaughlin.  Tommy 
helped create the first casting of Miss Piggy for Henson,  and later created a huge 
casting of Jabba the Hut for "Star  Wars." He formulated his own brand of 
foam latex, known as McGlaughlin  Foam.
Liquid latex L200 should not be confused with the newer polyfoam currently  
popular, also known as L200.
In a message dated 9/8/2005 11:01:35 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, writes:

I am  picking up on a conversation about latex.  For the last twenty years or 
 so I've been using casting products from the Cementex Corporation.  I  don't 
even remember how I stumbled upon these products, but the results have  been 
very long lasting.

Cementex, located in lower Manhattan, has a  varied line of materials.  I've 
always used what I thought were the least  expensive and least toxic.  None of 
the puppets I've made have  deteriorated, as far as I can tell.

I use L200, a pre-vulcanized latex  which I mix with #64 filler, a watery 

It's not a complicated  procedure and I thought I'd mention it, as other 
puppeteers who I meet don't  seem to be aware of it.  I'm hoping that 
"prevulcanized" means that my  puppets will last as long as the rubber in my sneakers!

I'll be glad to  go into more detail if anyone is curious.  Or if anyone has 
any warnings  about it, please let me know.

Robert Rogers  

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