File puptcrit/puptcrit.0810, message 314

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Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2008 11:37:19 -0400
Subject: [Puptcrit] Monster Bone: Newfound property

Yesterday I was washing a brush that had partially dried, full of the 
Monster bone finish (Joint compound and PVA glue, in my case: Weldbond).
It washed really well, no residue.

Which got me to thinking: what if the final dried product is re-soluble?
Sudden moment of worry: would some of my puppets or masks be in danger of 
losing their finish?

So I went testing. Wonderful! My paper mache items with the Monster Bone 
finish are well protected against water, since I add washes and washes of 
acrylic paint atop it anyways, and some of them have extra protection 
because they have an absorbed shoe polish finish (applied when hot, remelted 
on the surface, brushed until uniform and well penetrated).

Suddenly, it dawned on me: this property of re-solubility becomes a great 
finishing technique!
So I went to my current project, the Giant Skull Mask, and tried smoothing 
the talking skeleton walking stick that goes with it (pics coming soon). It 
was unpainted and ready for sanding.  I just brushed some water on it, and 
with a little rubbing, the finish gets smooth pretty quick. It also works by 
rubbing with my fingers, with some water.
The feel and look of it is similar to when you are smoothing plaster when 
it's freshly applied, firm but still scrtacheable with fingernails. The 
wet-smoothed monster bone looks really good, and the effect can be 
controlled, because it does not "melt" very quickly.

When dry again, it is still the same perfect matteness I'm used to, and 
there is no cracking.
I used to try to smooth the Monster Bone finish while it was wet, with 
fingers and water, but had stopped doing it because it produced cracks upon 
Now I can smooth, without the dusts of sandpaper, the dried product, without 
any risk of cracks.
I'll still use sandpaper, but less so.

This method with water will work less when you have more glue than compound 
into your mix.

I suspect that this wet-smoothing would also work with the origin of Monster 
Bone: the original haunting recipe called Monster Mud (joint compound and 
latex wall paint), popularized by The Terror Syndicate.

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