Is there any difference in the various brands of algenate/jeltrate? If so which is the best as far as tear strength and ability to capture detail? Thanks
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The cheapest regular setting alginate available through dental wholesalers, or your local dentist if you're nice enough. Usually, a case will buy you a pricebreak. It will give you great detail...
The more expensive ones do a much better cast on getting detail, but thats fine detail. If your just doing regular work any kind will work out just fine.
Cold water will help slow down the set and give you a little more time.
I use Henry Schein Impression material, TypeII, regular set, spearmint flavored. (I guess the subjects I cast with this material don't know how good it smells, or tastes, but it is a good product.) I get mine through my duck hunting partner, who is a dentist. The case price makes a one pound (454g) canister cost around seven dollars. Like all alginates, it is a rather flimsy material and I use back up pans or trays to contain it whenever possible.
One of the nicest things about alginates is that they are not self bonding. I make many small fish molds with the product by embedding the fish to the dorsal/ventral line and casting the top half. Flipping the fish and first-cast alginate over allows one to cast the second half with little or no prep. Keys may be cut in the first half pour to register the halves when a plaster cast is made from the mold. Using a scapel to relieve the fin backs on the away side will thicken them and allow them to be cast. Detail can be carved into the flat, deepened side of the cast fins with plaster tools if a 360 degree view is desired. The plaster cast can be sealed, blocked and molded with rtv at a later date to make a good archival mold from which to cast replicas.