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creating custom rock

Discussion in 'Habitat and Exhibit' started by wlof, Dec 17, 2006.

  1. wlof

    wlof New Member

    when creating custom rock do you have to use McKenzie rock mix or is there something different ?

    thank you.
  2. KevinH

    KevinH Active Member

    I use the rock mix from research, the medium or middle one. Not the fine and not the coarse. I tired mckenzies but didnt like it too much. it seemed too coarse for my liking.

  3. elkman

    elkman hunter I guided for 2006

    you could mold a actual rock with paint on latex product, several coats, then pour with bondo thinned to pourable concisincly, then roll around to coat inside , stain or paint to suit, works great can us over and over, I use about 10 differnt rocks , some large some small to make most of my habitats,
  4. Roadkill

    Roadkill Jackalopes are Real !!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have made several nice molds of rocks taht I liked that hold animals really well and look cool. I actually mix resin with oven dry sand, (no moisture or it messes with the resin),
    and pour it into the mold. It makes rocks that look really good. Fine sand can look like limestone and corse sand can look like sand stone or marble even. You can even place rows of salt rock in to look like a quartz vein or paint white lines across the face of the mold ot make it look different. Lots of things ot do wiht one rock. Besides, you can make them when ever you need one and it will be done in an hour basically, and is hollow and totally perfect for a small pedistal or a bird or small animal.
  5. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    I like McKenzies better than any others, but I've also used Tom Matuska's method with success. He markets a video and the paint to pull it off correctly.
  6. You can also do a controled pour of foam, carve it, "paint" it with a thinned-down (polyester resein mixed with bondo) mixture & add hardener(red,blue,or clear-for gray color), then after it hardens- paint as you want to.
    -Happy rocking! - Susan
  7. topnotch

    topnotch Member

    what type of latex product do you use for the mold and what do you thin the bondo with
  8. EJ

    EJ Proud Member of: Unaffiliated, Free Agent

    You can use brush on latex like you buy at McKenzie's or you can thin silicone with mineral spirits to make your mold. You thin bondo with resin.
  9. Hey Guys,
    You can also thin silicone with xylol-but be careful...the fumes are terrible.
    When I need to work on several rocks or bases, for conveinence sake, I'll take a new can of bondo and put half of it in another can. Then I'll add resin to one of the 1/2 filled cans to thin it out pretty good (it keeps well)- and I use both the cream hardner and the clear hardner to make it set up....but I mix it outside those are some STRONG fumes.
    At times it'll give me a headache, hence the added ventillation measures.
    Hope this helps, Susan
  10. check the McKenzie web site, They show with pics how to use the rock mix!
  11. DeputyDog

    DeputyDog New Member

    Going to try making my own rocks and have some beginner questions. I have already made up a bunch of latex molds and I'm going to try the bondo method. What kind of resin do you mix with the bondo to make it pourable? The only resin I can find is the fiberglass resin. Also do you need to apply any mold release when using latex mold before pouring in casting material?
  12. Fiberglass resin is correct...and always apply a mold release before putting anything in the mold, or you'll have a solid set-up mold you can't use again. Hope this helps-Susan
    If I can help you with anything else-contact me at: [email protected]
  13. DeputyDog

    DeputyDog New Member

    Thanks Susan for the info.
  14. You're Welcome!!-Susan
  15. PJK1944


    when you need a custom rock you build it from scratch..using a wooden frame for support and for framing. then you use 1/4 inch wire/hardware cloth. You then can screw the wire in place or use a stapler. bend and shape the wire the way you want your rock to look. Next using a mache mix (2 parts hi fiber, 1part plaster,1 part dexdrine glue.all in powder form) mix this to a pancake batter with water, you also want to add some black concrete dye color/or Tempura powder. Next you will need Burlap material cut up in differnt sizes, put burlap into this mix then squeze out some of the mix and then put on top of the wire and rub it smooth..Do this until the wire is covered. let dry. Next you will make another mix (2parts hi fiber, 1 and 1/2 plaster,and 1 part of dexdrine glue, and color and mix this to a peanut thickness and with your hands inside of gloves, you spread this mix and you can form and thing you want a this time..Let this set up a little and then using a piece of the mess wire bent over you can carve your rock to the texture you like,,,let dry compleatly.. to paint the rock I use the concrete dye colors mix them in a bottle with water and mist the rock and dab it with a paint brush, use different colors and mix and spray and dab, keep it up till the base is done.. This sounds like alot of work ? It is but you have a custom rock (one of a kind) so charge$$$$$. and fun.. Rick Kennair's number 7 video shows the method and video #8 shows a custom rock done with other materials..good luck..
  16. Hey PJK1944,
    I've taken several of Rick's classes and have done several rocks using the same methods as you've quoted from his video.
    Try this for a "faster set-up" for a load bearing rock base.:
    Following the above directions for building the frame and setting up foot placements{for weight bearing points} ... (OMIT the part concerning this-
    Next using a mache mix (2 parts hi fiber, 1part plaster,1 part dexdrine glue.all in powder form) mix this to a pancake batter with water, you also want to add some black concrete dye color/or Tempura powder. Next you will need Burlap material cut up in differnt sizes, put burlap into this mix then squeze out some of the mix and then put on top of the wire and rub it smooth..Do this until the wire is covered. let dry. Next you will make another mix (2parts hi fiber, 1 and 1/2 plaster,and 1 part of dexdrine glue, and color and mix this to a peanut thickness and with your hands inside of gloves, you spread this mix and you can form and thing you want a this time..Let this set up a little )

    Now for the place to play around with foam.
    Once you've constructed all the wood and wire basics for your base, staple a covering of burlap anywhere you have wire mesh-you can even double it if you want to(until you get used to using the foam in this manner).
    Pull out the 2 part foam you've been experimenting with -or using...along with the usual cups and whatever you stir/mix & measure with. I use several pieces of cardboard cut into squares a little wider than your hand to use as spreaders for the foam. Set-up your mixing area with your base sitting on a sheet of plastic ,elevated high enough to get it off of the floor & where you can comfortably reach all areas to work while spreading your foam; as long as you have the area underneath and around the base protected with that sheet of plastic. This will keep your base from being permanently attached to whatever surface it's sitting on, as well as aiding in controlling extra foam from sliding off onto your shoes!
    With your gloves, apron, and safety glasses on-lets get started playing with foam!!
    Measure the foam carefully and mix. As you mix, the color will change from light -to dark-back to light, and you'll feel it heating up as it kicks and starts to rise. Once it starts to rise in the cup, quickly start pouring it out on a solid section of your base and spread with the cardboard pieces thinnly over the burlap. This will form a "shell" sealing the burlap so that you won't have to pour a solid rock. Pour in small batches until you get the hang of it. If it gets "stringy" while spreading, stop and go on to another section. Let this "shell" set-up(a few minutes-bathroom break)before pouring the second layer ... then repeat pouring the foam on in smaller batches to add thickness to the shell-don't spread it as thin...this will be your carving surface for your rock. I usually pour in a way to add detail to the rock-height, for carving undercuts, etc.
    After letting it set for a few more minutes(coffee break), I cut, carve, sculpt, and add detail (with knives, saws, jig saws,etc.)
    I have a mix of 1/2 can of bondo and 1/3 polyester resin, colored with mortar dye or tempra paint(powderd) waiting to coat my rock. In a plastic bowl I'll blend the above mixture with white cream hardner(uaually available at the
    same place the bondo can be bought) and MEK. Sometimes if I don't use both hardners the rock will turn out a little tacky to the touch and take longer to set-up. Paint this on and let this set up(about 10-15 mins) add a second coat as touch-up if needed.
    Use your airbrush to darken/highlight the undercuts and details, seal it and you're ready to go--IN ONE DAY"S TIME!!
    HINTS:You may need to make a door in the bottom of the base to attach (nuts on threaded rods) the animal to the rock-be sure to cut this as you construct the frame, NO I 'm not saying you're dumb..just better to remind the newbies before they go and do like I did...HA HA HA!
    Putting hot glue in "wire" placement holes before setting the animal on the base works well as attachment for forms with wire .
    IF your rock happens to be slightly tacky to the touch, dust it with dirt (or even baby powder) to cover till it sets-or to add detail to your base. --Hope this helps, Susan
  17. ProExhib

    ProExhib New Member

    that's a lot of work. a lot! why work so hard at it? you won't need to waste money like that. use expanding foam to build up a pile of foam. cut and carve/sand to a shape you feel is realistic. coat with thinset, a sandy cement mix (make the thinset creamy like peanut butter, not thin like pancake batter). you can use a series of approaches to texture it but i like using plastic wrap-sheet and a geology book or photos, real like stone examples, cover, form-shape and let set. leave for about 30minutes but do test smaller amounts on your own, learn to work the medium and such on tests. pull then stain, paint or powder coat and spray. rocks aren't solid colors. If for example you want to create a stream side exhibit, picture what it's like at eye level, stream side. the rocks, angles of shoreline, clumps of grassess or a felled log. you can use additives like agrigate to make a more pebbles bank line, less or none for shoreline and create things that look very real. expanding foam, thinset, colors, practice.
    I scuplted 4 foot wide 3 foot high water fall scene with two cans of foam 10.00, one bag os thinset 7.00 and three hours of time, colors for 5.00.
    you don't need to add binders like fiberglass, burlap or even coat mesh cloth is is pricey. hope this helps.
  18. PJK1944


    Hi. Susan, I remember you and Pjk1944 is Patrick Joseph Kennair (Rick Kennair) thats me..I just got a computer for Christmas and my son who by the way thats his picture i'm using that was taken 18 years ago. Well he is teaching me how to try and use this computer.. I'm 62 years old and from the old school, being ready to retire I have time on my hands and want to help out where I can..I love this Tax.Net this is Great stuff.. I wish we had this when I needed this kind of information.. I used to get kicked out of Tax. shops if I said I wanted to learn Tax. As you know I did several hundred seminars over the past 20 years and I really enjoy everyone and met so many great people.. I will try to answer as many questions that I can. I don"t want to come off as a know it all.. I just have alot of experience to share if the Tax.Family wants my in put.. And yes I do have 12 videos on the market but this is not where I'm trying to sell them.. It's just hard to explain word for word on how to projects.. A video is a one on one seminar and you see what the person is saying and doing.. If I reference a video I'm only telling you where you can get and see this infomation, thats it! Remember there are many ways to skin a cat, for every subject I can tell you many ways but time, money and there are other factors that would be a cause for you to use one method over another.. I agree what ever works is fine.. But everybody needs to know each way has it's Pros & Cons. When I worked of Mike Boyce (Animal Artistry) of Reno, when I went on the trip to Austria for 4 months to build this Trophy Room that was 40ft.x60ft. 2 Stories tall, we use many many different methods to make custom rocks, they all worked.. Please let me know if my input is wanted or needed..Thanks Guys & Gals, see ya. in Reno for the World Show. Rick Kennair
  19. Hey PJK1944!
    Rick it sure is nice to know you're still kickin' high! The last I heard, you'd retired...glad to hear otherwise. As far as your videos, yep-I have all your tapes & reference them often.
    Will you be teaching at the mini course in NC (Surry Co.) this time? I hope so. Your classes are always a blast.
    Thanks for the input- Susan
  20. PJK1944


    Hi Susan and Gang; No I won't be doing anymore seminars I got rid of almost all of by stuff. I will be the Competion Chairmen Asst. for the World Show in Reno, this is going to be the greatest show on earth.. I hope to have 6 new videos in the next 3 months.. Three of them or on Lifesize animals with great habitats. one is a lifesize bear with salmon in it's mouth, and two big Salmon swimming under the water, complete with water ledge and ripples. I use a lot of different materials and different methods.. I will let everybody know when they are ready.. Hope to see you in Reno.. Rick(pjk1944)...Hi.Pro Exhib.. yes some of these methods seem like a lot of work, but it depends on what you are trying to achieve and what your customer wants and different methods only give you that special look that you want... I have used the method you talked about and it works really well and I'm glad to are having good results, keep up the great work.. pjk1944...rick