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Petermac
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Is it me or has anyone else noticed that plaster bandage takes forever to dry if laid over a polystyrene core ?

I'm going to kick the polystyrene into touch and use either wire netting or crumpled newspaper for the landform.

It's pretty hot out here but I've already waited nearly 3 days for the plaster to dry out and it's still damp - ish !!!  My feeling is that it needs circulating air to dry effectively and polystyrene just doesn't offer that.  It seems to trap the moisture in it.

Any similar experiences out there ?

Sol
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I will let you know Peter after I try my plaster method though I have seen it done in front of my eyes on at least two exhibition layouts.

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Sol wrote: . . . though I have seen it done in front of my eyes on at least two exhibition layouts.

I remember seeing Sol walking around an exhibition with plaster in front of his eyes - bumping into people . . .  :mutley

I used Chux Super Wipes with casting plaster - otherwise known as plaster of Paris.

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Don't buy any plaster, Sol.  I've still got 20 kg of the stuff.  It helps having a daughter at Bunnings!  ;-)

Sol
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OK, a couple of Kgs then if you are going to next NMRA meet July 24th or DECCA meet at my place on the 25th.
I stll have a bit I can try.

owen69
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Peter, it sounds to me your plaster is past it`s use by date ??
plaster of paris/modelling  goes hard in minutes, finishing plaster about 30 mins,
if yours is still wet after two three days it is U/S mate chuck it and get some new stuff.

:thud:lol::lol::cool:

Petermac
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It is new stuff Owen - Jarvis I think - bought on my last visit to UK by car in February.

I'll try a piece "on it's own" to see how quickly it sets.  I've experienced this problem before when using that gap-filling expanding foam as the land-form and thought it might be because the air can't circulate all around.

Whatever the reason, it's most annoying !!!

henryparrot
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I agree with Owen whenever i have used it the peco or gaugemaster stuff holds shape and is pretty dry within 30 minutes Peter

Pinch Liz`s hairdryer

Brian

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What do you guys use for the land-form under the bandage ?  I think I remember using it years ago over chicken wire with no problems - that's why I'm wondering about the effect the foam is having (if any).

I note Rick used newspaper which would help to absorb some of the moisture.  My thoughts are that because the foam is waterproof, all the drying out would have to take place from one side only.  Maybe I should try with less water around although I'm only dipping it for a few seconds as it is. :???::???:  I do think that, like all things today, they've "economised" on the plaster content - I'd have preferred more to help fill the weave of the bandage.

Sol
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Peter, I have used flywire which is about an 1/8th square mesh, in either a fine metal or fibreglass & plaster straight over it. Flywire is used on screen doors & windows. I would have used that if I was not given all the foam.

owen69
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Peter, I must agree the last time I used bought plaster bandage it was a lacking plaster content,
since then I mix my own and use any old cloth with it.
let us know how the test piece turns out.

:thumbs:lol::lol::cool:

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Never tried plaster bandage, but I have noticed PVA glue seems to take ages to dry on when used on polystyrene.

MikeC
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I have used plaster over foam, and I believe it takes longer to dry, even on my semi-outdoors layout.
As for plaster cloths/bandages I like to make my own with Chux cloths, paper towels or lint.

Mike

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I think Chux cloths are, as Brian said, what are called "J Cloths" in UK.  Apparently, they don't exist in France - at least Liz says she's never seen them.  I might try some cotton cloth or even paper towels.  I seem to remember John Dew used paper towels on an embankment.  I do have chicken wire but it's not very small mesh but worth a try.

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Hi Peter,

I used some ModRoc type bandage from Squires on polystyrene for Kernow Junction this year. It was a new batch and like you it took a while to dry but hours rather than days- even outside when it was sunny. I had dipped it into a mix of water with some PVA added and I suspect it was the PVA that was holding up the drying process. However I used a bit on Devon Junction over chicken wire and it dried much more quickly. It could be the amount of water either that the bandage was holding or the lack of air getting to the other side of the bandage on the polystyrene model.

In both cases however when I added a bit of extra plaster (Yeso a.k.a. plaster of paris) mixed with a little PVA, this layer took days to dry on both layouts. Wierd.:hmm

Les

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Temperature does affect the speed with which plaster will go off but so will humidity. It will go off much faster in dry air simply because the moisture has somewhere to go.

That said it still should not take three days in reasonable conditions. My latest little patch went off in two days outdoors in very damp weather. That was laid over mushroomed newspaper as usual.

I have a few small areas where polystyrene is included in the substrate but isn't the major part of it. The steep slopes of the sand dune scene include some scrap polystyrene pieces but the basis is still newspaper and the plaster sits almost entirely on that. It went off in the usual day or two.

Last edited on Sat Jul 3rd, 2010 12:07 pm by

henryparrot
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Nearly all types of plaster age can affect it curing times.

for example Thistle board plaster you always tried to get as new as possible bags as the older it is the quicker it goes off.
Wheres as the the old browning plaster the reverse was true if new took ages to go off so older bags were preferable.

Brian

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Just another aspect on the plaster situation.
As a spark we used to come up against breeze blocks ,where when one tried to  cut out a neat square recces to take a switch or socket box one ended up with a ragged hole according to how the material broke away . So we used" casting plaster" spreading it into the hole and pushing the metal box in to the soggy mass
. The casting plaster went off in a matter of minutes,provided a firm fixing ,and enabled us to get on with the work.
"Casting plaster "came as coarse ,medium, and fine .  this was used by conractors on site to cast ornate cornice work and similar fine work. In stately homes and theatres and  other buildings of that type where a faithful reproduction of a particular sample piece was required  Now the point is we got used to this material and found that it had slighlty different properties to ordinary plaster of paris . It had a particular fibrous content which enabled  to one to sculpt the finish up to about 15 minutes before it suddenly became unworkable.  So then if you can locate a fibrous plaster works (yellow pages ) and get hold of a bag !cwt of this product it will if properly stored last for years and is invaluable as a modelling aid . As a landcscape  filler ,or  press baco foil into it for rock faces etc.  .Make it up as a creamy texture pour or apply with a putty knife.goes off in minutes so work fast. can be shaped for roads or similar. Will take paint ,but is not weatherproof so no good for outside. Coming to Petermacs problem i can only think that whilst it has been obtained recently it had "gone off" usually when it is mixed if it has a grainy look and feel then it has been stored in damp conditions. If it had been in good condition it would not take that long to go off. Happy to bring some down to Cambourne for you Petermac ,but you may be over the problem by then.

Petermac
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Thanks for all your comments and advice guys. :cheers

Today, I tried some of the same bandage over chicken wire - it worked perfectly !!!  Dried in less than 30 minutes and then I sprinkled some casting plaster on top, sprayed it with water and worked it into the bandage weave.  I'm happy with the results.  

Some I laid yesterday over polystyrene is still "soft" so I'm assuming it is the fact that air can't get behind it with the solid substrate.  It's pretty hot here although the last couple of days have also been humid but the wire says it all !!

Regarding the type of plaster - around 15 years ago, I went to a builders merchant in London to buy some Carlite Browning.  He asked if I came from "up north" because they hadn't used browning in London for years - plasterboard and board finish only !!!

If you ask any "handyman / builder" here (the English type) they'll tell you that french plaster is impossible to use !!!  It's a real pig and sets in minutes - suddenly !!!  One minute you've got a nice "soft butter" consistency and 2 seconds later, you've got concrete.

I've got some casting plaster - used it for Linka mouldings.  It's not fibrous although you can buy bags of "fibre" to mix in but it's too coarse for "00" gauge mouldings.  I'm going to experiment with other grades of plaster to see if I can find one that gives me enough time to work with it before it sets hard.  I'm sick of washing / chipping out bowls of hard plaster. :twisted::twisted::twisted:

I'll have to find something because that bandage works out at a fair old price !!!!!

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Peter
If you pop to the french equivalant of B & Q you should find some plasterboard or dry wall adhesive.
that mixes as thin as you want and sticks like Sh*t to a blanket and is cheap aswell.

http://www.diy.com/diy/jsp/bq/nav.jsp?action=detail&fh_secondid=9273173&fh_view_size=10&fh_location=%2f%2fcatalog01%2fen_GB&fh_search=plaster+adhesive&fh_eds=%C3%9F&fh_refview=search&ts=1278180450248&isSearch=true


Brian

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I can vouch for that stuff Brian, Iused it all over my previous layout,great for all sorts.

:doublethumb:lol::lol::cool:

Petermac
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What a great idea guys. :cheers:cheers:cheers    I'd never thought about plasterboard glue and you're right - it does stick to everything.  Watch out "Point P" (our local builders merchant) - I'm on my way - the French arm of B & Q is called Castorama and the nearest to me is an hour away !!!!

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Re the cleaning out of bowls . bendy ones are best similar to tupperware. I look out for the xmas pud plastic bowls at xmas .they are about right . just squeeze the sides and residue plaster pops out. :thumbs

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I'm going to need something like this when I start my scenic work and I'll probably be using polystyrene as a former.

Just to clarify - will it dry OK over polystrene??

How long will a bag last - 25kg seems a lot to me (for a 10ft x 7ft layout), perhaps a 10kg bag would be better.

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The bit I did yesterday with plaster & Chux has dried out overnight in a cold room. I will get some photos a bit later ( some housework to do now )

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All my scenic work these days is done with Styrofoam shaped to requirements then coated with a thin coat of casting plaster with a little white glue in the mix painted on with brush.

The white glue helps the plaster stick to the Styrofoam.

 Winter or summer it usually goes off in about 1/2 to 1 hour.

Ian

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My own experiences have had the following results:

Home-made plaster bandage over gap-filling expanding foam substrate:   Done in winter but took forever to dry - over a week.  The bandage was made by cutting up pieces of cotton shirt and soaking in a plaster sludge - not an easy thing to do.

Commercial plaster bandage over polystyrene substrate:  Polystyrene carved to shape then plaster bandage soaked and laid over the landform.  Summer conditions, around 30C but relatively humid (not "tropical" but still "close")  3 days down the line and still not properly hard.

Commercial plaster bandage laid over chicken netting:
  Virtually identical climatic conditions to the above - Dry in around 30 minutes, hard in about an hour.   My future choice.

I'm only speaking from my own experiences but my assumption is that, because the foams are watertight, all drying has to take place via the open (top) surface of the bandage.  Maybe I soaked it too long, maybe I used too much water, maybe the atmosphere was too humid / dry / hot / cold but whatever, with the exception of the expanding foam which I did last year, the other two were done under the identical conditions and the chicken wire was so far ahead that I'll leave the polystyrene to those who use it for it's correct function.  It will also be a mighty relief not to have to cope with the mess !!!  I'm referring to the white expanded polystyrene which leaves all those statically charged bubbles everywhere - not "styrofoam" the "crunchie" cored extruded foam board which is both harder and leaves very little mess after cutting.

To answer your question Jeff - yes it does dry over polystyrene but took forever.  My personal advice would be to go for an alternative.  Others clearly have different experiences - I have no idea why that is but that's life for you !!  There's never a right way nor a wrong way, there's just "your" way. :cheers

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I've used it over polystyrene on my layout and it dried properly within about 36 hours. Mind you, this was in a conservatory in early summer.

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I was really asking about the "Gyproc" product when I asked my two questions - wil it dry quickly and does it have a good "shelf life".

If those are positive answers, I'll use expanded poly and paint on gyproc after forming with a hot wire cutter.

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I have used a great deal of poly, Jeff and always finish off with plaster of some sort. I use whatever I have to hand - plaster bandage, Mod-Roc, Plaster of Paris, Woodland Scenics Hydrocal (which I think is a Gypsum product) - and they all set pretty quickly - couple of hours at the most - and in many cases, I have had them knocking around for well over a year.

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Petermac wrote:   I'm going to experiment with other grades of plaster to see if I can find one that gives me enough time to work with it before it sets hard. 
G'day Peter, I have been told by an old timer [ lol] that if you mix in 1/2 teaspoon of Baking Powder to each 1/2cup of plaster & 1/2cup of water, it will extend drying time by 20 - 45 minutes. Jeff.
ps. I haven't tried it yet.

Last edited on Fri May 16th, 2014 06:51 am by jeffjgale

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Hi,

I have just lately bought some plaster bandage and one thing that I'm sure I read was that you can alter / accelerate the drying time by adjusting the temperature of the water that it is soaked in. If you want it to dry quicker, you use hotter water. It's all down to the chemical process apparently.

Worth a bash though I'm not ready to use mine as yet.

Cheers

Toto

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Even using watery PVA helps to slow the setting time down.

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Just my opinion for what it is worth!
I have been using plaster cloth and Mod-Roc on polystyrene, chicken wire and all the other stuff that I could get out of skips etc!
The only difference being that I do not drench the cloth in water by dipping but merely spray it with a very cheap sprayer filled with rain water.
Even in the depths of this wet winter it goes off after a couple of days and is still as hard as a rock!
Regards Peter.

Last edited on Fri May 16th, 2014 11:39 am by petercharlesfagg

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Hi Peter,

I have to ask - why? High density foam board (blue, pink or green, not the fluffy white stuff) takes paint and ground cover quite nicely. Latex-based construction adhesives (Liquid Nails or similar) if you want to glue rocks, etc. Cut it to shape with a hot-wire (not the bread knife or Surform), light sand with 800 paper (outside, otherwise you'll never hear the last of it), that's all that is required. Plus it's adding weight, the whole purpose of using foam board.

It does sound to me that the plaster cloth has passed its due date. Once opened it has to be used up rapidly, as it sucks moisture out of the atmosphere. Technically it's hygroscopic, and once sufficiently hydrated to gypsum will never set. If it doesn't heat-up when moistened and applied it's gone off. Store in a moisture-proof container. If you must use it roughing up the surface of the foam board helps, as the flat sides are impervious to water or air.

Nigel

Petermac
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In my experience Nigel - and I have tried both "Styrofoam" (the Dow Chemicals version of extruded foam board) and expanded polystyrene (the fluffy stuff you refer to) - incidentally, completely different beasts - but I would always go for the "chicken" mesh option - or any smallish mesh, whatever it's original intended use or whatever it's made from - provided it can support it's own weight plus a little more whilst the surface coating is drying.

It's infinitely easier to shape into land forms than any "flat" board and can be either wedged, pinned, stapled, taped, screwed or nailed to your baseboard frames.  You can "kink" it to make sharp hillside ridges where water has run off, you can curve it to make gentle moorland, you can bend it into steep valleys  - in fact, you can very easily shape it into virtually any form you are ever likely to see anywhere on the globe (or beyond ......:roll:)  That is just not possible with board materials although I agree that the broken edges make fantastic cliff (rock) faces and strata forms.

Board material does have a place in scenic modelling but, IMHO,  it's a very poor relation to small mesh wire.


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Hi Peter,

Styrofoam is high density, closed cell polystyrene, the light, fluffy stuff is open cell, low density. "Styrofoam" cups are a different beasty.

With the exception of rocks, cliffs, etc., I don't use plaster at all. When I started modeling I tried plaster cloth over chicken wire, cardboard, balsa and thin plywood formers stuffed with newspapers, and of course HD expanded polystyrene, for terrain modeling, with and without a skim of plaster. If I have to the material of choice is open cell foam used for model airplane construction -  rigid, light, takes CAA (which the others don't), and comes in a range of thicknesses (0.5 cm up).

Most railways try to avoid gradients, for modeling in OO a 4 x 2 baseboard comes out to around 100 yards x 50 yards (or 100 meters x 50 meters), not really much real estate for anything but the start of a decent hill. Even a small tunnel (say 100 yards) is a 4-foot long hill. Modeling ravines, river gorges, etc. is probably best dealt with by dropping the baseboard, something I'm doing with my HO layout.

Exceptions of course - the station at Ventnor (Isle of Wight) would be one (see below). Vertical cliffs on 3 sides and a tunnel at the station throat as well.




(BTW, all I did for this was to copy from the source and then paste, thanks to Wikipedia. Easiest way to post a picture).

Having tried hills, vales, a tippler bank with a 1:20 gradient, and an open-caste mine or 2, I try and keep the terrain as flat as possible, as I have operation and viewing from both sides (no scenic board), and even a skim of plaster makes a big difference re weight. I'm partial to a raised bank along the sides, as it makes it a bit more difficult for the stock to leave the track and go flying. Foam is ideal for this.

Nigel

Nigel

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Hi Peter,

I find that "Plaster of Paris' or general 'Builders Plaster' for patching up, works well. I cut up small (3" x 3") pieces of Chux clothe and dip into the plaster mix, coat all clothe both sides, then lay over the styrofoam. Even on a cool day, it will takes a few hours to cure properly. I do always leave it for 24 hours before painting another coat over the top to hide the patchwork of the clothe. 

I have read that you have purchased your plaster, but I found that a small bag (3KG) of 'Plaster of Paris' wasn't that much cheaper than a 15kg bag of Builders Plaster (down under that is)... Head straight to the builders section of your hardware store. Seriously though, 'Plaster of Paris' can't be that hard to find in France, can it...?? :mutley:mutley

Question, why is it that people in the northern part of the world don't seem to like driving for an hour ?? :hmm ie, "the French arm of B & Q is called Castorama and the nearest to me is an hour away !!!!" ;-);-)

Cheers, Gary.


 

 

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Gary wrote:
Question, why is it that people in the northern part of the world don't seem to like driving for an hour ?? :hmm ie, "the French arm of B & Q is called Castorama and the nearest to me is an hour away !!!!" ;-);-)

Cheers, Gary.


 

 


Yes Gary  , one of those weird things living up north of the equator.

I guess on average I have 6 operate sessions a month to go to, each a half hour 35-40 km drive  to get there so one hour plus 70-80 kms a night

and then once a month, a 2.5 hour drive there & back for another modeller & his layout.

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I'm sure the "driving" thing is more to do with Britain than with the "Northern hemisphere".

Living in Britain, one gets used to having a town every few miles.  We lived in the North East and within an hours drive, we had a huge choice of "shopping" towns and our nearest "decent" town with an excellent range of shops was about 15 minutes away.

Rural France simply isn't like that and the "Shopping experience" here is very different from UK - probably the thing we Ex-Pats miss the most about "Blighty".

I suppose also, motoring, even here in France, isn't cheap anymore and, unlike in UK, we pay to use the motorways.  A trip from here to Bordeaux - 70 miles each way - will cost around £8 in motorway tolls and you have to time it right because most shops close from 12 noon until 2pm.

I ought to add that, having driven to Bordeaux, the chances of actually finding what you need are in the lap of the Gods - the French are certainly NOT a nation of shopkeepers .............  Something akin to a Bunnings would be like arriving in heaven ..........:roll::roll:

It's far, far easier to use your motoring costs to pay the Postman and order online - you know you'll get it, it will probably be cheaper and, instead of flogging up the motorway, you can sit by the pool and "do your bit" for the French winegrowers until Postie delivers your package............. :cheers

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You're right there Peter, it's the Brits that don't like the long distant (??) driving... Then again, my nephew (Australian born) lives in London, and he hates to drive to his mother in laws some 1 1/2 - 2hrs away, only because of the 'distance', ofcourse...! :mutley:mutley

Cheers, Gary.

Last edited on Sat May 17th, 2014 09:48 am by Gary

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Gary wrote:  only because of the 'distance', of course...

We all believe you %101 Gary.  wink  wink lol, Jeff


                 

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