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Positive carving, artificial stone walls, group buy for instructional dvds  RSS feed

 
Remi Gall
Posts: 44
Location: Romania
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I would like to buy this amazing instructional dvd set :
Positive Carving
http://www.verticalartisans.com/courses/gu...-mike-vernelson
It's a very detailed video tutorial on carving ordinary mortar into stunning rock walls.
Here are a few pics :





a few videos

The set costs $ 595 but i only have 100$, would another 5 people like to join in and buy this set together ?
 
Jay C. White Cloud
Posts: 2413
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Hello Remi,

First, let me assure you there is no need to spend that kind of money to learn what these people are doing (nor should you have to, or want to in my view..but I own that is my personal subjective view.)

Other than the faux disguise of this material looking like certain types of stone...there is absolutely nothing either natural or sustainable about this material form. It is an amalgamation of OPC concretes, synthetic dyes, re-bar, and other heavenly industrialized materials. I can go further and suggest that is is not only used predominantly among the "rich and famous" types to emulate what nature does so much better, and is neither safe or enduring in most applications...because of what it is made out of. Most Museums, Zoos, and Aquariums have even abandon such materials as they leak toxins and alkalinity into the enclosures and water. They further expose the animals and plants to noxious materials as these materials decompose into harmful elements from exposure to sun, and biological degradation.

Organizations like the AZA which I was the member of for years, no longer use these materials and have moved to either strictly natural materials (though costly and/or much heavier) or supper high tech polymers of many type as they do not react to biological acids and other actions as much as OPC, re-bar, and related methods as Vertical Artisans tend to focus on.

If you are really interested in pursuing "fake stone" and related systems as an "artistic endeavour" (it is not natural building nor are all the methods "non toxic" or environmentally safe) I would be glad to support your investigation and answer any query you have of these many methods that I am able. Most of what is in these videos that are being sold are already online in one form or another for free in the following collection of web sites...The rest can be extrapolated from others.

Vertical Artisans

Artificial Stone

I have worked with Zoopoxy and the folks at Polygem for over 25 years. If truly interested in the art of faux stone, wood, and these methods, they are where I would suggest starting. There focus is in the art and science of this craft, not in just "fake rock."

I wish you all the luck, and look forward to answering any questions I am able to...

Regards,

j
 
Remi Gall
Posts: 44
Location: Romania
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Hi Jay, thank you for your detailed reply.

Could you elaborate on the toxins that leach in time from the fake rocks ? Cause i plan to make these walls inside a greenhouse with lots of plants.
I did start to make a few test models and i use a few chemicals besides cement, like synthetic resins for adhesion, a dust like release agent for the molds (maybe it's just talcum powder ?) and plasticizer for the mortar.
But these are just a few chemicals that all builders use when constructing a house or just laying down tiles in a bathroom.

Most of what is in these videos you cant find anywhere online since they explain every detail and little secrets of this artwork.
I've watched every video on youtube, some many times over and i still dont know many things about this line of work.

You linked to Zoopoxy, but they use way more chemicals then Vertical artisans, like polyurethane and polystyrene which are known carcinogens.
Concrete is way more natural then the plastic materials most eco friendly people use.
Sure the production of it has a big carbon footprint but that doesn't mean we should all build our houses out of styrofoam.

I am neither rich nor famous but i think these kinds of things are works of art that everyone should enjoy in their backyard. And if you like DIY like me they shouldn't cost to much.

Best regards,
Remi
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hello Remi,

I will do my best in this post to answer your questions the best I am able. I actually only read a few questions and most of it seems like you have made up your mind about doing this a certain way, so I don't want to block your creativity or ideas of how you think you should do something...

This being a natural building forum within a permaculture site, I am reluctant to go into great detail on the means, methods and material modalities of this subject here, no more than I would promote pesticides, pressure treatment lumber, or industrial farming practices. I would be glad to have you contact me at my email address provided below anytime or on LinkedIn as the subject of "artificial stone, wood, or masonry" is a huge one in parts of my professional work, that encompasses everything from zoo, aquarium/vivarium and pool enclosures and to greenhouses/aquaponics I have worked on, to climbing walls and historic conservation material application.

Could you elaborate on the toxins that leach in time from the fake rocks ? Cause i plan to make these walls inside a greenhouse with lots of plants.


Fake rock is almost always around water...water is probably one of the most common and hard working solvents in the world. Whatever a rock is made of (natural or otherwise) needs to be inert in format as much as possible. Limestone, which is basically calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in its untouched form, is one of the most reactive stone species there is around water...OPC is a very weak and poorly fashioned form of limestone. Many of the methods, such as the types based on OPC and re-bar as Vertical Artisans (et al) practice do not have the long term durability of withstanding this most common of solvents. Add to this uric acids, tannic acids, and other biologically based enzymatic solutions and you get a cocktail that can melt both steel and stone very effectively.

Next is the issue of toxins and environmental impact. Making artificial stone is a practice that will expose the facilitator to many different chemicals, some harmless for the most part, other not at all. Personal risk (bad working habits and carelessness) are but one issue. The industry behind OPC is one of the largest polluters on the planet and anything I can do to prevent and avoid using those materials I will do, as compared to other industries...such as polymer sciences only pale in level of environmental degradation and human damage.

I did start to make a few test models and i use a few chemicals besides cement, like synthetic resins for adhesion, a dust like release agent for the molds (maybe it's just talcum powder ?) and plasticizer for the mortar. But these are just a few chemicals that all builders use when constructing a house or just laying down tiles in a bathroom.


And this is not a topic for a natural building forum even a little bit in my view, so if we are to go into great detail of how to mix different chemicals safely, or the industry pros and cons of method, I would feel better doing that in a more "industrial forum" dedicated to crafting artificial stone. I don't promote the chemicals found in the average house, and I assure you there isn't just a few of them, and many are way more toxic in all there different states of use than are most epoxies and even many of the polystyrene if worked with properly, and I would add that both the later materials are for all practical matters, inert when cured. There inert nature is both pro and con. They do not react to water or other biological solvents, but also last a very long time in nature, so there use must be very restricted to specific targeted needs and applications because of this durability.

Most of what is in these videos you cant find anywhere online since they explain every detail and little secrets of this artwork. I've watched every video on you-tube, some many times over and i still dont know many things about this line of work.


Well, I will leave that as a subjective view. I teach this subject and have read most of the books on it so whether on line or in text, the information is out there and 98% doesn't cost more than going to a good library in a major city and/or corresponding with the Artisans that do this work, which is why I made the offer to help with...

I would also add that just watching videos (assuming they are even good ones) is actually the least productive of methods sometimes, compared to corresponding with folks that do the work (like at Polygem, Zoos/Aquarium enclousure designers, etc) and/or reading books on the subject while experimenting with the methods. Videos are great...when they are great videos...most are not.

You linked to Zoopoxy, but they use way more chemicals then Vertical artisans, like polyurethane and polystyrene which are known carcinogens.


More... ...I believe that is perhaps subjective if taking the entirety of both industries. I would agree that one employs more complex formulations than the other, yet as for "carbon foot print" and industry impact to the environment, I know which one does more damage.

The end product is the goal here more than anything and OPC/re-bar and related materials in one cannot be safely used in zoos any more, as they moved away from this practice a long time ago for many of there applications, or they encapsulated the OPC/stainless steel armatures in the resins to "try" and protect it from damage and breakdown. Now most forgo the OPC and just use the polymers alone, as these are completely nontoxic and inert when cured, unlike OPC and related materials which stay very reactive until they erode completely.

Concrete is way more natural then the plastic materials most eco friendly people use. Sure the production of it has a big carbon footprint but that doesn't mean we should all build our houses out of styrofoam. I am neither rich nor famous but i think these kinds of things are works of art that everyone should enjoy in their backyard. And if you like DIY like me they shouldn't cost to much.


I will leave that as a "subjective view," as in my experience over 40 plus years of working in these different industries I find that to be completely inaccurate, or at minimum, debatable academically on many levels.

Simply put I know folks that have died working with OPC materials, I have seen streams poisoned directly by these OPC productions plants scattered around the country and globe, but have never seen a single death or injury in anyone that I know that works in polymer sciences and arts...unless they work in the modern boat/car body industry that has a horrid reputation for unsafe practices with isomers and related highly toxic compounds related to the more inert and much safer polymers. Whether OPC or Chemicals...both are equally toxic on some levels, yet the industry for one is poorly regulated and often overlooked or "considered" to be harmless...

So by all means do enjoy this art form (safely!!) and consciously both for yourself and the environment in the back yard and the planet...Feel free to email me should you want more detail on this industry...

Regards,

j
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6795
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Jay has done the heavy lifting here, so I'll be lazy and just give my casual observation of the many jobs I have seen done with fakey stone. After a decade, most look like absolute shit. Rebar rusts, whitish minerals leach to the surface and it looks even more fake. Most of these projects become a crumbling edifice to waste and their creators fair game for mockery. Some of the most ill conceived landscapes around, are built on a foundation of crumbling ticky tacky toxic garbage. This island is mostly stone. It amazes me that a market exists for expensive imitation of such a basic and durable material.

I had the pleasure of removing a blight from the city of Duncan, about 15 years ago. The glass castle, was a crumbling stack of bottles, failing mortar and shattered dreams. The house rotted, the family split and the tourists didn't arrive.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Excellent post Dale...

I am always afraid now of sounding too harsh, yet I am really glad someone was...It reminds me of two "crimes" within some industries I work..."Disneyfication" and "Facadism." Worth looking at, knowing and most importantly!! Avoiding!!

Thanks for adding your voice to this...

Regards,

j
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I demolished a three storey brick building in downtown Victoria. Only the front facade was kept. Considerable expense was incurred both in preservation and in incorporating the facade into the new structure. Cranes had to deliver materials up and over the fragile obstacle. An enormous waste.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hello Dale,

Facadism is a larger part of this conversation and "fake rock" is a very insidious form of it. In some application, imitation stone makes "some" logical sense (e.g. aquariums, zoos, museums, etc) in the rest it is not a good practice at all.

Your example is a perfect (and all to common) sad example of what alleged "experts" in Historic restoration recommend. It is not only considered a criminal act in some areas of Europe and strictly band, it is seldom actually a logistical or logical choice. Often it cost way more than just restoring the structure with periods specific means, methods and materials...THEN...updating and augmenting with secondary (and reversible) modern augmentations. We have some serious issues in this country with what IS and WHAT ISN'T "historic conservation, restoration, reconstruction." I contribute a lot of this "normative culture" and poor practices to shows like "This Old House" which actually had very little to do with restoration in the slightest and more to do with "historic architecture butchery," as I have hear/read some call it. If someone is a contractor that works often in old buildings that is fine...It doesn't make them a "restoration specialist," which many claim to be. Thanks for sharing the story...It is too true...and too common!!

Regards,

j
 
John Barr
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Jay,

I am very interested in this subject of creating fake rock, walls, etc., and have been looking for information, mostly, about how toxic these materials are or not, and durability. Yes, they look great wen just finished, but as Dale noted, they just seem to fall apart after some time.

If there are alternatives (inert materials that do not decompose, etc.,) I would like to find the best sources to learn about them and would very much appreciate it of you could point me in the right direction.

If you would rather discuss it privately via email, please feel free to email me (I tried looking up your profile but there is no way to send a private message it seems.)

Thank you in advance for any possible help.

jb
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1682
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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We visited Dewstone Gardens in south Wales recently, which has a wonderful set of grottos, caves and tunnels constructed using these techniques.

magine discovering a lost garden with tunnels and underground grottoes buried under thousands of tonnes of soil for over 50 years. That’s what happened at Dewstow gardens. Built around 1895 the gardens were buried just after World War Two and rediscovered in 2000.
The gardens contain many ponds and rills but interestingly a labyrinth of underground grottoes, tunnels and sunken ferneries.

The rock gardens are made up of a mixture of real stone and faced stone using various types of Pulhamite.


Dewstone Gardens
 
nelson lasaosa
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Hi guys, I´m new to this forum, which seems interesting and varied in contents. Remy, the proposal that you´ve made here, I had also made some time back at that site: Vertical Artisans. You could look into that in the forementioned site forum and see what I will briefly explain here. No way, sums up the answer I  got from the site owner, stating author rights, copy rights and whathave you. Okay, one got to respect the owners rules, else leave ...... In my case, my currency exchange compared to US dollars deems prohibitive to buy their video packages. So if I remember well, I even suggested some form of spliting packages into a few parts, each one corresponding to a payment, and so on. No way Jose. So I had to go on as I have started the business of cement work:  on my own and working from scratch without much help , other than my searching  and hard work would provide me. Guess, like the song goes:  Oh baby, baby its a wild world, it´s hard to get buy just upon a smile.... LOL  Provided the time, I´m willing to share tricks here so guys starting may get a little help. WHY NOT, we don´t have to be selfish , do we?
Enough for sharing bills. LOL In regards to contaminants and other downsides of using components employed in carving and constructing concrete cascades and a whole array of elements, some of the points the guys above made are valid, but not all. Later on I will share some of my work. Nonetheless, I can tell you that for instance, a cascade can have a sound structure and be made of concrete without being contaminant as the guys state . Simply, if anybody is so concerned about using products unfriendly to the environment, just use steel rebar, wire to tye, cement, sand, gravel and water.
Don´t get me wrong as I am too for a cleaner, and better world. Guess one has to be realistic and make use of that part of technology which can be usefull but not harmful to living creatures or environment
 
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