What's all this, then?

Each Halloween season, when the Greenwood Reaper inhabits my yard, people ask me “How did you make it?” and “What is it made from?”.

Since I’m making a bigger and better reaper I figured I’d make this blog to answer those questions. This is also a way for interested parties to ask questions and see the progress of the project.

The only regular time I spend building is on the week-ends, so it’s likely posts will appear early in the week.

The posts appear with the newest on top, so if you're new to the sight scroll to the bottom to read the beginning.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Fiberglass

When I made the skull for the first reaper I used basically the same foam method as described below and when I was done I just painted it with some outdoor paint. This worked well enough, but over the years of Seattle rain and being banged the basement...
Death started to look like Death-warmed-over.
I decided that the new reaper was going to need something a little more resilient.

I have tried to use fiberglass in the past and learned a lot.

~ The first lesson I learned was: Do not mix all of the resin at once.

~ The second lesson: If you’re going to be dumb enough to mix all of the resin at once, cut the fiber into strips beforehand.

~ The third lesson: Things get top-heavy when fiberglassing from top to bottom.

~ The fourth lesson: Spherical items that are top-heavy tend to roll away unexpectedly.

Needless to say, that project did not go well.

This time was different. Not only did I do some more reading on fiberglass technique and prepare the materials in advance,
...but I did a test patch on a hidden part of the skull and I enlisted help.

The second set of hands ended up being invaluable.

With Connie wielding the paintbrush and resin
and me applying the fiber things went pretty smoothly.
The method was simple:
Mix the resin,
slather on a base coat (about as big as a small pizza),
lay on some fiber (smaller than the pizza)
and daub more resin over it.

Things got a little tricky when rounding edges and when we needed to get into tight spaces, but all in all I was pretty happy with the results.

The fumes: I’ve worked with plenty of stinky chemicals… epoxy, autobody filler, lacquers, thinners, solvents and of course spray-paint, but nothing was as pervasive as fiberglass resin. I not only had adequate ventilation, I had good ventilation
and the vapors still invaded the house and remained for days.

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