Monday, July 04, 2011

Dragon Repair and Apoxie (Epoxy) Clay

All these things you learn about making jewelry - ever find that you end up using them in "real life?" Which is not to say that making jewelry isn't "real" - but I mean out there in the practical, everyday, mundane, workaday world.

I have a couple of garden statues of dragons – they weren’t expensive – but I’m very fond of them. And sadly, this spring, I idiotically placed one in a position where it was vulnerable to being knocked down – and so, of course – it was. The puppy jumped over it, clipped, and sent it spinning off the wall and crashing onto the flagstone pool deck – where it didn’t just break – it blew up. The jaw cracked off and went in the pool – a horn and an ear sailed off into the grass, toes came off – a big hole in his chest – St. George could not have done a more thorough job.

Here is a photo of him from last year – in a safer place – well away from the jump prone corner! Isn't he handsome?

And here he is - on my workbench - with his chest broken open, foot torn off, ... .

First - I tackled the obvious and easy pieces with glue. I used a 5 min epoxy, so that I could hold it in place while it set up. That worked well for the jaw and horns - but you can see - I started to get into trouble in the chest area - with all the multiple pieces and the way each new piece was dependent on the last being in the right place. It started to get a bit messy.

So - I thought to myself - what about the epoxy clay? So I mixed up a batch of the Apoxie - choosing the brown as the closest colour match. I built up the missing pieces - here - you can see I performed dragon dentistry and built him a whole new tooth!

I reattached the toes and built the top of the foot back up, and filled in the missing pieces in the chest cavity. I textured the clay with a paring knife, and let it set up.

I discovered that large areas - the clay sagged before it cured, and dished in, creating a significant depression. This photo shows this effect on the side of the chest cavity - but interestingly enough - there was a large hole on the bottom as well - which cured flat and downward, so you would think that the effect of gravity would have prevented this - but it also shrank inwards.
Much as I liked the way I had reproduced the texture of the scales, I decided to re-fill this area and do it again. It came out perfectly the second time - as there was no way for the clay to shrink away - now it had a backing.

At this point - I had a fairly successful repair. He was intact again - you can see a spot on the side of his jaw where I filled in the seam from the repair to his jaw - filled it in with the epoxy clay. A few chips and dings were still visible.
And he had some colour irregularities. White spots where there were chips, brown epoxy clay vs the original brick colour of the dragon.

So - tune in next week for the Colour makeover for the dragon!


The BeadFX Buyer said...

For filling up the big hole in the chest cavity, I think I would have tried the old plasterer's trick. Cut a piece of fly screening a bit bigger than the hole, stuff it into the hole with bit of string tied to it. Fill the hole with the Apoxie and after it has dried, cut the string off, flush to the body.

Gail DB said...

Wow, what determination! Nice job DJ! That epoxy clay is all kinds of handy to have around... have to get me some.