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My Cat Rupert

August 21:

I'm trying to be smart. I saw something like this in a book. However, the pattern in the book didn't have a tail, or four legs, and it wasn't nearly this big.

What you see are called "clay walls". I was very unclear about where exactly to put them, and I don't have a really clear picture of how this will work. That's a bit unsettling. I have the sensation that I'm about to learn something the hard way (again).

This is an attempt to avoid the misalignment I experienced with the pig wax. 

You can see the little beads of clay I used to support the walls.

BTW.. I worked Sardinia today from the picnic table, there. It turns out that he's a respectable ham, too. Radiotelgraphy guy for the Italian Navy for 32 years, and much more. I'll insert his QSL card here.

The next step is to spray on some no-stick. Otherwise, guess what. (We start over.)

Here's a first coat of rubber. That's as far as I got today. In the morning, I'll mix another batch and thicken it with some special powder. I'll also take a minute and put that box of clay AWAY!!

I had a dream that the rubber never set - that it was old and I should have stirred it first and when I came out to see, it was still dripping and sticky. So here's what the cat looked like at sunup.

Solid as a rubber rock.

This makes me wish I had made the surface of the clay smooth. A polished shiny cat would look cool. Maybe next time.

This is the second coat. I mixed it real think with a special powder. I'm hurrying things. It's normal to use five coats of increasing thickness - I'm going to use only two.

My book says it's possible to stick clay walls to the rubber. I'll tell you, *nothing* sticks to that rubber. I built up a wall of plaster at the ears. I scraped off the slop above his eyes, and then applied Vaseline to the plaster there.

I'm hoping the Vaseline works - I want the plaster to separate at the ears to make a seam. I haven't said so yet, but I'm hoping all the plaster will lift off the rubber in pieces. I'll be surprised if it does, though. I expect it to get hung up on the rough rubber surface. I tried to apply the rubber smoother, but wasn't able to. I probably should have covered it again with a thinner coat. We'll see. Maybe if I pull real hard.

It's getting heavy. Amazing, don't you think, that I never considered how much this would weigh when I made the armature? Next time I'll use 5/16" rod.

Here, you can see that I've removed the clay walls. I'll touch up the underside and apply rubber. This would be the time to take him off and flip him over. But, I didn't. (A mistake.)

Instead of being smart, I applied the rubber without flipping him over. (A mistake.) It was hard to do with a paddle or brush - I ended up using my hand. I was afraid that the rubber would pull away from the clay, but I'll tell you, that rubber is about as sticky and gooey as anything can get. I think it's ok. You can see that I went with a first coat of real thick rubber. I'm in a hurry. Summer's almost over.

Next day, I took the heavy cat off and laid him down. I saw that there were a couple places the rubber didn't cover the clay. I had to mix some more. I made it thinner and tried to smooth the whole thing out. It didn't help much in making it smoother. It took almost 6 hours to cure.

Wax Cat