Monday, November 12, 2007

Stone Lemon IV – Return to the Grind

We (maestro and I) dismantled the structure that held the pieces together in back and buffed (with a circular grinding device…don’t know what the name is) the back so all the pieces were at the same level. (The front is flat but the back can be different levels because not all stones are the same thickness.) After cleaning out the grooves, we mixed up a batch of something sticky (Tenax) and stuck the back to a piece of slate. After that cured (about an hour) we uncovered the front part, drew lines at right angles (hopefully) to cut off the excess. We cut it and called it a day.

I found out a little bit more about the glue (colla) that comes in solid blocks and that you melt with a hot rod to create a liquid which hardens again and is used to temporarily hold pieces of stone together. They call it “api” for short. Anyways, it is really composed of two ingredients that are cooked together:

cera d’api – beeswax, like this
pece greca – pitch from pine trees, a distillation of turpentine, like this

The products from Tenax we used are a glue, catalyst, and colorant – all were nasty smelling. We used the mixture to stick the assembled stones to a piece of slate which serves as the backing to the finished master work.

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