View Full Version : Hello WetCanvas, I'd like to introduce you to Skratch

01-16-2013, 01:53 PM
Skratch is a new sculpting medium designed for working large. We call it an 'architectural sculpting medium' because of both it's own strength and also for it's easy application in large scale projects.

Skratch is made from 'green' products, it is a blend of recycled fiber and mineral based binders. It's safe on the hands and skin, doesn't off gas anything or even have much of a smell at all. It's earthy and simple in composition.

It is very easy to learn and use, find out more about Skratch here: http://skratchworks.com/about

I have used Skratch to sculpt on cars, walls and ceilings, built archways and drop soffits, and lots of other architectural ornamentation with it. Sculptures, 3d panels and murals, signs and other commercial projects, moldings and interiors and facades and furniture and much more.

Sculpting with and developing Skratch has been my passion and focus for over ten years and I have had a lot of fun along the path to finally being able to introduce Skratch to you here and now.

You can click the link in my signature to check out my projects made from Skratch on facebook, or visit http://skratchworks.com/gallery

There are a growing number of people putting up pics of the projects they have been making from Skratch, and some videos too, on our facebook page. We also have tutorials and other articles on Skratchworks.com that you can check out to get more information about Skratch.

I will be around these forums here at WetCanvas often to answer questions or chat about sculpting, art, and, of course, making things from Skratch.

01-17-2013, 11:41 AM
I've been intrigued by your material ever since you first posted on WC. Most of the things you show in your gallery have "mass" - no thin parts. I sculpt horses - would Skratch work for a sculpture of a standing/rearing/jumping (whatever) horse built on an armature? The foundry cuts the originals in pieces in order to make the molds - how hard is Skratch to cut? Or would I be better off only using it for reliefs?

01-17-2013, 12:22 PM
I've taken a look at your online portfolio in the past, too. Love what you have going on! Some of those large equine statues look like they must be over 8 feet tall or more. Very impressive!
Skratch works great in combination with a good solid armature. When dry Skratch can be cut, it's a little tougher on saw blades than wood because of the limestone but it can be cut into easily. It typically won't splinter or shatter even with high powered equipment, which is mostly due to the fibers in the material keeping things together. So, I think it might work pretty good for you, after seeing some of your large projects.
And if you want to try something really large, let me know because we are working on some better pricing for really big orders and I would love to see what you could do with Skratch on a large scale. :)

01-17-2013, 12:45 PM
That big horse is 8' tall x 9'4" long and weighs 2000 lbs - he's bronze. I was thinking more of the maquette size pieces I make most of the time, or possibly reliefs. If I do a relief with horses jumping out of the wall (for instance), would their thin legs hold up? (They'd have wire inside them). Does Skratch need something to "bite into" so I'd need to wrap the wires I use for armature in a second wire for the Skratch to stick to (which I do for plastilene too)?

I will probably try some smaller projects in Skratch before considering something large, but I'm intrigued. I don't usually do one of a kind pieces - I do editions instead. Have you ever tried making molds of your work to cast copies? Is Skratch porous so it would need a coating before it was cast? I read that you use thin . . . um, I've forgotten. Bonding compound?? (this stuff is so far out of my knowledge base, I can't think of what that stuff is called!) Anyway - that you use that stuff to smooth it out so the fibers blend back in and you get a smooth surface. Does that seal it so it isn't porous (so rubber wouldn't be caught in the pores, thus tearing up the mold)?

01-17-2013, 01:28 PM
Thin parts can be a little tricky, but down to about 1/4 inch diameter you will find that Skratch has some great strength. One thing that I have been doing that seems to help out a lot is adding in a fiber mesh - like garden burlap, or nylon mesh for smaller work. Adding mesh will improve the durability a great deal. It's a lot like adding rebar to concrete.

I have tried making molds. It is easy if you seal it up with something first. I found that a wood sealer was a good way to seal the surface before trying the mold making. The surface is a little porous, although it may not look like it is. I have tried going without the sealer with mixed results. It was a matter of the amount of detail - the more details, the more likely you will need a sealer.

The bonding compound is actually just Joint Compound for drywall. :) Look for that at your local hardware store. Skratch is very compatible with drywall products because many of the minerals are the same, that's why I have used it on walls with ease. It's bonds with regular drywall and joint compound very well.

Sometimes I put a thin layer of joint compound on wires or smooth surfaces to give the surface some additional texture for Skratch to grab onto.

I often wrap wires with a little bit of masking tape. It works great for making thin fins and other small parts - then a thin amount of joint compound over the tape to create a better bonding surface and give the tape a little stiffness.

01-17-2013, 04:20 PM
I need to make a small pair of wings for a Pegasus and I have not managed to make an armature that would work - I have a lot of discarded wing attempts littering my studio. Wire and masking tape might make a decent armature for wings, don't you think? I've used joint compound - we call it "spackling" - dunno if that's a Southern term or what. (We're originally from the South and some of our expressions are different than those here in Ohio or elsewhere.) I don't have any trouble with joint compound when it comes to patching drywall - I find it quite easy to use. I'm intrigued . . . do you have any "in progress" pics of masking tape wrapped armature wire so I can see how you'd do it? IOW, do you wrap the wire completely and tightly, or do you let bits stick out or what?

01-17-2013, 04:59 PM
I am going to have to dig deep to see if I can find any in progress pics, I am not the best at remembering to photograph my work!

Sounds like wire and tape would work great for what you are doing, Pegasus wings sounds like a fun project! You might also try some type of mesh, I have been seeing some really good results using a mesh and have been favoring that over anything else - a little tape to attach it to the wire but then the mesh area allows Skratch to bond all the way through and the resulting piece is a lot stronger. I am going to look into coming up with a demonstration of this for you, hopefully soon!

Sometimes I have seen "lightweight spackling" which is NOT what you want. Try searching for "Sheetrock All Purpose Joint Compound", I buy it in 50lb. boxes, they have green print and some red decoration whenever I have seen it in the store. They do make smaller buckets of it, and you get the nice little bucket which can be handy, but the best value is buying by the box - in my area it's less than $9.00 for a box. It's mud, it feels like mud and has a grittiness to it that the 'lightweight spackling' I have seen doesn't have.

Usually with the wire and tape I am making a plane or a 'fin' type of a shape so I use the wire to create a boundary or outline for the shape and then fill in the void with the tape ( or mesh ). That gives me a plane that I can bend and shape into the basic form that I am going for. Once I am satisfied with the rough shape, I apply a thin layer of joint compound to the surface of the tape with my fingers or a bristle brush. While it is still wet I can still shape it and play around with the form. I let the joint compound dry and it becomes a little brittle and requires some care to not bust the joint compound off, however it makes a great surface for Skratch to lock onto. After I add the Skratch and it is set up I don't have to worry about the brittleness anymore, Skratch gives it strength and even a little flexibility.

01-17-2013, 09:29 PM
I use aluminum armature wire. What do you use? I appreciate all this information! I'm not at a place where I can start a new project quite yet, but I'm really intrigued by your product. (I still haven't finished moving into my new studio - we've been moving for months and got slowed down by my hubby having surgery on his hand.)

I have a project in mind that I think your product might be right for, but I'll probably make some experimental pieces first (to learn how to use it) before I get "serious" - that way I won't get too frustrated by it not turning out right on the first try, LOL!