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The following questions are frequently asked our Staff. if you have any additional questions not posed here, please don't hesitate to contact us.
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What are the primary types of tools used in sculpting?

While the thumb and fingers are the used as modeling implements, additional tools are often required. These modeling tools come in a variety of styles, shapes and sizes. Their primary functions include cutting, scraping, and shaping modeling material in a specific way to create a desired effect or look. Wire end tools are used for cutting and scraping; those made of solid plastic or wood are mainly designed for shaping and detail work.

How clean do I have to keep my tools?

It is best not to leave tools coated with the working medium, such as plastilina, moist clay and plaster. Keep them clean and dry when not in use, and they will last a lifetime, although normal wear may reduce them in size.

What about sharpening my tools - can I do this myself?

Most wire end tools are not sharpened unless you are a professional sculptor and have the means to do so. Steel tools, however, can easily be sharpened with a bench stone much like sharpening a carving knife for steak, since the steel is high carbon and tempered. There are different shapes and sizes of sharpening stones available to handle any sharpening necessary.

How precise will a proportional caliper be?

A proportional caliper will measure up to five times a given increment but it is not a high tech tool or a precise device for exacting minute detail. Use it to give approximate measurements for geometrical proportions.

What is an armature?

An armature is an internal support structure or device used to hold the heavy weight of moist clay, plastilina, and other sculpting material that will not support itself. This support structure is usually used when modeling figures and heads over 5 pounds in weight. The armature is much like the human body where the bone structure acts as the armature for the muscle and skin tissue that surrounds it. The most widely used material to make armatures is aluminum wire. Every armature will have a waterproof base board which holds the guts of the structure.

There are three basic types: the Head and Head-Bust; Figure; and Animal (horse). These three are the principal shapes used in the sculpture field.

Can an armature be reused?

Yes. Both the armature and the sculpting medium used on it can be reused, unless the medium is straight plaster. Do not expect to save the sculpted piece though; it will be destroyed in the mold making process in all but a few cases. To remove a water-base clay model from a standard armature, you need to follow several steps: wait until the clay is leather-hard, make cuts along key separating areas, and peel the model from the armature and repair the incision cuts.

If armature wire breaks when adjusting or moving it, can it be repaired?

Not really. Armature wire or aluminum (almaloy) wire is a pliable metal wire and as with anything pliable, over time it will break. Armature wire will hold up for years if not overly flexed.

Does armature wire (aluminum wire) come in larger rolls than the coils normally sold?

Yes, this wire is made at a mill that produces this material to exacting standards. Unfortunately the bulk rolls weigh between 80 and 100 pounds each and the weight of each roll is not consistent. The bulk rolls are therefore not available for sale to the average consumer since the cost to determine the true length is prohibitive. Most consumers do not need the larger rolls of material, in any case.

What modeling stand is better, wood or metal?

It is primarily personal preference. Some sculptors prefer wood stands because they like the feel of wood better. However, if recommending a stand to an eighth grade classroom teacher, the metal stand might be considered, solely for its durability.

Why three leg and four leg stands; what is the difference?

The three leg stand is designed for uneven floors such as those found in the old loft studios in New York City and in Italy. The four leg stands are designed for even set floors where balance is not a problem. Both types hold weight equally well.

What do I do when I lose the holding pin?

You can buy a heavy gauge nail and use that or contact your supplier and have another sent, usually at little or no cost.

How do the lock casters work and will they hold?

The casters lock and unlock with a flipping device in the caster, much like the locks on your home windows. When the stand has been rolled to the desired location, simply set each of the locks on all the wheels. Lock them all for best results. They hold pretty well but remember that if a great weight has been placed on top of the stand and if pushed just so, the stand may well tip over. Be careful.