Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Putty Sculpting

Turns out that epoxy putty was the old stuff after all. Only on a Monday would I overlook the tubs right out on my workbench to dig up the old ones I had stashed away just in case I ran out, and then not see the new ones still out on my workbench when I was looking around trying to figure out what the problem was. It was a particularly bad Monday.

Armed with the right putty, today went more smoothly. The putty stuck to the wood this time, and not to the knife. Even so, putty sculpting is a skill that one gets rusty at after a while, and it takes a little time to get back up in it. At least it does for me.

"Putty sculpting", by the way, differs from simple puttying in that the latter involves filling holes and other depressions flush with the surrounding area, whereas the former involves building up a missing profile and having to re-establish missing lines.

This is part of a long stretch where the front of the trim has been worn down to a less-obtuse angle. Let's do a little house-reading: if you look at the first course of shingles above the belt course, you'll clearly see a patch where the wood has been worn down. Behind the putty directly below this patch, there is a complex, smoothly-curved profile worn into the trim. This area is six feet or so away from a big pine tree showing the evidence of long-gone limbs that once pointed more or less right at the area in this photograph. It's thus safe to conclude that the wear in this area was caused by the rubbing of tree branches over a great many years, before someone finally trimmed the tree.

That left a great deal of wear in the belt course trim for me to patch. Over a long section, I have to bring the top front edge forward and down by extending the top surface and making the front surface more nearly vertical. When filling in large areas it's often a great help to attach some wood to fill in some of the void and provide a guide to make re-establishing the profile easier. In this particular case, however, the void is too irregular and shallow to make this approach worth the effort, so I'm just winging it freehand.

In such instances—at least with my weak eyesight—it takes at least two applications to build up the putty to the proper dimensions. This first coat I like to make rough, as you see above; this will provide a network of high spots that I can sand back to the proper profile. I can then fill in the gaps in this network, bringing me close to the final shape without having to apply an excess of putty that I would waste in the sanding. This is what I will do tomorrow.

Oh, look! Another bonus wildlife picture!

1 comment:

  1. Waiting for something YUMMY, what's in that epoxy?


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