Return to the Garden Accoutrements Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Artificial rock

Posted by coastal_concepts Vancouver CA (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 24, 05 at 1:44

Hi, I build artificial rock fo a living. If anyone has any questions re rockbuilding, waterfalls, pools/spas I would be happy to answer.
I tried posting some step by step pictures in the hypertufa forum but the free image hosting shut it down because too many people were viewing it so I will try again soon.

Steve

Here is a link that might be useful: sculpted rock fireplace pic


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
fireplace picture

This link will work

Here is a link that might be useful: Sculpted rock fireplace


 o
RE: Artificial rock

That is really nice, you did a great job! Hope you can post more, like waterfalls, etc.


 o
RE: Artificial rock

ask and ye shall recieve...

Here is a link that might be useful: sculpted rock waterfall


 o
RE: Artificial rock

WOW! Steve, that is some very nice looking work.Natural looking, functional, I am impressed. Sooo...is it too much to ask what ingredients you use, ie. mix ? Or is that a professional secret? (you know, one of those...well, I'd tell ya, but then I'd have to kill ya things? )
Your rocks make me drool and dream of creating the unspeakable....a work of art with purpose....more than a pot, a whole center of attraction. Please.....do tell more.
:) Jan

Yeah, yeah, who the #$&% is Jan? I've been lurking for oh, I don't know...many moons and finally felt too inspired to keep quiet. Admiring peak's works of art and many others too have gotten me close before, but this, well this is something I just can't sit still about. I am excited. Maybe I could make something more than a sedum pot? Maybe? hhmmmm :) :) :)


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Thank you Jan.

The mix is three parts sand, one part type ten portland cement, one third part fly ash, one third pard condensed silica fume, handfull of glass fiber, pinch of water reducer and liquid acrylic. The water amount depends on how moist you sand is to begin with. This mix is intended to be applied fairly dry but no so dry as to crumble when applied.
There is no secret to my work...practice practice practice.
Take baby steps and create smaller things for practice before going for the gold.
Any other questions?
Steve

Here is a link that might be useful: bbq stand


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Wow, I'm so impressed with your beautiful work!!!!!!!
You really are an artist Steve...
Is there anyway possible you could provide a recipe so to speak...I do better if the quantities of each material are provided, even if it's for a small batch and then increase as required.
Note to self...stop drooling...drooling is not nice.


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Great work - and much inspiration!!!!!

One suggestion - it would make it much easier for some of us w/ dial -up connections and that would be if you could reduce the size of your pix! They take forever to load in and then are so large that one has to scroll all over the place - just a hope here - your concrete is absolutely incredible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

grins

Vicki


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Cool stuff Mr. Steve. Now some queations:
What is fly ash?
I know type N cement (home depot) but what is type 10?
What is condensed silica fume?
Where do you get all of these materials?

Bill


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Bill,

Fly ash looks exactly like mortar cement. Sandy and grey. Silica fume is very fine like beach sand and completely black. Type ten cement is for sale at Home depot (very strong cement) but everthing else you will find at a concrete supply store. Try your phone book and call around before you go.

Steve.


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Steve,

That is amazing. I have about a zillion questions I would like to ask, but I'll start with this. Approximately what would it cost (myself) to build something like the waterfall picture? And what would it cost for a contractor to come and build it for me? I just would like an idea of how expensive it would be to do myself. I'm probably not going to do a waterfall as nicely as that, but I would like to do a lot of different projects around the yard.


 o
RE: Artificial rock

The cost to build such a feature is around $2500-$3000, more if you have to rent tools and shop at home depot. If you wanted to hire a contractor to build you one you are probably out of luck. It is hard to find people qualified to build you something completely waterproof and have artistic vision. If you go this route be sure to shop carefully and do not go with the cheapest quote or you may be unsatisfied with the results.
This job cost over $40k but it was a comercial job and required alot of planning and installing time for the behind the scenes work (electrical, plumbing, drainage, cpvc piping ect.) Expect 25-30k for residential.

Thanks for the compliments, thats really why I do this work.
Steve


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Hi again Steve,

Would you recommend any books or training classes that someone like me with really no experience could buy? I built a waterfall and pond in my backyard of my last house and was very suprised at the cost. I think for the pump, rubber liner and the rocks it came to around $1200 (rocks cost me at least $800 of that) and my waterfall standing next to yours would be a joke :). I'm sure you have a specific "recipe" for making the mixture, but what is the hardest part? Is it very difficult to do the coloring or the texture? When you are creating a large waterfall, do you re-enforce underneath with rebar or some other type of structure? Man I could go on forever. This is the only place I've found where someone will talk about how to build artificial rocks. I live in Calgary, Alberta Canada and there is no courses and very little information on this subject. Must be our climate, have any room in B.C. for me? :)

If you would like to send me any of your expertise or pictures I would be greatly in debted to you. My email is 2daddy@telus.net

Thanks,
Ryan


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Steve, I am also curious about the substructure and texturing processes. I really appreciate your artistry and would like to try my hand at some of this type of work. I have a cinder block retaining wall for starts that needs prettied up, but have always wanted to do an indoor water garden to winter over topical aquatics. Looking forward to your reply.


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Hallo Stevie....very very nice work!!!
My family owns a garden center and i am a landscape student...recently we became interested in making artificial rock since nobody in Macedonia doesn't make them...or even knows about this tehnique.
We have bought a book and dvd from rockandwater.com about rock making but it is poor with real information...
Becouse i realy like your work i will reather learn from you:)
The structure is not the real problem for us..the problem is the painting. What cind of paints do you use? Please describe the painting process and the mixing of colors (how much from which supstances do you use) This will be very usefull information for me...i have try many ways of making the right color but nothing didn't work out the way i want to (i like to get a quality high resistant color that will last for many years) Well that is for now...I am waiting for your soon respond because i realy need the answer:)
Thank you in advance,
Regards, Jelena


 o
RE: Artificial rock

The painting process can seem complicated but is actually quite easy.

-Water based paints mixed 2.5 parts water to 1 part paint.
-applied via a series of pump up sprayers available at most gardening stores.
-Apply paints in layers allowing drying time inbetween
-Typically I use from 10 - 15 coats of paint for a granite finish.
-use base colours like grey or brown
-next highlight colours like red orange and green
-light misting colours like yellow and blue
-white always second last
-black always applied last.

The important thing to remember is to only mist each layer. Do not apply too solid of a layer of any colour except the base colour that you choose.

Hope this helps
Steve Goodale


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Your rocks are beautiful. I have a question. I have a waterfall rock that goes on the side of my pool. It is made of fiberglass I believe. After 2 or 3 years the coloring on the rock seems to have faded where the chlorinated water runs over it. What kind of paint do you think would be best to apply and would it be best to use the technique you described above? Thanks for your help. Donna


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Donna,

I have no idea how painting will take to fiberglass. I create artificial rock from concrete mostly beacuse of my experience with fiberglass cra.....er...products.
If I were you I would go back to the manufacturer and see what they are willing to do about their product. It was designed to be on a pool system and therefor exposed to chlorinated water and sunlight.

Without a warranty you can try to repaint it yourself using colour chits and a keen eye. Then research fiberglass sealers that are chlorine and UV resistant.

Steve Goodale


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Thank you for the answer Steve but this doesn't solves our problem....
We managed to get good color that looks natural on the rock.
We used latex paint mixed with oxide ash colors (for stucco) and water but we are not sure that this is the right sollution and that it will last long years.Also if we put thicker layers the paint turnes up like gum and you can easily remove it from the rock surface.
So the thing we want you to tell us is the type of the colors that the you use (from witch firm it is and what exactly does it says on the package) If we can't find that cind of paints in Macedonia, where can we order them???
I hope you will answer us soon becouse this is very important for us...
Thank you,
Jelena


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Can't seem to get any links to come up. Any suggestions?
Thanks, David


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Jelena,

Be sure to clean the rock surface before painting. If it is very dirty use a mild muriatic acid solution (10 parts water 1 part acid)

Any water based paints will work. Ask for water based, not oil based paints. Paint in layers as described above and then seal using a water based sealant. Unless there is a Home Depot in Macidonia than I think you will have to do some web surfing to find a water based paint supplier.

Steve


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Thank for beeing so kind and answer all my questions:)))
Still...just one thing left to ask you...are this water baised colors special colors for artificial rocks or they have another uses as well??? If i go to a regular paint shop what should i ask for??
Thanks again:)))
Regards,
Jelena


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Steve,
Should have complimented you on the nice work in my first post. Very impressive and admirable.
I was wondering if you used the same granite spaying technique on the bbq? Did you start with a black base coat? It looks more stone like than granite which is also a look I am trying to achieve.
I am successfully making some attractive faux stone troughs. Happy with my carving techniques, but the painting/staining is troublesome. I stained some with a thinned ext. enamel paint, but now I think it looks too black and lacks definition. Is spraying latex paint over enamel asking for trouble? Should I perhaps try to wash it with a lighter enamel paint? Any other stone finish techniques to share?
Highly appreciative!
GB


 o
RE: Artificial rock

This guys name is stan, not steve.
I gave him that mix design in confidence.
way to go stan!


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Hi Mike, its Steve not Stan.

I saw one of your waterfall pieces at the garden centre on lougheed. It looks good. Looks heavy. Did you get a shop area to build from, it looks too big for a backyard project.

The mix is from Stan, but being that it is also a simple concrete mixture it is knowledge to be shared with everyone.
Or would you prefer that only Mike knows it.

Steve

GB- give your piece a muriatic acid bath (mild solution) and start reasurching acid stains as this should give you the look you are going for.


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Will the muriatic acid work on the enamel paint too?
And thanks for sharing.
GB


 o
RE: Artificial rock

muriatic acid will get rid of anything...so be careful and use a ventilator!

Steve


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Steve-

A buddy of mine does some great work similar to yours and he uses metal lath to form the shapes of rocks and fills them with waste concrete chunks. Also, when it comes to the texture of the rock surface, he has a collection of latex forms he created by going up into the San Bernardino mountains and painting liquid latex onto large boulders.

Is this similar to your techniques? I know some others were wondering about the structure aspect.

Brad


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Steve,
I have a question about your recipee and how I might adjust it to use with hypertufa. Since I plan to make some furniture, I need a good strong mix like the one you suggested. But I want to carve the surface and find tufa more receptive to that. What adjustment might you suggest since I will be adding peat, replacing some sand with powdered perlite and very fine vermiculite?
I have all the ingredients you mentioned.
Thanks, David


 o
RE: Artificial rock

David, I also sculpt with lightweight mixtures (perlite, peat ect) and I believe that my sculpting mix is far superior for sculpting. The trick is to wet your point trowel before every cut you make. This leaves a smooth finish which looks very realistic when you scrape your feature with a ginding stone.

If you want to sub in lightweights, then replace sand with 2x vermiculite or perlite by volume. (1x 5 gallon bucket sand = 2x 5 gallon buckets perlite.

Brad - I build using two different approaches. For non structural construction I use styrofoam to build a basic form and wrap with 2" chickenwire.

For structural a skeleton is made using 10mm rebar and the diamond stucco lathe is tied under the steel leaving gaps with rebar support chars. Old concrete bits work also. Finally I add the 2-4" chickenwire over the rebar. It is as follows.

Lathe, then a 2" gap, then rebar skeleton then 1" gap then chickenwire. Cover everything in concrete at a thickness of 4-6".

Steve

Here is a picture example
http://img220.echo.cx/my.php?image=deltamainrockwip0az.jpg


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Since I assume nothing, I will ask more questions to clarify: With the lightweights, only the volume of the agg. changes, but the amount of portland stays the same? My mixes are usually about 3:1 volume wise, but I guess I can add twice as much lightweight stuff now?
I don't even own a trowel! Guess that can be added to the list. Most of the mixes I work with are dry mixes and using a trowel would seem to be an odd tool. Are your tufa/lightweight agg. mixes on the wet side? Or are you using the trowel more for just regular cement mixes?
When you mention "grinding stone" just exactly what are you refering to? I just bought a rub stone. Is that one in the same?
Too many questions? I hope not and thanks in advance. I am learing a lot from this one post!
David


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Have been playing around with the faux granite look using spray bottles to apply the paint. The frustrating thing with the bottles is that they don't allow the spray to come out in a fine mist. Also, they seem to stop working at all very quickly as the pump action goes kapuut.
So, now I will try the pump sprayer method. One question (Steve, if you're out there?) is can you leave one particular color of paint in each sprayer and not have to wash them out all the time? I would be worried that my $20 investment in each pump sprayer was going to end up in the trash like my $3 spray bottles.
Thanks, GB


 o
RE: Artificial rock

I leave the paint in my cans...just clean the nozzle out after each use. For the $3 sprayers, just water down the mix until it sprays out in a mist. Use a sea sponge to blot up any larger splatter.

Steve


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Steve, It's great that you are willing to help everyone with your knowledge and experience of this "don't ask don't tell trade/art!" I live in a townhome with an open wall three floors high. I want to make it artificial rock/boulder and need advice. Maybe structural to climb for the kids, but probably not. This wall seperates me from my neighbor and I think is 2x4 framing, maybe 2x6, with both sides sheathed with T111 exterior siding (1/2" plywood indoors). I want it to be as light as possible, probably! Would you shape this with styrofoam? If so what product, 4'x8'x2" @$30 like you get at home depot; have someone corabond it(dense spray foam company,I don't know if it's a do it yourselfer); use 100 cans of Great Stuff spray insulating foam sealant, or can you shape your mixes to protrude up to 12" from the wall with the help of chicken wire etc.? What kind of tools do you use to shape with? Which mix should I use? What kind of cost for materials can I expect for 500 sqft? If you could briefly walk me through your steps/processes etc. I would so greatly appreciate it along with all who read your postings! If you have any links with good info that would be appreciated also!!! Thanks for your time and any info. Chad


 o
RE: Monkey Rock to mould and cast Artificial pieces

Hi Steve...& other regular lurkers! ..Just landed! ..i.e.My 1st post! Your passion for this artform/profession/hobby inspires me!Thxs 4 starting this forum - Looks like a jckpot hit 4 me ! I hopefully can pick your brain every so often to gain some some technical information etc to assist in my future rock creations!
Im really amazed you don't have a website, call that yet im sure!....especially since you a professional! Hell Im sure it would be a (profitable) hit in no time & with all the info and knowledge which u willing to share its the way 2 go!

The half mountain and waterfall displayed thru one of yr links is really impressive ... Very Well Done!! Where is it...Vancouver or... and is it a commission from the city or town as a public showpiece? Are all the units made of Styrofoam ,reinforced and then gunited or are they hollow? You do it by hand with the ole trowel if not with a compressor ? must have been a back breaker...for sure!

How long did it take you to complete ? Do you have to maintain it at all?... I'm sure this piece on its on attracts more referral work for yourself that you can handle.... ( hence lack of www...)

Brings me to my 2nd point ..your "Xmas Island" statuettes...I assume these were made as a Tea-break job for the fun of it?
I really think they are impressive and quite trendy that if marketed thru retailers they would relly create youi a branding in no time! Whats the average weight of a piece?

In the event it was just a personal form of expression I understand your use of styrofoam or is it that you only do 1-offs, with each piece you develop guaranteed of never been cloned?

Would it not be more of a viable option if you moulded the shapes and thereby produced a quantity ( for yourself..or the market?)
Do or did you use glass fibre in your pieces?

The piece which is used as the barbie counter seems to have a extremely smooth surface...other than the dimensions and cracks that is ...How do you attain this smooth weathered like finish if conrete chip was utilised?

I want to produce replicca rocks of what we in South Africa call "monkey Rock" They are a sort of limestone ,yet not too brittle,soft or porous. (If dropped from 4-5 foot would break in half)
The shapes are just the most original one can imagine ...rounded edges knotted together including gaps & holes with many lips making them ideal for water features and focused feature areas in a garden.
Thru +-last 50 years and prior present day enviromental laws they have all but a few been poached thereby making them very sought after...
Ive had 12-15 pieces gained from my childhood home and have always desired to mould them for replica casting...Well...Eventually I believe the time has come..!

Sorry about the length of this post folks, I know anybody having read this far really has nothing else to do and surely killing time...I just needed to commit myself by actually involving my SubC and I know I will perserveer with this project ... The enthuisiasm and generosity to help by others on these forums is a real knock out and I'm hereby locking myself in!!

Steve,you'll hear from me as time goes on iro my project but what I like to know from you at this time is what material should I use as a mould for the MASTER rocks? Latex , Silicon or polyurethane ? Ignorant as to the specs and price right.. now but do they come in a solid form that requires heating to liquify, thereby allowing painbrush application? or does one purchase a liquid gluecompound in a bucket form?

The size of the rocks vary in size Imagine a box with following dimensions and get the idea of size. Smallest 300x300x200 to the biggest of about 600x400x300(two men required to lift) They not solid as in the total box size... bit more of a upright standing cigerrette box which has been crushed and twisted...!!
For these size casting what ingriediant whould you suggest ? I was thinking of a GFRC mixture? You agree? if so how much glass fibre does one actually mix in ie ratio.
Your creations have put my mind on the polystyreen as a space retainer/occupier,for the larger open areas that is, once the initial slurry is put in the moulds...Sounds like the way to go ..what you think?

Ok I aplogose ...are there rules here for length of posts/ Thing is, Im off my pc till 2moro nite and had to add as much as possible now ...promise never again!
I will take sum pics of these rocks and post them online for comment...Ok Im out of here but look forward to all replies ,,advice help and anything else thrown at me ...Thanks a ton & Bye!


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Are your pictures still on the web anywhere. By the descriptions, they sound wonderful.


 o
RE: Artificial rock

coastal concepts please come back to forum lots of questions
no good deed goes unpunished your expertise is needed by many such as what about dye in the cement mixture instead of painting it after
thanks


 o
RE: Artificial rock

  • Posted by calpat zone9ab No.Ca. (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 1, 05 at 2:00

I wanted to see the two links that you listed, but all I got was nothing! Disappointing, sounds like a great thread!


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Just to pick up an old thread:

1) I do not use molds...I consider rock scuplting to be an artform. I spend 30 minutes mixing the concrete but hours and hours sculpting the intricate details. I suppose you could use molds if you were going for a mass production plan, but most of my work is very large scale custom pieces. My two cents is, if you mold a rock you can make exact copies. If you train yourself to be able to sculpt that type of rock the possibilites are endless.

2)I am not currently posting pictures as I have removed all advertising since I retired. In the future I will be putting a gallery up and I will be sure to let you all know when I have done this.

3)Adding Dye to the mix can be done with success but the results are not dependable enough for contract work as perople are very specific about what they want. As with any admix, if you are building in stages it is almost impossible to match all the different batches perfectly.

4) For the locals, most of my signature pieces can be found in the British Properties in West Vancouver


 o
RE: Artificial rock (building vivarium)

Hi m8 im in the process of building a vivarium for my bearded dragons. The dimention of the vivarium will be 6'x2'x5.
you see my dragons are from inland Australia so i want to replicate there enviroment as much as possible so im creating a false rock background for them to climb n play (there aerborial so they like to climb.

i was gonna line the bk n sides with polystyrene bruch turps on the poly to make it deform like rock, then spray exspanding PU foam on to the poly let it fully set and carv and file the foam till i have made the basic structure. then apply a few morter mix's to the poly over a few day letting it set, then seal it with pond sealer then b4 the sealer sets dust the rock in a mix of diffrent sands. once set i can brush away the exses and it will apear like a rockface.

i would also like to texture it and give certain area the apperance of dried fungi and algi...BUT! i cant put reall algi of moss on it because my lizards are from the desert and greens like that would cause humidity cause the lizards 2 become ill.

could you suggest a better technique for what im doing please.
so my question is what is the best rock theme to go for being aussie and whats the best way to texture and create the rocks?

thanks m8 ..James


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Hi guys
I M planing to build a waterfall with artificial
rock but i do not know any thing about artificial rock
formation,materials,and technical things
can sombody help me in this or guide me to any website
which can teach me.
take care


 o
RE: Artificial rock

I'm finding it difficult to locate the contents of the mix suggested by Steve.
Did anyone have luck buying the following: Fly Ash, Condensed Silica Fume, Glass Fibre, water reducer, liquid acrylic.

I live in Phoenix, AZ.


 o
Climbing Walls

This forum has provided the most usefull information I have yet found on the web. I was wondering what sort of shaping tools are used in forming artificial rock. Also, does anyone know if there are any additional measures required to make an artificial rock structure strong enough to be used as a rock climbing wall? I have looked at Steve's Rebar, chicken wire and Lathe underlayment picture and that looks sufficient to me. I am planning on putting up a wall in my next home and would like to see if I could do it myself and save $30k to $40k on contracting it out.


 o
RE: Artificial rock

this site is definitly has the most information i have seen yet. unfortunatly i wasnt able to see any of the pics but i read the compliments and comments. i have a 30ft round above ground/in ground swimming pool. it(galvinized wall) sticks out of the ground 2foot high. We were planning on building a wooden deck around it but have since set our sites on artificial rock. We would like to make the pool look as if it were a rock quary. We would like to make a rock deck around the pool as well as cover the pump house with a waterfall/water slide feature. We plan on practicing on smaller projects before we the tackle the pool in stages. One question we have is how well does this hold up under water. The pool liner cost a few thousand to replace. We were thinking the next time it needs replacing to just rock it as well. Any comments, clues, pictures or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
thanks
terry & christine
ponchatoula, louisiana


 o
RE: Artificial rock

I hate not being original, but Thanks for all the info. It is truly rare to find anyone who will give any information of substance on this topic. I have been trying to make artificial rock for a few months now. So far I have a bunch of stuff that looks like cement with lines, groves, and big dents in it.
I have been trying to replicate pictures like the one at the link below.

http://www.dodsonstudiosinc.com/gallery19.htmhttp://www.dodsonstudiosinc.com/gallery19.htm

I am not working on that scale or even close to it. I believe it was you that said practice practice practice. Well i think I'm getting worse. Any suggestions. So far my biggest problems are that my lines are to sharp edged like someone stuck a trowel in wet cement and made lines, or they are to soft like someone did the same thing but with a paint brush. I'm not getting that weather worn crack look. I know this is a broad question, but do you have any advice for someone on how to start to learn to sculpt artificial rock? How to get the cracks and edges look less like trowel marks and road curbs. I haven't tried your mix yet. Is it all in the mix? I have just been following the directions on a quickcrete bag. Go ahead... you can laugh... I know it's a little funny. As you can tell.... any info would be appreciated. I'm not going to pester you for images. See, no pestering. None at all.


 o
RE: Artificial rock

James, You are funny "like someone stuck a trowel in wet cement and made lines"....
You are 88% there in making a realistic looking rock. Wait ten or more minutes after sticking the trowel into wet cement and making lines, then using a very stiff "stippling" brush gently but firmly push the brush into the troweled line, this will soften and blend the line from the trowel to the line.
In addition adding some color to your overall project will further soften and highlight some natural places in the concrete.
Your colorant will enhance the hard lines and soften the other areas, dependent on what your colorant is.
Did you see that you are more than 1/2 way there, way to go!!!
Dena


 o
RE: Artificial rock

I found a post of steves on anothe topic and I figured I would replicate it here for those who were looking for some more basic info. I even found...... A Picture :)
Steve's words. Not mine. All Hail Steve.
" Posted by coastal_concepts Vancouver CA (My Page) on Sat, Feb 5, 05 at 21:27

Hi. I make artificial rocks for a living. It is easy to do:
1)create a form using styrofoam
2)apply steel, chickenwire or stucco lathe for strength
3)apply concrete at a min thickness of 3"
4)sculpt using a point trowel for the veins and fissures and a sea sponge for texture.
5)After curing scrape the rock down with a scaping stone, wash and let dry
6)paint with watered down latex paints with a spray bottle in a layering fashion with complimentry colors
7)use concrete sealer to retain color and texture.

If you need, I have pictures of each step.

The link is a picture of a rock bbq platform I made and is NOT a link to my personal webpage, nor is it any type of redirecting link.

Happy sculpting!
Steve
"

By the way Steve. If you are reading this. I have a site on a server I used to be the system administrator for. I could host your pictures for you. This is not a totally selfless act, I really want to see your step by step pictures. So basically, this is just greed :).

Here is a link that might be useful: BBQ grill in rock... Uber


 o
RE: Artificial rock

This information is really great. Thanks to everyone, especially Steve for sharing. Steve, I'd love to see the pictures that used to be on the link. Can you email them to me.


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Hi Guys and Gals,

Just so you all are aware I am still reading all of your posts and I do look forward to answering all of your questions with the Artificial rock E-Book that I have almost completed.

The scope of this project has gotten way out of hand =) This started as a simple "how to" venture but I have encountered difficulty in explaining many aspects of the skills needed and I quickly found myself with over 500 still images for just the initial few steps of the process not even beginning the sculpting stage. I really had not intended to get this involved as I am supposed to be "retired" from this work.

By popular demand - or driven by my passion for artistic creativity I have increased the scope of this project. I have contracted a new partner in this project for stage two - which is going to be a DVD on rock building and sculpting with the main focus being water retention (ponds and waterfalls). Before you all explode with excitement about this - this is stage 2 and still a ways off from now.

In regards to stage one I will definately be launching the "how to" for the basic rock building before the end of this summer. I am working to set up distributor lines for the specialty products and tools required for the process -most importantly in smaller, more manageable quantities as not every hobbiest needs (or can even lift) a 110lb bag of portland cement.

I am currently looking for a client in the Vancouver area who would like to have a pond or waterfall which I will build and document with video production.

I appreciate all of your patience as this is a long time coming - but I hope to turn this industry on it's ear with the information that I am releasing. As many of you know I have been taking tremendous pressure from other industry professionals who do not feel I have the right to give away the "secrets" of this art. It is the demand that I am meeting - people want to know how and I do not understnad why I should not tell them. I am confident that my ability is 20% knowing the process, tools and materials and 80% artistic vision. If I had no artistic vision or ability I probably would not want others to know how to do it either.

Keep sculpting - keep PRACTICINg - help is on the way. Remember to get better results when scultping use a sea sponge...alot. This is only one kind of sculpting but it will allow you to make a very pleasing finished product to keep you motivated and interested to keep practicing.

Cheers.

Steve Goodale


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Here are some photos of a patio that I constructed last summer in my garden. The patio is situated on a slope part way down our hill. I wanted the walking surface to be large flagstones, but the access would not allow me to transport large rock to the site. I decided to make my flagstones out of concrete and mortar on site, by pouring each stone individually in place. I layered colored mortar on top of each "stone", then scraped through the mortar and textured. I am very happy with the outcome. Look at the album titled "Karen's Patio". I will post more photos of the process if anyone is interested. I also constucted a fireplace on the far side of the patio out of real rock (not visable in these photos), and this summer I will continue the project with an outdoor kitchen counter and pizza oven, where I will employ more faux rock for supports.

Here is a link that might be useful: Karens faux rock flagstone patio


 o
RE: Artificial rock

  • Posted by kobold Vancouver BC (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 1, 06 at 1:54

Steve
please, let us know when your DVD or/and book available. Unfortunately, we can't buy your artistic talent.

Karen, I love your patio and I would like to make something similar, in smaller scale. I made lots of different tufa projects, but I'm absolutely amateur, what is the difference between concrete and mortar?

Andrea


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Andrea,

Concrete has small stones added to the mix. It is good to use it for the bulk of the project, but you wouldn't get a stone-like look if you used it for the final surface. Mortar does not have the small stones in it that concrete does, so it acheives a finer and smoother surface finish and I used it for the surface layers. I also used some patches of Portland cement for surface layers to vary the look. It was quite effective.

Karen


 o
RE: Artificial rock

  • Posted by kobold Vancouver BC (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 1, 06 at 18:38

Karen, thanks to clear it up for me. I experimented with different finishes, never used the small stones, only sand, Portland and peat moss, I liked the sandstone look.

More questions: did you reinforce it with R-bar?
how thick are the slabs?
gravel or sand underneath?

Andrea


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Steve..I for one can hardly wait for your book..

Rockwoman Karen: Your patio stones are awesome.

I m just sitting here looking at all of your work and thinking..hmmmm I wish I was an artist as well..unfortunately I'm not but I do know how to follow instructions...So You two..STEVE and KAREN..Instruct away..I for one am paying attention..Thanks So Much for sharing your artistic talents with us all as well..truly we are fortunate that you are willing to share..thanks So Much..Deb


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Ditto, ditto,
So much looking forward to the soon to be released e-book!
You really do have a following Steve. All of us would like to have the instructions to do something in our backyards like we've seen in the photo's you've posted.
Can't wait,
Slate


 o
RE: Artificial rock

What a wealth of great information from a man who appreciates art and understands the beauty of sharing. That goes for all of you actually. My name is Steve, as well and so to avoid confusion, I'm new. The previous postings are from Steve Goodale/Coastal_Concepts. I'll be sure to sign off with Steve L. from here on out.

Great work Steve! And thanks for all of the outstanding info. I look forward to your eBook and DVD as well. I'm wanting to get into faux rock work as a hobby and possible business. I'm an artist and love creating/sculpting, etc. But I never seem to have time for it the last several years since I have a "corporate" job. Only solution I see is having my own business doing what I love.

Karen: I looked at your link and pics of your concrete Flagstones. Impressive, but I have to admit your woodworking skills blew me away. The fish mantel is outstanding to say the least. I posted your first guestbook entry. :0)

Great post everyone!

Steve L.


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Karen, your patio is fabulous and the faux flagstones very realistic. I assume you carved the stone shapes. When did you apply the topping and how thick is it? Did you say you used sanded or unsanded grout? I would very much like to see additional pictures and a discussion of the process.

You might consider starting a new thread because I think you've gotten buried in this interesting but old thread.


 o
RE: Artificial rock

I came across a company that offers training (hands-on and DVD) but it's a bit pricey - $950 for the DVD course.

You may know what/who I'm talking about but I would like any input on if this stuff is really as easy as some make it sound or if it might be worth it to spend money on some extensive training.

I have a liner pool and want to convert it to a shotcrete pool with rocks, grotto and the works.


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Hey Russ,

For DVDs that are a LOT cheaper... check out the following sites:

www.waterscapesmagic.com
www.keithtutor.com

I am in NO WAY affiliated with the two sites. Just found them not long ago and they are pretty darned cool. Both are great sites and DVDs it seems. However, Keith Tutor is an absolute genius with his work... and his pictures show it.

The first guy is in the U.S. and Keith is in Australia. If you are in the U.S. keep in mind that the Australian price for the DVDs is higher than what it actually comes out to in U.S. dollars. After shipping, the price lists as $52.45 which converted to U.S. is $39.33

I ordered the first DVD and can't wait to get it.

Steve L.


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Hi Steve,
I know you're getting close to the end of the e-book, so I'm probably too late with a query for the book. It's probably been covered anyway.
The question I have for inclusion in the instruction is, about the consistency of the mud for both base coat, and more particularly for the top/sculpting coat. And if working in extremes of temperature, along with wind factor drying out the face, is it OK to spray a fine mist on the work to stop it dehydrating too fast?
I don't know when you have scheduled release of the e-book, but it might be soon, ( from your previous posts. ) I wonder how you might notify us of release, eg., via the forum, or some other means?
I still watch this forum regularly anyway, with excited anticipation, as I think many others are.
Also looking forward to the release of your instructional video on functional water features with the same excitement.
Thanks again Steve, your offer and what it means to many of us will bring within reach, something we all could only observe and admire from a distance.
Soon we can all participate in the beauty of such creations in our own homes, knowing that we actually built it, and the satisfaction and sense of achievement that brings.
Hopefully it will bring you what you desire also,
Slate


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Hi all

So glad I found this site while Googling. I just bought a locally produced DVD (South Africa). What a rip off, the DVDs were actually VCD format, the video was just a collection of images with about a 1-2 minute voice intro explaing the process and the rest had a music background. The accompaning CD had AVI clips of everything that was on the "DVDs". So I paid $ for 1 CD with very little info. After contacting the guy for a possible refund, you guessed it...no reply at all.

Any other SA users, if you want avoid the same mistake, mail me.

Russ
I know exactly which firm you're talking about. $950 in our currency is major $$$. For us DIYers it's just way too much to spend unless you're serious about making a business out of it. Their material does look good though.

Steve
Don't worry about the rest of the industry. There are others in the industry doing the exact same thing, teaching others how to make faux rock, and charging an arm and a leg for that matter.

I can't wait for your e-book and will definitely hold off on my purchase of other DVD courses and buy yours when it comes out. I'm sure the e-book will tide me over till the DVD is released. Do we just check this post for updates or do you have your own website?

Once again, I'm sure I say this for everyone on the list, thanks for sharing your knowledge.

JD


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Hi all

So glad I found this site while Googling. I just bought a locally produced DVD (South Africa). What a rip off, the DVDs were actually VCD format, the video was just a collection of images with about a 1-2 minute voice intro explaing the process and the rest had a music background. The accompaning CD had AVI clips of everything that was on the "DVDs". So I paid $ for 1 CD with very little info. After contacting the guy for a possible refund, you guessed it...no reply at all.

Any other SA users, if you want avoid the same mistake, mail me.

Russ
I know exactly which firm you're talking about. $950 in our currency is major $$$. For us DIYers it's just way too much to spend unless you're serious about making a business out of it. Their material does look good though.

Steve
Don't worry about the rest of the industry. There are others in the industry doing the exact same thing, teaching others how to make faux rock, and charging an arm and a leg for that matter.

I can't wait for your e-book and will definitely hold off on my purchase of other DVD courses and buy yours when it comes out. I'm sure the e-book will tide me over till the DVD is released. Do we just check this post for updates or do you have your own website?

Once again, I'm sure I say this for everyone on the list, thanks for sharing your knowledge.

JD


 o
RE: Artificial rock

JD and other interested parties...

He can't mention it but I can since I have no vested financial interest in it.

Check out this link--Steve's is the first. You might also want to check out the second one--it's Tango's. Both sites are excellent and have forums.

Here is a link that might be useful: Great concrete/hypertufa sites to check out


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Hey All, I work with a company called Replications Unlimited and we are the largest manufacturer of artificial rocks in the US. We have full lines of waterfalls, streams, bubblers, cover rocks, textured stone panels, and also have a huge custom department that can replicate whatever your needs are. Check out our website.

Here is a link that might be useful: Artificial Rock Manufacturer


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Great info Steve and others. I'm looking forward to your DVD Steve.

My info shared will be related to styrofoam. For several years I was a sculptor in the motion picture industry. What I say here are tricks we have used for movie props.

A cement waterfall I recently built for a friend has a styrofoam core with lath stretched over. In shaping the styrofoam I used 2 lb foam and a variac set up with a hot wire.

A variac is a transformer used to adjust the electric current passing thru a wire.

The wire length can very from short to very long depending on the span you need to reach. Within a 1' length of PVC tubing you can set up an attachment for the electrical wire to enter the tubing and attach to a bolt that sticks out for attaching the nicrome wire that does the actual cutting thru the styrofoam.

You can contact Wirenetics in Ventura, Calif for the nicrome wire. Size 23 or a little smaller is what I use.

Cut the length of wire you want and wrap around the ends of the bolt sticking out of the pvc tubing. Naturally have the variac turned down low before turning on. Switch it on and turn the dial to raise the voltage until the nicrom wire turns a dull red. Depending on how much you move the wire around you can get gouges to gentle curves cut into the foam. If you want to add material get one of the spray insulation foam for attaching the styrfoam piece and cut away. Depending on what you use sometimes I have had the pieces stick firmly while others aren't secure until I stretch the wire over. If you wanted to cut a hole thru a shape that is possible too.

The tools might be a little expensive if you have a small job but could work nice for a larger project or wanting to make rock sculpting into a business.

Have a fire extinguisher close by for fire if your wire gets hung up inside the foam.


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Hi Steve, just to start the poll, I have been fortunate enough to attend many live training courses, and have also had my share of courses in print, and also in video and DVD format.
Based on my experiences with these different formats,my request would definitely be for a DVD on the building of rock waterfalls/water features, rather than instruction in print.
The old saying rings true. A picture tells a thousand words.
And a moving picture is a thousand times better.
I for one, will pay for the DVD. It's the difference between seeing, ( being sure) and guessing a lot of the detail.
My particular interest is in seeing the advanced sculpting process in process.
Thanks for the opportunity of having a poll on the question. I am definitely on the list for the DVD.
Stone


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Hello Steve, in response to your offer of info, I would like to ask a question about building submerged or half submerged rocks around the edge of a swimming pool.
If I drill and epoxy rebar into the bond beam of the pool, can I make a 'cage' of rebar and lath to support the mud (mix), and does it have to be a solid fill of mud in the cage, or can it be hollow inside?
Once built, does the rock have to be acid stained to cope with salt water, or is it still able to be painted, bearing in mind that I can access acrylic water based paint, and I don't even know what latex paint is?
Thanks Steve for any help,
Slate


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Hi Stone1,

Great question. My initial response will likely make you say "Oh YA! Why didn't I think of that?!"

Since you are talking about drilling into your pool - I will assume that it is a concrete pool as opposed to gavenized steel walls with a liner.

What will happen if you have re-bar exposed to chlorinated and SWG water?

...

I would not recommend drilling into the beam unless you do so on the top side of the deck. This however still introduces the problem of having the steel armature exposed under water where the rock dips below the waterline. There will be absolutely no way that you can seal your rock enough to not have the rust find a path through - andf it will certainly stain and damage your plaster coat which is almost certainly white.

Another issue that comes to mind is safety. We have a solid rule against any objects protruding past the edge of a pool. Do not dismiss this as being overly cautious - more children die in swimming pools in the USA than by guns yearly.

If you are going to build a feature that encroaches into the waterline and hangs over the lip of a swimming pool you MUST use foam for this. I recommend using foam as your basic form for the concrete (on deck) and using sculpted and painted foam for any part of the rock that goes past the edge of the pool.

I can not tell you how many construction jobs I have turned down from people wanting just what you have described. My reasoning is - no one has died in any of the pools I have built (to the best of my knowledge).

Safety first and cosmetics second. Build the rock on the deck or decide to use sculpted foam.

I hope this information is helpful!

Cheers.

Steve Goodale
1-888-267-0802


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Hi Steve, just checked in to this forum, and picked up your reply. Thanks mate, very timely information. Easy to get swept along by the cosmetics and forget the basics, ie, safety. Hope others are reading this too,
Slate1


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Hi--great info up here, but here's my challenge--I need interior fake stone. I'd like to put a gas fireplace in my family room -- I've done some research and found some good options with mantels to go with them, but I'd like to put a faux fieldstone "chimney" over the top of the mantel up to the ceiling. (I have plenty of real rocks locally and am not afraid of the job, but I'm afraid of the weight.) Any recommendations?

Can I use "Great Stuff" plumbing insulation and just form that stuff as I need to for this type of project? Or maybe use the Great Stuff as the base and cover it with a thin layer of mortar (stucco, to hold the shape)?, and on on a similar note, can I use the same "Great Stuff" instead of styrofoam for outdoor projects? Has anyone tried mixing that stuff with a little mixed cement or mortar (and with what result?)? Any guidance anyone can offer is appreciated. Either way, I'm feeling inspired and looking forward to spring outdoor projects! Thanks and happy holidays! Tammi


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Hi Steve. This spring I am planning to put a new waterfall and koi pond in my backyard. Are the materials for the artificial rock safe for fishes and frogs?
Linda


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Don't know if Steve is still out there regarding his e-book for building artifical rock. I would like to purchase one.


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Hello All,
Has anyone purchased the Keith Tutor DVDs? I have had the DVD and Book from Erik Kincaide of RockandWater.com for a while. While the quality of the Book and DVD is great, the details on coloring and finishing just aren't strong enough. I just ordered the one's from Keith Tutor and it sounds like they may take a while to get here. Any input on the KT DVDs would be great. Especially if you found a cross-reference for Australian to US materials. That is one of my major concerns about the DVD. I also looked at purchasing the JPJ School of Synthetic Rock Videos, as a hobbyist, I just couldn't justify the $950 cost. Once I receive them and watch them, I will post back with a review of the Keith Tutor ones here.

Is there anyone in the Great Cincinnati Area listening here? I would love to team up on doing projects with someone.

BTW Steve, your artisic ability is amazing. Since I could never 'Carve' all that detail, my plan is to use both Texture Pads and Carving techniques to achieve the look and feel I want.

KB

Here is a link that might be useful: Rock and Water website


 o
RE: Artificial rock

After a megar 600 hours of preparation I have completed the advanced tutorials. They are a pond and waterfall tutorial, advanced sculpting guide, advanced painting guide as well as a number of other subjects including statues, pumps and motors, pipe classifications, hollow landscape rocks, mixing, texture mats etc...

I did not fully appreciate the details and vast array of knowledge needed for these projects until the pen met paper...

The DVD is in production but will not be available until spring 2008. The basic rock building tutorial is still available for free, however I have elected to charge for the advanced tutorials to ensure that I can sustain the amount of time needed to continue supplying this much needed information to the artificial rock and DIY community.

As always, thank you for the gratious compiment that I have received from everyone.

Cheers and happy sculpting!

Steve Goodale
Coastal Concepts

Here is a link that might be useful: free tutorial link


 o
RE: Artificial rock

cincirockhead....i have been looking in book stores all over cinci and the closest i could ever come is "theater set design" or "rock gardens"....No one seems to be able to find what the heck we are all talking about on here... I have just found rockand water web site, as well as this one. The only exp. I have is Ive built 2 backyard ponds from scratch... and i'm amazed by the fake sets at the cinci zoo (which was created by the tram driver from what i've heard) Can you point me in the right direction as far as ANY local : classes, dvd's, books , etc? I want to learn this art! derekandemily7@yahoo.com


 o
RE: Artificial rock

Hey Cincirockhead....I'm a contractor living on the eastside of Cincinnati. I've made a dozen or so hollow boulders that turned out surprising well. I'd like to share what information we might have between us. You can contact me at eddiewms@cinci.rr.com


 o
RE: Artificial rock

hi steve, id love to know how to get a hold of your eBook.
thanks!
eric

artwork@coloradosigns.com


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Garden Accoutrements Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here