Return to the Hypertufa Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
I've been lurking on and off for a while.

Posted by bigoledude Z9b Chalmette Louisi (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 30, 13 at 4:20

I'm not new to the GardenWeb forums, but I am new to hypertufa.

I did a search and while searching, I started reading other great stuff that I hadn't even thought about yet! Just tonight, I got caught-up, spending three hours reading on issues that I'm certainly gonna need to know in order to make decent hypertufa projects. But still, I never came across the answer to my original search question.

My question was "how do I get that really rough natural stone finish on the outside surface of my projects"?

My favourite project with the rough surface was the pieces that look like very rough stones with crevices in them. The maker planted small succulents in the crevices of these projects. I believe they were made to either set on a table-top or could be hung. How do you achieve that very rough look in the tufa.

I read many pages of great material but could not find out how to get that rough-rock finish with tufa.

This post was edited by bigoledude on Tue, Apr 30, 13 at 19:09


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: I've been lurking on and off for a while.

trial and error. Get your hands dirty it's how I learned. You will learn more then any reading or advice.


 o
RE: I've been lurking on and off for a while.

One suggestion would be to take a screwdriver and score the outside edge in a particular way, grab your wire brush and make it real. Get your hands dirty is the best way.


 o
RE: I've been lurking on and off for a while.

Thanks for the screwdriver advice Ron.

Sometimes a little advice is better than "trial-n-error". Like in skydiving for instance. And, I spent over 40 years getting my hands dirty! But, I needed a little schooling/advice along the way, to eventually become a master-machinist. And, I really enjoyed training many young men along the way with help and advice so they could avoid the mistakes I made.

I thought this is where we were supposed to come for help and advice with hypertufa? Just figured I could come to you folks and maybe eliminate some common mistakes and not waste my money and my efforts.

I promise though, whenever I learn a little more about this, I will be more than happy to share my limited knowledge and experience with those needing help.


 o
RE: I've been lurking on and off for a while.

I do not think very many people read this form, that is why lack of feedback.


 o
RE: I've been lurking on and off for a while.

The lack of traffic here is understandable Ron. But, to take the time to respond to a post and offer no help what-so-ever is confusing. To tell someone to just muddle through, lose money and time is almost mean-spirited. Why bother writing anything?

Again, isn't this forum here so that we can help one another? I know it is frustrating when people ask questions that have been answered over and over. That's exactly why I spent so much time searching for my answer before I posted the question here.

There are gonna be some folks drop by here and offer me some needed advice. And, I can assure you, I will be very grateful for their assistance!


 o
RE: I've been lurking on and off for a while.

with all due respect, I learned more from actually doing then reading on the net. Whether you feel me to be disingenuous is disappointing. Experience is the best teacher. If it makes you feel better to paint me as dr evil be my guest but I did take the time to reply and genuinely for me actually doing was more educational and beneficial.


 o
RE: I've been lurking on and off for a while.

Another post offering no help. Why do you bother Dude?

Sure, I really believe you learned everything you know about hypertufa without one bit of reading, instruction or help?

Do me a favor, keep your comments!

This post was edited by bigoledude on Fri, May 3, 13 at 20:40


 o
RE: I've been lurking on and off for a while.

One thing that adds to the roughness are the organic elements (like peat moss) that rot out over time - but the effect will not be immediate.

You could also make yourself a sort of "stamp" - it wouldn't have to hold up for more than one use. Corrugated cardboard folded with scrap, split wood pressed into the fresh hypertufa should work for a single project.

Ron's not wrong, though - experimenting is the way to go - just post pictures & how it turned out! Tufa is supposed to be imperfect.


 o
RE: I've been lurking on and off for a while.

Thanks for the good advice Daisy.

I also found a site where the guy uses one of those wire brushes that go into an electric drill. The wire on this brush is the kind that looks like pieces of twisted rope. He runs this all over the piece just as it comes out of the mold, before the project cures hard. This technique gives a very nice rough-stone appearance.

I had no problems with Ron's advice. And, I agree, experimentation is good. But, everyone needs instruction at some point. But at no point did "themes" offer any instruction, help or advice specific to hypertufa other than trial & error and getting my hands dirty.

Please allow me to clear something up; I don't have any qualms about getting my hands dirty and, I am pretty good at figuring things out. Most master machinist usually are. I had a very specific question and, because I had searched so hard and found nothing, I figured some other folks might be interested in this. Our friend from England only offered dirtying hands and trial & error.


 o
RE: I've been lurking on and off for a while.

Hi bigoledude...I am as new at this as you are, so I don't have much advice to give you other than to say that I find that outside molds seem to give a more natural looking surface than the inside ones do. I've only done two projects so far...the last one I turned a Styrofoam cooler upside down and then kind of slapped on hands-full of hypertufa, I really like the way it turned out, very rough and rustic looking.

I have also discovered that this forum is kind of a dud. People are not very helpful or friendly..some of the others such as" perennial"s and" rock garden" forums are great. I've gotten lots of info by just googling.

Just want to edit this to say, there have been one or two people who have been extremely helpful and I'm grateful for that.

This post was edited by lisa2004 on Wed, May 22, 13 at 10:24


 o
RE: I've been lurking on and off for a while.

Hey dude! Good to see you. I have no hints, we plan to try making this next week. A friend of mine made some and hers were really rough, I loved them but she hated them. She said she put too much moss and not enough cement.
I too noticed the people are not all that helpful on this forum just from reading through. They are not quite as obnoxious as those on the cactus or the container gardenening forums though. I only go to those forums if I`m already in a bad mood lol! Always seems weird to me, as a bunch gardeners are usually very helpful and friendly, we WANT to share our passion with others.

Glad to hear you are still kicking and surviving hurricanes. Here`s to a quiet season, no more Ikes or Katrinas please!
My dad was a machinest but is now retired.
Tally HO!


 o
RE: I've been lurking on and off for a while.

If you go the electric drill route just be careful working on fresh hypertufa, it's still soft and can crumble easily.
As Lisa said working on the outside of a mold can work for the process you are talking about. You can place your mix on the outside and let it set up. Before it cures hard, carve the outline of stones using old screwdrivers, forks, knives that you can buy at the Dollar Store. Then depending on the texture of the stone you can use a wire brush or scotch brite pads to texture the surface. Whether you work on the inside of the mold or outside make the side walls thicker for the carving process.
If you use a mix that has peat moss for an ingredient leave the peat moss chunky as it comes from the bale. These will form little pockets in the mix and when you wire brush or carve the outside of the piece it will expose the peat moss. Once the hypertufa cures, spray the outside with a hose to wash out the peat moss for a pockmarked surface. Don't use too big peat moss chunks or it could leave holes all the walls.


 o
RE: I've been lurking on and off for a while.

  • Posted by bamatufa 7 - Trussville, AL (My Page) on
    Wed, May 22, 13 at 15:33

As mentioned above I use irregular sized chunk peat moss in my tufa recipe. Gives a nice pitted effect.


 o
RE: I've been lurking on and off for a while.

That's what I'm talking about! Some generous and kind advice. Thank you guys soo much!

Hey "beach". This place is still recovering from Katrina. Your post was good for the soul friend, thank you much!

I watched a video on YouTube of an old guy (like me) who built some benches and, sorta did a "faux bois" type thing in the wet tufa. It came out fabulous!

Some of my grand-children (18,16 and two 12 year olds) are really fired-up over the upcoming hypertufa projects. I think the 18 year-old, after watching some videos and reading some material, would like to make some spending money for herself.

Anyway, thanks again guys. If anyone out there has any more ideas on texturing projects, please post them.


 o
RE: I've been lurking on and off for a while.

Is the 18 year old going to hire herself out to you for mixing, to make money? LOL
If you want a sand finish, fill a tub with damp sand (not wet sand and not beach sand), dig out a shape in the sand and use that for a mold. If you want leaf imprints, take a look on the gallery side. I think my pots and instructions are still over there.
I've been on this web site since '94 or '95 and then something happened here, got hacked or virus or something. We all had to re-register. Many people have come and gone. Ignore the posts you don't care for and answer the posts you find helpful. I've been working with Hypertufa since the 1970's. I still play with hypertufa and teach classes but have added other hobbies.


 o
hypertufa stuff

Sorry, double post.

This post was edited by billie_ann on Thu, May 23, 13 at 20:18


 o
RE: I've been lurking on and off for a while.

Hey Ms. billie_ann

While doing all of that searching, I came across many of your posts. I was hoping you would chime in! Thank you for the sand-mold advice.

There is a sand-type aggregate down here that is somewhere in size between pea-gravel and coarse sand. Because it is sorta 'tween the two, it is less expensive than the two. It would make a great texture! I would have never thought of that technique if you hadn't mentioned the sand mold.

We are also blessed with a variety of large-leaved plants down here that will be perfect for some projects using them.

Thanks for the help!

Lisa, you are absolutely right! After going through many posts and watching a lot of videos, the outside molds do seem to easily produce the rougher texture I'm looking for. And, it is actually less work than having to smooth-out a project at the end.

This post was edited by bigoledude on Sun, May 26, 13 at 1:39


 o
RE: I've been lurking on and off for a while.

That aggregate sounds interesting. Wonder what the side walls would look like if you used Scotch Brite and water, after the piece has set-up, to remove some of the Hypertufa mix. Similar idea to how their reveal stones embedded in a sidewalk. Though you can't be as aggressive and you'd have to add more of that aggregate maybe even use that aggregate instead of the peat or perlite or vermiculite.
Regarding the grandkids, make sure you have them wear gloves when working with the wet mix and not let them mix the dry mix. The older ones would fit in dust masks but I've never been able to find small disposable dusk masks for little kids. I have one niece that wants to grow up faster so she fits in my half face masks so she can help with enameling.
I think Mike and myself are the only old timers left. Funny we're both from the same state, Pennsylvania. As I said, I have other hobbies and don't post here as often but pretty sure Mike checks in more often.


 o
RE: I've been lurking on and off for a while.

Hi bigoledude! I agree with your comments on others "help". In my opinion, "do it yourself" is not very helpful! Now I'll offer my two cents worth. But... I still haven't even gotten my hands dirty and made Anything yet!!! I saw a pic in a magazine where they used bubble wrap on the outside of a trough. I suppose they used the "on top" method and pressed the bubble wrap in the wet mix. I know you're looking for rustic, but this is cool looking too! Thought maybe you'd like to try this way too. I'll try to find the pic of the finished pot. But for the look you're going for, I have a painting stipple brush, which has long stiff plastic bristles (5-6inches long) for stippling paint on walls. I think this or a large stencil brush would allow you to stipple the outside of hypertufa also!!! Or maybe find a piece of tree bark and press that into it. p.s. I'm going to try making my first one this coming week. We just had 5 inches of rain so it's been a little too humid to even think about making them. Good luck to you and please post pics when you are finished with your first pots!


 o
RE: I've been lurking on and off for a while.

I "googled" that bubble-wrap finish and agree, it is very cool! The pics I saw though, appeared to have used the bubble-wrap on an "inside" mold.

Your stipple brush idea led me to consider several other "tools" that would work. Thanks!


 o
RE: I've been lurking on and off for a while.

I'm glad someone mentioned kids. I an doing this next week with my little guys and i will make sure they don't mix and DO have gloves. :) I luckily have a big box of disposable plastic gloves left over from when I used to A.I. dogs. Haha.


 o
RE: I've been lurking on and off for a while.

I'm glad someone mentioned kids. I an doing this next week with my little guys and i will make sure they don't mix and DO have gloves. :) I luckily have a big box of disposable plastic gloves left over from when I used to A.I. dogs. Haha.


 o
RE: I've been lurking on and off for a while.

gammagirl, You just want to be careful of your lungs and theirs and their skin too. Even though I tell people (these are adults) in class not to touch the mix with their bare hands because the lime in the Portland can burn their skin, there's always someone in my class that has to do it to prove me wrong. Some people can get a terrible burn from skin contact. Hope you have a great time.


 o
RE: I've been lurking on and off for a while.

bigoledude~ Years ago, I used to be on this forum every day, and most of what I learned, I learned from the kind folks here on the Hypertufa forum. I hope you keep asking questions. That's the best way to find out what NOT to do! Saves a lot of headaches.
There's so many ways to get the cool textures you will love in hypertufa. Several ideas have already been mentioned and they're all good.
Welcome aboard! And good luck on your new venture.
You and your Grandkids will have a ball!


 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 Hypertufa 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