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Comment by scott dobert on July 15, 2011 at 9:24pm
this looks like a fun project!!
Comment by SCOTT ARMSTRONG on July 15, 2011 at 9:32pm

Now that I'm at the texturing phase I'm really excited about working on it. Was nervous to start as this is my first attempt and I'm just using Sakrete's stucco scratch coat mix. Boy I would like to give this a go with the buttery mixes you pro's use. I don't know what to add to a basic 3:1 sand mix to get it to stick overhead in the "cave" section. I'm a member of Nathan's VA site and read all the comments from others searching for the components as well.

I was thinking to try to add a bit more cement and perhaps some lime or Fire Clay available at Home Depot to try to get it a little stickier. Not needing thickness for texture inside...just want it to be smooth for the kids.

Comment by scott dobert on July 15, 2011 at 9:58pm
i use a mix of my own connsisting of stucco cement NOT PRE BLENDED WITH SAND mason sand and some bonding agent mixed in the mix for stickyness. mix the cement /sand ratio at about 5 parts cement to 3-4 parts sand and about a cup no more of bonding agent in water till it gets clumpy. if light weight is needed i add perlight and lower the sand amount a little. i have dun upsidedown applications with this mix up to 2 in thick with little to no dropping and if it does fall scoop it up and sling it back up there! it can be really sticky so you may need to whip your trowel here and there but a wet sponge handy works like a charm and this mix smoothes of nicely. you can play with the ratios a bit to see what works best for you. hope this helps.
Comment by SCOTT ARMSTRONG on July 15, 2011 at 10:09pm
Thanks Scott. I really appreciate the advice. I will give it a go and will post my experience for what its worth. If this all goes as planned the next phase is some type of twisted beanstalk from which I can build out oversize leaves for shading the area....kind of a disney like theme park structure...but out of concrete and not fiberglass. I can already picture my wife's piercing look... :)
Comment by Nathan Giffin Vertical Artisans on July 16, 2011 at 7:41am
Are you using conduit for your sub-straight?
Comment by SCOTT ARMSTRONG on July 16, 2011 at 9:56am

Yes...I did because I had a large amount left over from previous construction work I've done. Both 1/2 and 3/4 in diameter. So it was handy, free, galvanized and easy to bend. This won't be as strong as rebar but strong enough when encased in the concrete shell. I can jump on it without any flex since the concrete ends up about 3 to 5 in thick.

Not easy to tie the mesh or the "bars" together though. The ridges on rebar all the structure to lock tight to themselves and the wire doesn't slide like it does on the conduit. But worked out fine and my wife was happy I didn't spend money on more materials while using up the growing waste pile all contractors seem to accumulate.

Comment by SCOTT ARMSTRONG on July 16, 2011 at 10:03am
Oh...I should add that I splurged and bought a mortarspray from Nolan (Tirolessa). This made all the difference trying to get the stucco scratchcoat to fill in the mesh and encase the conduit. By hand the mix would mostly fall out of the mesh. You must have forearms of steel. My arms were shot just from scooping and carrying the mini loads of wet mix in the hopper of the gun all day. Loved the tool.
Comment by Nolan Scheid on September 3, 2012 at 11:13pm

Hello Scott,

The armature is really neat. I hadn't considered using conduit until I saw this picture with you using it. Thank you!

Best regards,



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