Sculpture Community - Sculpture.net  

Go Back  Sculpture Community - Sculpture.net > Sculpture Roundtable Discussions > Community Help Center
User Name
Password
Home Sculpture Community Photo Gallery ISC Sculpture.org Register FAQ Members List Search New posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-31-2016, 05:22 AM
Dries's Avatar
Dries Dries is offline
Level 8 user
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: South Africa
Posts: 225
Polish cement

I would like to polish a small cement sculpture. Its white cement mixed 1:1 parts of cement and white quarts(pulverized very fine ).
Do I first seal it before attempting to polish? Any suggestions or help would be appreciated.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 05-31-2016, 07:09 PM
raspero raspero is online now
Level 10 user
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Huatulco, Mexico
Posts: 541
Re: Polish cement

I have not tried to polish cement, but I have polished various types of rock (and many other things). Certain rock polishes well, while others are more porous, or granular, and never come to a polish. I would imagine cement to be like this.

I would cast a test piece and sand it with paper of increasing fineness until you find that finer paper is not accomplishing anything more. Then I would seal it. Which sealer to use is a broad subject. I would want to use something with enough body to fill the porosity of the cement. Maybe even a lacquer (if it's not to be out in the sun). You could work that to a fine shine just like you would if you were painting a car.

Richard
__________________
http://www.fantaciworks.com
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-01-2016, 01:22 AM
Dries's Avatar
Dries Dries is offline
Level 8 user
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: South Africa
Posts: 225
Re: Polish cement

Richard I tried to sand some of the miscasts but the sanding paper discolors the raw white cement.
The internet is full of how to polish cement but its more for flooring. The effect they manage to get is amazing.

I guess its trail and error for me.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06-01-2016, 06:16 PM
raspero raspero is online now
Level 10 user
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Huatulco, Mexico
Posts: 541
Re: Polish cement

One thing I have watched concrete finishers do to get a very smooth surface on cement floors is, after the main pour has had some time to begin setting, they use just a cement and water mix and trowel that on the surface.

Richard
__________________
http://www.fantaciworks.com
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-02-2016, 02:27 PM
Andrew Werby Andrew Werby is offline
Level 10 user
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 645
Re: Polish cement

This isn't going to work too well. The problem is that quartz sand is a lot harder than limestone (which is what Portland cement is, basically.) So you get a lot of undercutting, then the sand grains roll out, leaving holes. Sealing isn't going to help; the sealants just clog up the abrasive.

If you recast the sculpture using marble chips instead of the sand, it will work a lot better. Marble and limestone are close enough in hardness for them both to abrade at the same rate. Use diamond polishing pads, with plenty of water.

Andrew Werby
Juxtamorph.com
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 06-03-2016, 01:23 AM
Dries's Avatar
Dries Dries is offline
Level 8 user
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: South Africa
Posts: 225
Re: Polish cement

Thank you Andrew, I will use your suggestions. I also read somewhere that shoe polish will also give a good polished look on cement.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 06-03-2016, 03:20 PM
Andrew Werby Andrew Werby is offline
Level 10 user
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 645
Re: Polish cement

That would certainly be a lot easier to do, so try it on something and see if you like it.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06-03-2016, 06:08 PM
raspero raspero is online now
Level 10 user
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Huatulco, Mexico
Posts: 541
Re: Polish cement

I use transparent shoe wax on some of my bronze sculptures, but I have begun just using clear nitrocellulose lacquer. I am not thrilled with the performance of the shoe wax. It doesn't seem to hold up for as long as I would like, and I have white blotch issues with it as well. Unfortunately, down here in the depths of Southern Mexico, it's all I have available. I lust for a can of plain old Johnson's Paste Floor Wax.

Richard
__________________
http://www.fantaciworks.com
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 06-21-2016, 09:05 PM
GlennT's Avatar
GlennT GlennT is offline
Level 10 user
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 4,213
Re: Polish cement

This sculpture I created last year (photo severely cropped to fit file size requirements) sits on a base that I made applying stucco over a wood frame. Then I colored the stucco with cement dyes, and finished it with colored shoe polish. I warmed the cement surface with a heat gun, and brushed the polish on, which I had melted as the jars sat on a hot plate. After cooling, I buffed it by hand with a cloth.

If you use such a method, wear a good organic vapor respirator, as the fumes are bad news. Or find a more natural wax, which I plan to look into next time I try this.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	005 (800x600) (640x480) (151x378).jpg
Views:	113
Size:	61.9 KB
ID:	13975  
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 06-23-2016, 07:13 AM
Dries's Avatar
Dries Dries is offline
Level 8 user
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: South Africa
Posts: 225
Re: Polish cement

Thank you for the information Glen.
Beautiful sculpture by the way. Any drawbacks with the shoe polish, except the fumes?
I imagine that the polish may also tend to trap dust or did the smoothness of your cement impacted on the results obtained?
Did you seal your cement before applying the polish?
Sorry for the million questions but it may be useful for what I am trying to achieve.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 06-23-2016, 11:46 AM
GlennT's Avatar
GlennT GlennT is offline
Level 10 user
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 4,213
Re: Polish cement

Hi Dries, I did not seal the cement, just applied the wax over the stained cement (stains even worse for toxic fumes!). The cement is a stucco mix, two layers over stucco lathe., for an indoor application. It would not have been a good idea to seal the cement first, as I count on the porousness of the cement to help the wax penetrate and bind. that is also why I heat the cement and heat/liquefy the wax.

One downside to using cans of shoe polish is that they hold a relatively small volume, so the cans have to be switched out and new ones melted, contributing to a mess and bit of a slow down.

The dust concern is addressed by letting the wax application cool completely, and then buffing it well with a cloth. ( an old cotton sweatshirt works well) This changes the surface from tacky to one that can resist dust sticking to it.

One thing that amazed me was how closely the color (3 different stain colors plus the colored wax) blended with those of the bricks. My goal was to make it look like natural stone in tones complementary to the brick, but I did not know in advance how well it would match the multi-toned brick.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 06-24-2016, 01:25 AM
Dries's Avatar
Dries Dries is offline
Level 8 user
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: South Africa
Posts: 225
Re: Polish cement

The color of the pedestal does look very natural and I am glad the results were better than expected.
I think it would be difficult to have fix it if it didn't work out and that is what I am trying to avoid.

Last edited by Dries : 06-24-2016 at 01:56 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 06-24-2016, 11:55 AM
GlennT's Avatar
GlennT GlennT is offline
Level 10 user
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 4,213
Re: Polish cement

You could do like me and pray while you're doing it.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 06-27-2016, 03:21 AM
Dries's Avatar
Dries Dries is offline
Level 8 user
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: South Africa
Posts: 225
Re: Polish cement

Always do
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 06-27-2016, 03:24 PM
Andrew Werby Andrew Werby is offline
Level 10 user
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 645
Re: Polish cement

If that works for you, great. Otherwise, you might try experimenting, casting up some samples of concrete and trying various different surface treatments until you zero in on something that looks the way you want it to. Then try exposing it to sun, or water, or other conditions that mimic the exposure the piece is likely to get, especially if it's going outside.

Andrew Werby
Juxtamorph.com
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 06-28-2016, 03:23 AM
Dries's Avatar
Dries Dries is offline
Level 8 user
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: South Africa
Posts: 225
Re: Polish cement

Nothing beats experimenting.
I think I have an idea what I would like to achieve with the surface.
With all the advice and information gathered from the internet I think through trail and error I will get to something I like.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 07-07-2016, 02:27 PM
Chris_Johns's Avatar
Chris_Johns Chris_Johns is offline
Level 5 user
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Warwickshire UK
Posts: 87
Re: Polish cement

You could try using a hard wax, something based on carnauba wax (eg car body polishes and some mould release pastes) might be good.

It is also worth experimenting with formulating your own waxes once you get a feel for how the various ingredients interact you can fine tune the proportions to get exactly the properties you want for example :

- Beeswax : very soft and sticky
- Paraffin wax : fairly hard and somewhat brittle
- Carnauba wax : very hard, takes a high gloss
- Microcrystaline wax : medium hard and very plastic, good environmental durability.
- Rosin : increases hardness and firmness in small quantities.
- Solvents : blend with the main ingredients to produce pastes which are brushable at room temperature eg white spirit or naptha.
- mineral oils and grease : adds fluidity and self-stick, small quantities can mitigate whitening of thick layers but tends to reduce hardness.

Another option is Shellac this can be an effective sealant on porous material without the 'plastic' look that you can get from some synthetic lacquers, can be polished to a high gloss (with some effort) and finished with a hard wax. Downsides are that it has a slight yellow or orange tint (depending on the grade) and isn't very moisture resistant.

You could also try using a clear, low viscosity polymer resin of the type used for encapsulating etc there are various types including Polyurethane, Polyester, Epoxy and Acrylic all of which have their own pros and cons.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 07-12-2016, 05:58 AM
Dries's Avatar
Dries Dries is offline
Level 8 user
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: South Africa
Posts: 225
Re: Polish cement

Hi Chris,
Thank you very much for the info, I am sure that one of the suggested methods will help me to achieve the desired surface.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


Sculpture Community, Sculpture.net
International Sculpture Center, Sculpture.org
vBulletin, Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Russ RuBert