Katherine, how do you keep the investment "artificial tufa"
dust from getting all over everything? From my experiance investment
is pretty nasty stuff.
Are you talking about when you’re casting it, or as you’re working
Before casting, you stabilize it with a sodium silicate solution.
This gives you a hard shell which prevents it from flaking or
deteriorating. It also means you’re not going to do any additional
carving on it. It allows you to do multiple casting without
significant deterioration of the mold.
When working in it, it’s not necessary to use power tools. Working
with hand tools keeps the dust relatively contained in a small area. I
happen to do my carvings sitting at the kitchen table with a
wastebasket nearby, usually while I’m watching TV with the family,
talking, or doing the homeschooling bit. The dust can be cleaned up
from the smooth surfaces of the table and floor with just a wet paper
towel. I don’t generally blow the dust off of the carving, but instead
knock it out against the side of the wastebasket. For my final check,
I’ll use a very soft sable brush to get out most of the dust, brushing
away from me or anyone else, of course. Just before using the sodium
silicate solution to stabilize the mold, I take it outside and give it
a good dusting with some canned air I use for dusting the computer.
We have pretty much constant wind where I live, so getting upwind
isn’t a big problem.
My other blocks which I haven’t yet carved, but which are thoroughly
dry, I store in plastic bags on top of my compartmented drawers. I
don’t have to worry about the dust from the investment floating
around, and I don’t have to worry about household dust getting on the
blocks. I’m not the best housekeeper in the world, after all.
I hope this addresses your concerns about contamination and exposure
to silicosis. You’re smart to have concerns about the safety of
working the material. Tufa and cuttle bone are every bit as hazardous,
as well as a plethora of things we work with every day in our line of
work. Like anything else, being aware of the hazards is the first step
in prevention. Reasonable precautions takes care of the rest.
With sincere regards,