Q. If the Algiform Slow Set is setting too slowly for my purposes, is there any way to speed it up?

A. If you find that your Algiform Slow Set is too slow for you, you can add a small amount of Algiform Regular Set to your mix; anything between 10% and 25% will speed-it-up so that it will set within 4-minutes (25% Regular Set) or 7-minutes (10% Regular Set). Slow Set is not meant to be used in small quantities of one-and-one-half-pounds or less. If you do that, it would take more than 15 minutes to set. It is really meant for full head molds, using two-and-a-half-pounds; and for larger portions of the body, mixing up much more than two-and-a-half-pounds. Also, the consistency of the mix (proportion of Algiform to water) makes a big difference. When we mix-it-up here, we add enough Algiform to the water so that when we lift our mixer out of the Algiform, it does not immediately drip or even sag off of the mixer. This is a “thick” mix. So, the consistency (viscosity) in combination with the volume of the batch, is what will give you your eight minutes of working time. If you are using the material in a thinner, more fluid form (unlike what I have described here), you need to add some regular set to the mix at the end, just before it reaches the consistency you like. It doesn’t take much regular set to change the working time significantly. When working alone, I need the full working time of slow-set to complete a full head mold (including hair etc.), which uses about two-and-one-half-pounds of Slow Set (depending on the size of the model), mixed to a thick consistency.

Q. What about international shipping?  

A.  We can ship to most international destinations by the U.S. Postal Service.  Insurance is limited for delivery to some destinations, and the customer must accept responsibility for any package sent under-insured, either due to postal limitations or by the customer’s own choice.  

Duty and customs clearance vary from country to country and item to item.  Please check with your own country’s regulations to determine what charges you can expect on delivery.  We cannot assume any responsibility for those charges and will not accept return of merchandise for full credit when it is refused for delivery.


Q. How soon will my order ship after it is placed?

A. Most orders ship within 24-48 hours; however, if we are currently out-of-stock on an item, it may take longer. International clients should allow an extra five days before shipping. This allows us time to pack and ship the order, prepare the paperwork etc.


Q. What are some of the differences between a life-mold made in
Algiform and one made in Ply-O-Life, and why might I choose
one over the other?

A. Algiform (alginate) is a skin-safe, water-based mold-making
medium. Because it is water-based, the mold should be cast-
into on the same day as it is made; otherwise, evaporation of the
water content will result in shrinkage, distortion and cracking of
the mold. Following removal of the positive casting from the
mold, the mold must be discarded. It is therefore a “waste mold.”

Ply-O-Life (silicone rubber) is also skin-safe, but it produces a
permanent rubber mold. Once cured, it is extremely stable and
will last through many castings without deterioration.

Only materials that are compatible with moisture (such as plaster
and Forton etc.) can be cast directly into an alginate mold.
However, in addition to plaster, Forton , and wax (etc.); many
types of plastic resins may be cast directly into a Ply-O-Life
mold without even the need for a separator.

Algiform will release from hair much more easily than will
Ply-O-Life. A generous application of vaseline or cholesterol
hair conditioner must be applied to all areas of hair that will be
will be included in a Ply-O-Life mold, including eyebrows, eye-
lashes and temples. If, as is sometimes the case with very wiry
beards and coarse hair (even body hair), the hair cannot be made
to lie flat no matter how much vaseline is applied; these areas
should either be shaved or molded with Algiform , as the hair
will become embedded in Ply-O-Life.

Cured Ply-O-Life will bond to fresh Ply-O-Life ; however, cured Algiform alginate will not bond to fresh Algiform unless the surface is specially prepared (see Studio Buzz for details on “how to…”!)

Q. Approximately how much material is required to make a full body
mold, excluding the head? (Don’t ever attempt to include the head in a full body mold! Always mold the head separately.)

A. Assuming that the model is a small adult (about 5-ft. tall) we
can estimate the amount of the following materials that will be
required for each different type of mold:

Gypsona Plaster Bandage..………….about 3 boxes (36 rolls: each, 6″ X 5-yds. long) Approx. the same amount is required, whether the bandage is used as a direct mold or as a support shell for a mold made of either Ply-O-Life orAlgiform.
Algiform Slow Set…………………about one 22-lb. barrel

Ply-O-Life………………………….at least 13 X 4-lb. kits (more, if the model is bigger.)

Q. Approximately how much material is required to make a full
head mold?

A. Gypsona Plaster Bandage…………………3-4 rolls (used only
as a support shell for Algiform or Ply-O-Life molds.)

Algiform Slow Set…………………..about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds

Ply-O-Life……………………………about 4-5 pounds

Q. How can one estimate the amount of material required to fill
any specific mold?

A. A handy formula that we like to use is as follows:

“Width X Length X Depth (of mold) = Total Cubic Inches of
Material required to fill the mold.”

(There are 231 cubic inches in one gallon of material.)


Q. How much Algiform Slow Set is required to fill a Simplaflex Leg Form?

A. Approx. three-quarters of a 22-lb barrel of Algiform Slow Set is required to fill a Leg Form.

Q. What might inhibit the cure of Ply-O-Life ?

A. We have identified three things which can adversely affect the cure of Ply-O-Life:

1) Clays containing sulphur. Use only sulphur-free clays with Ply-O-Life. We have Chavant sulphur-free clay available for purchase at $5.00 per two-pound block.

2) Skin lotions containing aloe. Moisturizers that are compatible with Ply-O-Life include Neutragena and Nivea. We recommend that you test any other brands to determine their compatibility with Ply-O-Life.

3) Some latex bald-caps. Again; we recommend that you make a small test to determine compatibility.


Q. Is there anything I can do to increase the “flow” of Ply-O-Life?

A. You can add between 5% and 20% of our Silicone Fluid to your Ply-O-Life to make it less viscous (more fluid). At $20. per pound, it also extends your more expensive Ply-O-Life, and gives it a little more working time.

Q. How much Forton is required to cast a positive in a full body mold?

A. Approx. three-quarters of a Sculptor Kit of Forton is sufficient to hollow-cast (with fiberglass reinforcing) a full body mold.


Q. How much biaxial fiberglass is required to reinforce a full body cast in Forton ?

A. Four to five square yards of biaxial fiberglass is sufficient to reinforce a full body cast in Forton.


Q. Where can I get FGR-95 to use with the Forton Sculptors Kit and how much will I need?

A. If you can’t find FGR-95 at your local builders’ supply company, you can telephone U.S. GYPSUM at 1 (800) 621-9532 for the name and phone number of your nearest distributor. If no distributor can supply your needs, you can order FGR-95 from us (although we do not include it on our price-list because, due to the heavy shipping weight, it is generally more economical for you to obtain it close to your own location).

You will need approximately 80-lbs. of FGR-95 for a Sculptors Kit. We must re-package the FGR-95 in plastic shipping barrels to ship it to you. Two barrels hold 80-lbs., and the cost is $1.00 per pound of FGR plus $10. per plastic barrel. So a shipment of 80-lbs. of FGR-95 would cost you $80. plus $20. (for two barrels); plus the shipping cost which is determined by destination. Please call us for an exact quote.


Q. How should I thicken the Forton for hollow-casting?

A. When you are hollow-casting in Forton, you can use cabosil to thicken the Forton for the “face coat” (first layer of material laid-up against the interior of the mold) so that it isn’t too runny when you brush it into the mold. Or you can achieve the same thickening by adding accelerator. For details on accelerator use, please refer to the Forton instructions.

If you choose Cabosil: It is an extremely fine silica powder. You should wear a dust mask when you are mixing it into the Forton , as it is very light and sort of floats in the air, making it very easy to accidentally inhale. Cabosil may be purchased from most boat supply stores and most places selling plastic resins (for which it is also used as a thickening agent.) It is quite inexpensive.

Add the cabosil to the face coat Forton after the components have been mixed-in. You should add the cabosil slowly, observing the gradual change in consistency, until it is something like the consistency of mayonaise. For a good face coat mixture, the Forton must be easily brushable, but not runny. If you add too much cabosil, it will become thick and putty-like, and you won’t get good surface contact. There is a risk of trapping air-pockets.

Once you have the correct consistenty, lay the thickened Forton into the mold to a thickness of one-eighth of an inch. It is not necessary to add cabosil to the Forton that is used in the next layer to laminate fiberglass to the face coat.


Q. What sort of pigments can I use with Forton ?

A. We recommend water-base pigments (although others may work if you test them first). Pre-dispersed pigments are easier to mix-in than are powdered pigments.


Q. How much will a casting made in Reducit shrink?

A. In one stage of reduction, your Reducit casting will shrink
to about half of its original volume. This will represent only
about 1/3 reduction in terms of its dimensional measurements


Q. How do I prevent my broad, flat Reducit casting from warping while it shrinks?

A. You will find the answer to this in paragraph five of the section,”Casting your REDUCIT positive” in the product information regarding Reducit that appears on this website.


Q. When is the best time to reach Mark Prent by telephone regarding technical questions?

A. Mark Prent is generally available by telephone most Thursdays and Fridays, from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.


Q. What is the shelf life of Algiform, Reducit and Ply-O-Life products?

A. Algiform Slow Set, Algiform Regular Set, and Reducit all should be stored tightly closed and used within nine-months of their purchase. Ply-O-Life should also be stored in tightly closed containers, but it does not have a limited shelf-life and seems to be useable almost indefinitely.


Q. What is the policy regarding return of ordered materials?

A. Unopened materials are generally accepted for return within ten days of delivery; however a 20% re-stocking fee is charged, and the client is responsible for shipping fees, both ways. Videos will only be accepted for return if the shrink-wrap has not been opened.

Returns totalling $300. or more can only be honored with store credit.

We will not accept return of custom-cut or  pre-measured materials (such as thermoplastics, fiberglass, pigments and Silicone-10); nor can we accept return of special-order items.


Q. Can I use an electric kitchen mixer to mix Algiform ?

A. An electric kitchen mixer is not suitable for mixing any of our materials. We recommend that you only use a Jiffy Mixer attatched to a high-speed drill. Kitchen mixers do not revolve at the speeds necessary to quickly and thoroughly mix materials so that you can have adequate working time. Even most battery-driven electric drills will not revolve at adequate speeds to mix your materials in optimum time. Also, kitchen mixers are designed to draw air into a mixture. Jiffy Mixers are designed to exclude as much air as possible so that you will not have a lot of air-bubbles trapped in your mold or casting.

Q. How can I make a container-type Algiform Regular Set hand mold?

A. In order to create a mold of a single hand, a cylinder-type of form can be made out of some flexible material (such as SIMPLAFLEX). The diameter of a cylinder to accomodate an average size hand would be about 5 1/2 to 5 3/4 inches. The length of the cylinder should be about 12-inches to 13-inches, (to include the wrist or slightly above the wrist.) If you have an above-average size hand, or are holding an object, your cylinder will have to be made larger in diameter, and you may have to use a longer cylinder. You wil need anywhere from one-and one-half to two-pounds of ALGIFORM Regular Set
for this size of cylinder.

The cylinder should be fitted with a disc, cut from the same material and taped to the bottom, turning the cylinder into a container. All of the seams should be very well-taped closed in order to make the container leak-proof.

Test for the amount of material you will need, by almost filling the cylinder with cool-to-cold water, and immersing your hand in the water. Your hand will displace some of the water. The water remaining in the cylinder after this displacement, will represent the correct volume of water to use for your mold. This volume of water should then be placed in a different container for mixing with the ALGIFORM. Your cylinder should now be empty.

Adding the ALGIFORM to the water will not increase the volume. Always use a medium-size JIFFY MIXER attatched to a high-speed drill to mix your material. Add the ALGIFORM Regular Set to the pre-measured water and mix as quickly as possible until it is perfectly smooth. The consistency should be a little like honey, somewhat thick but still pourable. Too liquidy a mix will cause more air-bubbles to be in the material. Pour this immediately into the cylinder and immerse your hand in it. Inititally, you should move your hand around in the ALGIFORM mixture to prevent air bubbles from staying trapped between your hand (fingers) and the cylinder wall. Your fingers should never touch the cylinder.

The ALGIFORM will set within a minute or so (provided that it took about one minute to mix and pour into the cylinder.) Once the ALGIFORM is quite firm, you may remove your hand. Move hand around, working it away from the mold so that air can work its way down to the fingers in order to release the suction. To unmold the ALGIFORM, just cut the taped seam. The cylinder can later be re-taped to use again.


Q. How should Ply-O-Life be used in conjunction with Gord Smith’s FX Smith methodology?

A. If you are using the FX Smith methodology it is essential that you add 25-30% Silicone Fluid to your Ply-O-Life. Otherwise, it will be extremely hard; and, when you push against your “buttons” to facilitate release from the support shell, you will bruise your model.


Q. Do we supply complete skull replicas of the same quality and detail as our disarticulated skull replicas?

A. Yes; we can permanently assemble one of our disarticulated skulls into a full skull. This will retain all of the intricate details of our disarticulated sets, since each part will be individually cast and then joined with the rest of the parts to form a complete skull. The price of this completely assembled skull is $850.


Q. I want to cast my small project in plain Forton without using metal powders, is there a Starter Kit that is right for me?

A. Yes. We now offer a new “Generous Forton Starter Kit” that contains more of the powdered components you will need in order to do a plain casting. Please read all about it on our new revised Forton information page.