Casting the Earlham Castoroides, Part 10

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We’re almost finished with the initial cast of the giant beaver. There are still a few bones left to mold, and five missing bones will be sculpted later. The first copy will be staying at Earlham, but we’ll be taking the molds back to VMNH to make several additional copies (we’ve actually already half completed the first VMNH copy).

The original bones from the Earlham specimen are mounted and on exhibit at the Joseph Moore Museum. There was a pretty high-quality cast of this specimen made about 30 years ago, and we’ve mostly been working off that cast so that we didn’t have to take apart the mounted skeleton. However, there seem to be a few bones the were never cast (or perhaps the casts have been lost), including part of the sternum and the right clavicle. These bones are on the mounted specimen, but to save time and prevent damage we didn’t want to remove them. Instead, we’re molding them in place:

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By mixing a sticky, extra-high viscosity batch of silicone, we were able to apply the silicone to the underside of the bones, and then wrapped them in aluminum foil to keep them in place:

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Tomorrow we’ll see if the molds were successful. We expect to begin pouring the last molds from the other bones tomorrow as well.

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