Reconstructing Buttercup, Part 7

2013-11-05aToday we took a big step forward in our effort to reconstruct and produce a replica of “Buttercup” one of our juvenile baleen whales from Carmel Church. With my last update we had completed the silicone mold for the dorsal half of the cranium, and had flipped it over to begin pouring the ventral side mold. We started that last week (above).

The ventral side mold took seven coats, or about 1.5 gallons, of silicone:

2013-11-05bAfter the last coat of silicone was dry, we added a plaster-and-fiberglass mother mold, to help the silicone hold its shape:


2013-11-05dOnce the mother mold was cured, we drilled bolt holes so we can put the two halves of the mold back together, and opened the mold to remove the master copy of the cranium:

2013-11-05eWith the master copy removed, we added some blocks of styrofoam to the braincase to reduced the weight of the resin replicas, then closed the mold and bolted the two halves together:

2013-11-05fFinally we were ready to start pouring the resin for our first attempt at a replica:



After 244 ounces of resin, the mold was full and we left it overnight to cure. This morning we opened the mold to see how it had come out:

2013-11-05hIt was an almost perfect pour, with just one small air bubble and thin flash lines. It took about an hour to clean up the flash lines and add the jugals and the tympanic bullae (which were molded as separate pieces):


2013-11-05jAnd with that we have our first replica of “Buttercup’s” reconstructed cranium!

We’ll be displaying “Buttercup’s” cranium for the first time at the North Carolina Fossil Fair on November 16. We also plan to have a limited number of copies of this and other fossils available for purchase, if you’ve always wanted your very own copy of a fossil whale!







This entry was posted in "Buttercup", Carmel Church mysticetes, Carmel Church Quarry, Chesapeake Group, Paleontological techniques. Bookmark the permalink.

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