Experimenting with Patinas.
Achieving different finishes with metals is always great fun to do – Sculpt Nouveau Patina products allow this to be done safely and simply.
Applying patina products is great fun and really effective – all of the above were done cold and at room temperature.
Studio Furniture and Armatures –
Modified Student Stand (an example of how Tiranti can help customers):
Our extensive range of Modelling Stands, includes our metal Sketch and Student stands – robust, easy to use and lightweight. The aluminium folding legs give a very stable working platform for a variety of student modelling applications.
You can find the standard version of this modified unit here – https://tiranti.co.uk/products/student-stand-fixed-top-skid-feet
A customer rang the other day with a request – “I see you offer a version of the Student Stand 300 mm shorter – can you also fit it with the ball feet?” – The answer was of course “YES”
The customer then asked “how quickly can I have it?” – The answer was “10-14 days from order”
In fact our very talented workshop staff managed to turn the unit around in 7 days!
The result is a very high quality product at a reasonable price (we dont charge any extra for the shortened legs and mechanism – the ball feet option was an extra £ 80.00) – we should have charged more!
Studio Equipment and Armatures are an important products and service offered by Tiranti, we always offer our customers the best products and value for money.
We offer a vast range of armatures, modelling stands, turntables, for modelling and sculpture. Allowing the sculptor to position the workpiece at a comfortable working height. Making the sculpting task easier!
Sculpting tools and equipment where the foundation of the Alec Tiranti’s trade over a century ago, and they remain at the core of our business today. Few pleasures compare to adding the finishing touches to a finely crafted artwork, as unique as it is beautiful. However, if an artist is called upon to produce further examples of an existing design, a dilemma arises. It is impossible to re-create any existing piece perfectly, such is the nature of handmade articles. And it would likely take an artist longer to try to mimic an existing piece than it did to produce the work in the first place.
At this point, the artist may use a mould to produce multiple replicas of the piece without having to toil for countless hours over handmade re-creations. Modern mould making materials allow moulds to be produced quickly and easily, and these can then be used repeatedly to manufacture complete sets of pieces. The process is quite different from industrial mouldmaking, which usually involves heavier materials and a variety of machinery to produce many thousands of examples of a product. Artistic mould making equipment is much more delicate, the process more tactile. In keeping with the creativity of the craft of sculpture, the creation and use of sculpting moulds depends very much on the skill and dexterity of the producer.
At one time artists had to struggle with materials like wood, clay and plaster to create the moulds to replicate their works. Modern mould making materials, however, are manufactured with convenience and ease of use firmly in mind.
Liquid latex can be used with a wide range of sculpting materials, such as cements, plasters, waxes, and some resins. Pre-vulcanised latex is supplied as a liquid which dries at room temperature and can be applied to a piece by brushing or dipping. Latex thickeners are available to allow you to build up layers faster when coating pieces which do not feature fine details.
Silicone rubber can also be used to coat a range of sculpting materials, however, it’s important to choose the right consistency for the type of sculpture. If you need to check which is the best product for your purposes, feel free to contact our team for advice. RTV-101 is a specialist silicone rubber which can withstand exceptionally high temperatures, making it suitable for moulding metal items.
Polyurethane rubber dries to a hard consistency, making it ideal for capturing fine details. It is separated from the piece using a spray-on releasing agent.
Alginate is versatile, non-toxic and easy to use. It is a favourite with special effects artists and is ideal for creating masks and moulding body parts.
Hot melt vinyl rubber provides superior quality moulds without the need for preparing or release agents. However, handling the material when hot can be a challenge for beginners.
Other Mouldmaking Equipment
Alec Tiranti also supplies mould making equipment such as release agents, melting pots and application tools, for use with the above materials.
Casting is the process of using a mould to replicate its features, whereby a positive reproduction is taken from the negative of the mould. Beginners will want to start by using basic casting plaster to craft their products, but it is also possible to use heated wax or a low melt alloy, as well as using resins to chemically activate it. It is also recommended to use release agents, in order to stop the casting material from bonding to the mould, as well as for preventing any damage. Here we will cover some of the key elements when it comes to casting.
We have an extensive collection of products for casting plaster for whatever purpose you can imagine. Along with these basic materials, we also stock related products such as bowls, brushes, and knives. The plasters on offer have a different measure of strength and setting times, so be sure to select the one that is right for you. Additionally, we stock high alumina cement that sets in just 24 hours, and is also suitable for outdoor use.
When it comes to resins, we offer these in polyester, polyurethane and epoxy. Our polyester resins are available in combination with an array of different pigments for colouring clear and opaque resins alike, as well as offering a liquid hardener. When lasting or laminating with polyester resin it is often an essential step to also use parting or release agents, which we also stock here at Alec Tiranti. Polyurethane resins are ideal when casting with model kits, figures, for foundry tooling and for pattern making. Epoxy resin has a subtle straw-colour, and is great for asting, embedding, cold enamelling and coating. In addition, we also provide a range of resin sundries.
We have a number of general fillers for polyester resin, which are used for a range of reasons. Fillers can often help to improve hardness, scratch resistance and thixotropic qualities (having a viscosity that decreases when a stress is applied, as when stirred). Examples include marble, state and synthetic onyx. Furthermore, we have an extensive range of metal fillers, including aluminium, bronze, brass, copper and iron.
We have a range of tin alloys, which are suitable for hand or machine casting. We also stock a range of suitable tools, including electric metal melting pots, ladles, an ingot mould, sprue cutter, and bearing metal. The colour will stay the same when heated, and recommended temperatures are given, so care should be taken not to overheat the material.
Lastly, we stock the Centricast, which is a centrifugal casting and mould-making machine. This is ideal if you need to produce repeatable quantities of small objects. As well as the machine, we also offer mould plates, mould rings, former plugs, mould opener screws, stud clamps, and thumb nuts.
For more information about our products for casting, or any other items on our site, please get in touch with the team by filling out our web contact form, or by emailing us at email@example.com. Further details about how to contact us in either Thatcham or London can also be found on our contact page. A member of our staff will be pleased to assist you.
Here at Alec Tiranti, we have a wide variety of modelling tools that are perfect for sculptors. Although such tools are mostly used with clay, we have a range of categories, which includes an extensive collection of clay modelling tools, as well as those for wax. Other categories include those specifying the material of the tool, such as stainless steel, metal plaster, or wire. Read on to find out more about what we offer.
Clay Modelling Tools
In our clay modelling range, we offer hardwood tools for students, as well as those for professional usage. We also have plastic modelling tools, which are ideal for children and beginners, and those which combine materials. Additionally, we also stock clay shapers, which offers a new approach to working with clay and other materials, and finger tools, which are designed to shape fingers, toes, and hair texture, and are made of glass-infused plastic. Furthermore, our clay guns or extruders are ideal for creating extrusions for modelling and coil building. Lastly, we have a range of rubber kidney palettes used for pressing and smoothing clay in a mould.
Wax Modelling Tools
We have a selection of tools for use with wax, which are suitable for use with an alcohol burner, also stocked on our site. Our wax modelling tools are made from a fine stainless steel. We stock spare wick for alcohol burners, which provides you with a clean flame on methylated spirits and is vital when working with wax. The stainless-steel wax tools are available individually or as part of a set of nine tools, and measure around 15cm in length.
Our range of dental modelling tools are supplied as a set of twelve, but can also be purchased individually. With the precision and quality of tools used in dentistry, the finest details can be achieved when used in sculpting. They measure at approximately 14.5cm long and feature our usual textured grip to enable you to get a firm hold of your modelling instruments.
Modelling Tool Materials
We also stock a range of other modelling tools, including wire tools, which feature wire in various shapes at both ends of the tool, with a plethora of different sizes available. We offer a wide range of products in our stainless-steel category, with some tools catering to the needs of wax, and others of clay. These versatile tools can be used for a variety of purposes, including polymer clays, plastiline, and even plaster. We also stock a range of larger metal plaster tools, such as spatulas and griffons. Other products include flexible steel scrapers and joint rules.
If you have any questions about our range of modelling tools, or any other products, please get in touch with us by completing our web contact form, or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find out more details about how to contact us in either Thatcham or London from our contact page. A member of our team will be happy to help you.
Stone is a material famous for being hard-wearing, and as a result it has played an important part in human history. Most of the oldest relics of human civilization from around the world are stone articles, be they tools, weapons, or artistic pieces like figurines. Ever since then, stone carving has maintained its popularity, as a way of producing items which would prevail under the harshest conditions. Flint was an ideal material for arrowheads, and hunters used a technique called ‘knapping’ to create the shapes they wanted. When excavating the remains of ancient cities around the world, archaeologists have found many stone statues – some weighing hundreds of tons – created to celebrate the heroes and gods of the ancient world. Some of the most notable historical architecture has been the result of extensive stone carving, from Petra in Jordan to the neo-gothic cathedrals of many European cities. And many cultures still practice the tradition of inscribing the names of the deceased onto stones which will mark their final resting place and serve as a lasting memorial.
The techniques used to create stone sculptures of all kinds have changed little over the years. However, this doesn’t mean stone carving is an easy skill to truly master; ancient masterpieces like Michelangelo’s David still enthral enthusiasts and experts today. We can be sure that the old masters would only ever have used the very best tools available to them. Likewise today, any artist – whether they are a seasoned professional or a novice working on their first piece – can only hope to achieve the results they desire if they use first class stone carving tools.
Many first-time sculptors choose to start out with a stone carving kit. These comprise of all the basic tools you need to start out in your new hobby, and each individual piece can be upgraded as you progress. The biggest advantage of stone carving kits is that quality stone masonry tools in general can be quite expensive. Buying a kit is more cost effective than buying all the items individually, and you can always augment your collection if you see another tool which you think would be useful.
The primary tools for any budding stonemason are a hammer and chisel. With just these two basic items, it is quite possible to give yourself a good start in this enjoyable hobby. It’s worth remembering that stone is a very hard material, and after a while all stone carving chisels need sharpening. It won’t take long to get to this point if you are working in marble or granite. Diamond whetstones are the best way to keep your tools in peak condition, so that may be the next item to buy.
Alec Tiranti have been one of the leading suppliers of stone carving tools in the UK for many decades, and we know how important quality stone carving tools are to the dedicated professional and the hobbyist alike. Please see our website for our full range of stone carving supplies.
Studio Furniture & Armatures
An artist’s studio is their sanctuary, a haven from a world of fickle and changeable tastes, a place where they can fully express themselves without distraction. Whether their chosen medium is photography or painting, music or dance, this is where the mundane matters of life must yield to the purity and idealism of art.
The walls may be decorated with inspirational works of other artists, or objects from everyday life which by form, colour or texture, capture some value which will find expression in the works produced here. Each and every item has its own place, its specific reason for being there. The character of the workspace must resonate with the soul of the artist, must inspire their spirit.
On a practical level, most sculptors prefer a minimalist studio environment, one which will allow their internal creativity to flourish unhindered. A bright, uncluttered workspace means enhanced convenience with minimum distractions. There may be little more in the space than the tools of the trade: carving benches, modelling stands, and other studio furniture. Meticulously keeping all your tools and equipment in place means they are easily accessible, poised for the moment of inspiration.
There can be few more evocative images than that of an artisan skilfully working away at a carving bench. While it is the piece itself which is the focal point of the scene, the pedestal on which it stands is more than just a structure of wood and metal; it has a character all of its own. It is a nexus of creativity, with its own heritage of a hundred such works. Any of the quality carving benches, modelling stands, and other studio furniture supplied by Alec Tiranti will make a worthy centrepiece for your studio workspace.
On entering a sculptor’s studio, between the tool chests and carving stands, an observer may be fascinated to spot one or several armatures. An armature is a sculpture modelling stand, which is used to support the materials during the creation of a piece. They can sometimes also be used to display the finished item afterwards.
If a piece is to use an internal armature, then the construction of that armature will likely be the first step of the whole process after the concept and design are settled upon. Internal armatures are often made from copper or aluminium wire, and are made by bending and twisting the wire to form a frame which will later be ‘fleshed out’ by the main material. The malleability of metal wire means it is particularly suitable for fashioning organic shapes such as plants and animals; in the latter case, the armature effectively acts as a ‘skeleton’, supporting the body and each of the limbs. Some modern materials allow the armature to remain inside as an integral part of the piece, but in the case of traditional clay sculpture the metal must be removed before firing, unless using Nichrome Wire which is especially designed for this purpose.
Please see the Alec Tiranti website for full details of all our studio furniture and armature supplies.
Ceramics & Pottery Overview
Pottery is it one of the oldest crafts in human history; ceramic artefacts are of key importance to archaeologists when determining the age and cultural identity of a given site. This is because techniques and styles have developed progressively over time and in different parts of the world, to the end that each period and culture has its own identifying marks.
As with so many other crafts, the industrial revolution brought sweeping changes. Mass production of crockery quickly supplanted the artisans who previously manufactured these items by hand. At the same time, innovations in pottery equipment such as ceramic tools, dipping glazes and underglazes, as well as kiln accessories, made it much easier for amateur enthusiasts to pursue pottery as a hobby, and for artists to achieve greater levels of expression.
These days, it’s easier than it has ever been to enjoy this uniquely satisfying and practical craft. The standard of readily available pottery materials has never been higher, and when shopping for pottery supplies UK hobbyists need look no further than Alec Tiranti. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular pottery equipment available to buy from this famous London retailer.
The knives, needles and rollers in Alec Tiranti’s pottery tools section are similar to the traditional tools which have been used by craftspeople for centuries. However, modern manufacturing allows for these essential items to be produced to consistently high standards using quality materials. These are joined by more modern pottery equipment such as electric potters’ wheels and extrusion guns. Learning to get the best from such a vast range of ceramic tools will always be a long process, but by insisting on quality pottery supplies every step of the way the journey will always be enjoyable and fulfilling.
Kilns and Kiln Accessories
The most important properties of clay as a material are that it can be easily worked in its raw state, then fired to produce a hard and resilient object. Craftspeople of bygone times would marvel at how modern technology allows us to site powerful and reliable kilns right in our homes. Alec Tiranti supply gas and electric powered kilns of various sizes, along with props, shelves, and various other kiln accessories for any kind of ceramic craft.
Glazes for Pottery
Pottery glazes are what really made ceramics practical and therefore useful in so many ancient civilizations. Fired clay is porous, but adding a pottery glaze strengthens the surface of the piece and at the same time waterproofs it. It’s no wonder that ceramic crockery has been used in kitchens all over the world for thousands of years.
Ceramics is a craft with many facets, and to get the best results, whether your piece is decorative or practical, the right pottery glaze must be used. Tiranti offers a range of pottery glazes that artists can rely on; these include stoneware glazes; underglazes and glaze crystals for added sparkle; or underglaze pencils can be used to create unique decorative effects.
Sundries and Health & Safety
We love the artistic process; creating something new, beautiful and inspiring where there was nothing before; however, it’s important that no one should ever have to suffer for their art. We all want to live long, healthy lives, and enjoy the fruits of our labours for many years to come. That being so, we should always be conscious of the health risks associated with our chosen art, and how to avoid them. There are various health and safety accessories available for sculptors and other craft enthusiasts, and as always, Alec Tiranti can supply quality products at exceptional prices. Our health and safety products include:
As the most delicate exposed parts of our bodies, our eyes need special protection in many different situations – we wear sunglasses when it’s sunny, swimming goggles when we go swimming, and so on. We should pay particular attention to protecting our eyes when handling art materials as many crafting processes create dust, fumes, or bright light which could all damage our eyes in different ways. For example, wood turning produces very fine dust and this can cause health problems which may not be immediately apparent; or when using a grinder on metal or stone, it is not unusual for chunks of the material to fly off at high speed. It only takes a moment for what was a normal day to become a very serious situation if you have forgotten to use appropriate eye protection.
Respirators are also an essential item of safety equipment for many artists. The damage done to your respiratory system by dust and fumes may take years to manifest itself, by which time the damage might be irreversible. To return to our previous example concerning woodcraft, it has been shown that carpenters and joiners are four times more likely to suffer from asthma than other UK workers. No matter how clean you keep your work area, it is almost impossible to keep the air clear of the tiny particles which result from sanding and finishing. Breathing in this wood dust can cause allergic reactions and mucosal respiratory symptoms; this has been shown to cause cancer of the nose. The fumes from some materials can also be very dangerous, leading to breathing problems or the build up of toxic substances in the blood and organs. For example, Clear Guard resin lacquer is one of our most popular metal finishing products, but the hazard information on the side of the tin leads us to recommend it only be used with goggles and a mask or respirator. Metal cleaner is another product which must be handled extremely carefully.
We also offer a selection of workroom equipment to facilitate tasks such as mixing materials and preparing resins. Resin sundries include calibrated mixing beakers, mixing bowls, spatulas, syringes, aprons and digital scales. As with all products offered by Alec Tiranti, we have taken care to source the best tools in each category and make them available to our customers.
Clear Cast Resin Paperweight
I’ve worked with polyester resins in the past, but having never tried an embedding before I decided to try one out.
David, our new manager, asked if I would be willing to make a paperweight from sugar butterflies his wife was using on a cake for an upcoming wedding, as this would make a perfect accompanying gift.
I watched this video, got my materials together, and was ready to give it a go!
I poured this into the mold to form a first layer.
In this case, I then inserted the first sugar butterfly into the resin, carefully positioning it to give the impression of floating. This would become the ‘top’ butterfly once the piece was finished.
I then allowed the resin to gel.
After around 45 minutes I was ready to mix up another small amount of resin and add the second layer. This time I allowed the resin to gel fully before positioning the second small butterfly.
I then mixed up a third batch, poured it, and allowed it to gel again. I then carefully positioned the large butterfly.
I then poured a fourth layer of resin to give some space between the large butterfly and the base, giving this layer plenty of time to gel before preparing the final base layer.
To make the base, I mixed up one small amount of resin with our Marble Filler Powder, and another with our Marble Filler Coarse. I poured the powder mixture into the mold first, then poured the course mixture directly into the center of the mold above it; the heavier course marble was then able to sink through the powder marble, creating a two-tone effect.
I wanted to make sure that the resin had fully set before de-molding the final piece. Two days later the moment of truth arrived!
I was very happy with the result. There were a few air bubbles but nothing major- very good for a first try!
Here is the final piece given a good polishing and the base given a beveled edge, ready to be given as a gift…
And the cake that it is an accompaniment to…
Restoration and Finishing
Achieving a satisfactory finish on any sculpture, model or other piece is critical to the success of the project. Here at Alec Tiranti, we stock a wide range of tools and products which will allow you to realize the effect you’re searching for without compromising on quality and visual effect.
Stencil brushes use firmly packed bristles and a round cross section to make for effective stencilling on any material. Stencilling is one of the most popular ways to add decoration to your projects in a number of crafts, and these high-quality brushes will give excellent results every time when used in conjunction with our first class paints and lacquers.
Metal Finishing Products
We stock an extensive range of metal finishing products and tools, including:
- Supplies of gold and metal leaf
- Gesso, a plaster of Paris compound used as a base for gilding
- Burnishing tools used to polish the metal by scraping
- Pewter sheet, copper and aluminium foil
- Steel wool
- Metal cleaner
- Metal oil
- Various patina paint effects for metal
- Clear Guard and Smart Coat protective top coats
Between all these products, it is possible to achieve almost any metallic effect you can imagine. When using metal finishing products it is important always to start with a good metal cleaner to avoid the finish becoming contaminated. For the aged or weathered look of a patina finish take a look at our range of brush on and spray on patina paint. These products are hugely popular at the moment and create stunning finishes on all kinds of metal surfaces. Highly realistic oxidisation effects can be achieved, adding age and authenticity to models and art alike. Find the perfect traditional patina finish for your project from our Sculpt Nouveau range. We are the sole UK distributor for these products which merge traditional designs with modern science.
Knives are probably the world’s most universal tool, being put to work in kitchens, workshops, laboratories, campsites and a dozen other settings the world over. And each of these applications has its own perfect blade, which is just the right size, shape or profile for that particular task. The sculptors, model makers and other crafts people who shop with us work in a variety of media and on many different scales, and you can be sure that in our craft knives section we have just the tool you need for your next project. Whether you’re working with paper, clay, wood, rubber, or any other soft material, you can be sure these high quality yet affordable tools will enable you to finish your projects to a higher standard than ever.
Squirrel brushes are a product which just keeps on coming back. Our customers love the unparalleled capacity and delightful softness of squirrel hair, which allow you to wash large areas without disturbing previous layers of paint. If you are a watercolour artist, be sure to give them a try.
Files and Abrasives
Files are one of the oldest known tools, with some historians being of the belief that the use of stones as filing instruments predates even their use as knives and axes. In those early days, a piece of sandstone would have been very effective in smoothing and shaping a piece of wood into an instrument or tool. The materials and techniques have developed over the years, but the principle remains the same: filing allows a craftsperson to remove material from a piece of work in a controlled and systematic way, thereby smoothing and shaping it until the desired form is achieved. All the same, knowing your options when it comes to the different filing tools available will allow you to accomplish the best results with the minimum of difficulty.
Rasps and Files
A rasp is, in simple terms, a coarse file. The main difference between rasps and files is that rasps are used when there is a comparatively large amount of material to be removed from the piece. Rasps are usually made from a bar of case hardened steel and have distinct, individually cut teeth. While most rasps have been traditionally designed for those working in wood, Alec Tiranti also carry stone rasps to complement our range of stone carving tools.
Rifflers are double-ended tools designed to get into tight and irregular spaces. They excel at fine engraving work and creating dies and moulds. As most riffler files have differently shaped heads at each end it is important to decide which combination of heads best suits your needs. Riffler files usually have rasp teeth rather than file teeth.
Needle files are very small, narrow files with fine teeth. They are useful for precision tasks such as watchmaking, and in situations where creating a high quality finish rather than removing large amounts of material is the order of the day.
Artisans and craftspeople quickly realised the advantages of an abrasive attached to a flexible backing, with the earliest examples dating back almost two thousand years. These days what is commonly (and inaccurately) referred to as sandpaper or glass paper is available from any local DIY store. But the abrasive cloth supplied by Alec Tiranti is of a far higher quality and is suitable for rubbing down and providing a very fine finish on stone, resin, horn, metal, wood and stainless steel. For other applications take a look at our abrasive waterproof paper (“wet and dry”) selection.
As diamond has long been held to be the hardest natural material on Earth, it makes sense that it should be used as an abrasive when working materials which would quickly wear down tools made from anything else. Whether you’re looking for a diamond file set or a diamond riffler for stone sculpting, our range of diamond abrasives are manufactured using a process whereby diamond particles are attached to a nickel or resin base providing a hardwearing abrasive, capable of producing exceptionally fine finishes.