Need help with thinset, grrr

charmoMarch 17, 2009

Man, will I ever be able to do anything on my own? Really I am so frustrated right now, it's not funny. So this aft, I set out to start working on a bowling ball using thinset for the 1st time. I was sticking half marbles on it but they kept falling. Could you look at my pictures, and tell me whether the consistency was good? It seemed like PB to me but who knows. Also I find it hard to know how much to put on because when you put the tessarae on it, it swooshes and wouldn't leave any room for grout.

Also does anyone have a "recipe" for thinset. I am using Mapei Ultraflex 2 (has polymer in it) and the bag has the instr. for 50 lbs only. I started with water in a container and kept adding the thinset to it until the consistency seemed right. With approx 3 or 3.5 cups of water and look at the amount if gave me! I thought I would end up with just a little batch which is what I wanted. Anyhow, everyting ended up in the garbage! GRR...

Honest everyone, I am not normally a complainer, I wish there was a place around here where I could take lessons. You guys are the ones give me lessons.

So my questions are:

1. any recipe for a small-med batch of thinset

2. A way to know how much to put on (1/8 or 1/16 doesn't tell me much)

3. Why were the marbles on the bowling ball falling.

(sure made be lose my marbles...)

4. How to prevent "swooshing" between tessarae.

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I just saw your post on another forum and I understand your frustration. I haven't used thinset on a bowling ball, but I'm thinking from what I see and what I've mixed before that maybe it's too thin. Did you try a little of it thicker? About the seeping up between the half marbles, that might be solved that way too. Give it a try, and don't give up. Others will chime in on this too. It's good to have the friends here that have been playing with mosaic a long time.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 5:14PM
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Your consistancy is fine. It just doesn't have alot of immediate grab so you can only do the upper most sections and let it cure. Just put a little thinset in a dixie cup and stir in tsp of water at a time till you get that consistancy. try buttering it on the ball in sections to get a thinner application.

That all said, I'm not an advocate of thinset for BBs because I don't think it holds on to nonporous substrates very well. I would suggested GEII because thats the only bb that has endured the elemnts in my yard

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 6:01PM
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I hate when that happens!
The only BB I did with thinset did the same thing, only after I finished it! One bump and all the tessy fell off.
I too prefer either GEII or Weldbond. I don't get alot of freezing weather here, so the weldbond holds up well.
so sorry sweetie, believe me it won't be the last time you get frustrated with mosaics, but the results are worth it.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 6:56PM
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My first BB was the penny one and I used clear Liquid Nails in the squeeze tube. GEII will work too. Your thinset is fine, but you certainly don't need that much. Like NT said, put some in a styro coffee cup or paper cup and add your water a little bit at a time, do not mix your dry thinset into water as you would plaster. If you are going to use this on a BB, take your sander or rough sandpaper and scuff the surface up a little. Good luck..and sorry you wasted so much thinset. I use a little bit at a time and keep it covered with a tile when I am not in it.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 9:29PM
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It takes time but you'll get it, keep trying. I use a yogurt cup. I put about 1/4 of thinset then add water a little a time (drops) til it's right. I stir with a popscile stick and even use the stick to apply it. Have lots of both with grandkids around. And I use a sanding pad on a grinder to rough my pieces up (faster and saves the fingers)...Later, Cathy

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 10:58PM
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Just curious why you are using thinset on a bowling ball? GE11 silicone is just the absolute best thing to use...then when you grout and seal the grout it is fine for outside.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 8:58PM
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Emtnest, the first 2 BBs I made were with MacGlue and I thought thinset would be good because I taped some antennaes on this one, so I needed stuff to cover it up. I am also starting another one which I want to do as a face and I just patched a nose on it made of plaster and aluminum foil which I also taped on as well as 2 cup handles for the ears.
The next one I will make with only marbles, then I will try the GEII.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 10:09PM
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I have made several BB's and used liquid nails and then used the thinset to grout it. I have also used the cement that is used to install tiles.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 7:39PM
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I wouldn't use thinset on a BB. GE silicone, LN or DAP will serve you much better! Also, you need to make sure your BB is absolutely cleaned of the oils they use on them - this takes a lot of soaking in Dawn or another grease remover and lots of scrubbing! A friend of mine actually leaves her BBs outside for months (and hopes for rain) and then soaks and scrubs them.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 9:43AM
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