Step 1: Apply Release Agent

apply release agent
Photo: Jennifer Levy
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To keep the hypertufa from sticking to the form, the wood must first be coated with a release agent. (For instructions on making the form, see the overview page.) You can use petroleum jelly or a piece of plastic sheeting. We brushed on a layer of melted paraffin. Later, any paraffin residue on the trough can be easily removed with a wire brush or flat putty knife.
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    Tools List

    • hammer
      Hammer
    • Natural-bristle chip brush
      Paintbrush
    • latex gloves
      Gloves
    • dust mask
      Dust mask
    • eye goggles
      Goggles
    • bucket
      Bucket or pail
    • hand trowel
      Garden trowel
    • Coarse wire brush
    • mallet
      Mallet
    • block wood
      Small piece of scrap wood for tamping

    Shopping List

    1. Form materials
    Pine shelf board, plywood, foam insulation, or cardboard boxes will work. Beveled panels for decorative recess are optional. (See Overview)

    2. ½-inch multi-purpose screws

    3. Releasing agent
    Melted paraffin or petroleum jelly will work.

    4. 2½-inch-tall PVC pipe pieces
    Paper towel spool pieces will also work.

    5. Cement
    (5-9 for hypertufa mix; See "The Recipe" in Overview)

    6. Peat

    7. Perlite

    8. Liquid acrylic

    9. Nylon reinforcing fibers

    10. Plastic sheeting

    11. Wire mesh

    12. Seedlings

    13. Soil