How To: Monkey Exhibit Logs

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This project took place for Zoo Boise in Boise, Idaho. The scope was to build lifelike logs, which would enable the Patas Monkeys a place to climb, while providing optimum viewing for the Zoo-attending Humans.

Materials required: Tru Pac-X, Integral color, 10″ pool trowel, Liquid Release, TruTexHeavy Bark roller, Scarifier Rake, Tuck Point Trowel, RockMolds Stone Color water base stains, RockMolds Stone Sealant sealant.

1. Establish a rebar substrate, with ends of rebar doweled into the concrete wall, floors, and block. Secure with epoxy. If in doubt, use more rebar, on average no less than a 12″ square grid. 

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2. Diamond lathe is then wrapped and tied onto the rebar structure, creating a steel substrate. Make sure the diamond lathe is installed to “hold” the concrete mix.

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3. A scratch coat is then applied of Tru Pac-X. All the diamond lathe is covered, and a Scarifier rake is used to prepare the surface for the texture coat of Tru Pac-X.

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4. The following day, after the scratch coat has been allowed to dry, hose down completely to saturate thoroughly. Then apply a ½”- 2″ thick texture coat of Tru Pac X where you want the bark peeling away, exposing the cambium layer.

Tip #1: Trowel this exposed cambium layer out smooth, then run a chip brush to add some texture. Then use a sharp tool to add in the knots and deeper lines.

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5. After the cambium layers are complete, apply Tru Pac-X as a bark coat on the remaining area of the logs. Trowel smooth, and immediately spray with the Liquid Release, and use the TruTex Heavy Bark roller to apply the bark texture.

Tip #2: Before this step take a field trip out into nature and observe how the texture of bark runs down trees, and how it connects into limbs.

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6. After the Tru Pac-X has sufficiently firmed up, usually within 4-6 hours, the bark edges can be accented by carving out. A tuck point trowel works great.

Tip#3: A chip brush dipped in water may be used at this time as well to clean up the edges between the peeled back bark and cambium layer. (Step 9 touch up carve.jpg,)

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7. Let your logs cure 24 hours minimum. Hose off any loose debris.

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8. Color the logs with RockMolds Stone Color water base stains. Start with lighter colors, and layer in the darker colors until a certain look is obtained. You can always go darker! We used the gray stain Dove for the aged exposed cambium layer, and a combination of Sequoia and Expresso for the bark.

Tip #4. We like to use a gravity fed paint sprayer with a fine tip for the RockMolds Stone Color water based stains. Use a concrete sponge to blot the surface for any runs.

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9. Seal the stones with RockMolds Stone Sealant water base sealant. This will give the most natural appearance to the logs, without a sheen.

Tip #5s: Seal every 2 years to refresh the color and protect your investment!

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