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Discussion Starter #1
Hello
Im planning on making a wood frame on my farmers porch, which will be my pirate ship, with foam facade. I went and checked out the foam today. The pink is awesome, and expensive, thicker white foam is cheaper, but looks like it will bead up and be harder to carve. Is it possible to carve the white to make my ship boards or should I go with the pink?
Thanks for your suggestions......37 days left....oh man.
 

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The Pink (Extruded) tends be be stronger and withstand bending better than the white (Expanded). Cutting the white with a knife is a bit harder than the pink because of the uneven texture. Also, covering the "bubble" texture of the white takes more work. A tip to either is instead of using a knife is to use a soldering iron, wood burner or Hot Knife to cut, just make sure you are outside or well ventilated while doing it. With the pink also make sure to remove the plastic sheet on the outside of the pink. Personally, I spend the little extra for the Pink Extruded, but if you are doing a very large project I can understand saving some cash with the White Expanded foam.
 

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I personally don't use the white foam anymore. If you're looking for crisp clean lines the pink/blue is the way to go. IF you're on a budget and don't need/want such precision you could get away with the white foam.
 

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It really depends on the detail your going for. If you want really crisp detail the pink/blue is the way to go. But the beaded white stuff gets a bad wrap. It really isn't that hard to work with. I made a giant pumpkin out of the beaded foam and it wasn't bad at all. A little messy carving it, but other than that , I don't think you can tell the difference. It's sands down well and holds paint well. There are different types of white styrofoam though. Some of it more compressed or compact. I would recommend using an electric knife to carve down the large areas of the white foam if you decide to use the white stuff. I actually used a reciprocal saw (saw saw) to carve mine and it made quick work of it.
 

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A lot of people are afraid of the white, not sure why. I have made all of my props with it. If you're confident and know what your doing you can save a ton by buying the white. Here is the top to one of the crypts that I have done with it and I had no trouble with bending it.
 

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I don't think he's posted in a while but the member who built the train, pirate ship, and earth drilling rig displays said he used white foam for everything he did.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wow, thanks for all the tips guys and gals. Looks like mixed reviews ---I guess it comes down to cash. 2x8 3/4" pink is $9....and 4x8 1" white is $15.
I guess its not a huge difference. Im measuring tonight to get a final board count. Thanks again!
 

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It's pronounced "Fronkensteen."
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I re-read your original post, and you said this is for the facade. How much support will the foam have? Even on my tombstones I glue the foam to plywood or OSB for the weight and strength. Its probably overkill but it does well in windy conditions, allows me to easily mount posts and accessories to the back. Plys they survive the off season storage well. the foam is just part of the finish. This is my newest addition, plywood back with 1/2 pink foam front. carved with "needle" hot tip and dremel. cross is foam carved and glued on. final paint and detail are in progress. IMG_20150925_080422.jpg
 

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Find your closest hot tub dealer and ask him if he has any old hot tub covers he wants to get rid of..you can get some nice thick hard foam once you take the covers off..I use a sawzall to cut them up..
 

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You can do a lot with white foam but if you can swing the $$ pink is the best. To mitigate the cost on something like a pirate ship a thinner ~ 1/2" thick material backed up by a 1x2 furring strip frame would work well. The frame will support the piece and the thinner foam is budget friendly,

For pink foam +1 on the Jigsaw. You can get very fine detail very fast, just wear a dust mask. The single speed Black and Decker jigsaw is super cheep- under $20 (HF may even be less). I tend to find these at lots of garage sales for $5. Metal cutting blades with a fine tooth pattern work best. Long blades are available in the drill bit isle of any hardware store. For carving large items over 6" thick a fine toothed blade on a variable speed reciprocating saw also works.

I had a VERY good top of the line hot wire cutter I purchased a few years ago at a haunt convention and sold it. For a fraction of the price a saw is the way to go.

If you don't want power tools go find an old school coping saw, mine is solid gold for carving very fine details such as scroll work on a stone.
 
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