So, what would I pass on to anyone foolish enough to try this? There are a
Have a good reason not to buy a dome. I spent about $50 on this dome vs.
the hundreds I would have spent on a commercial dome but this alone didn't
prevent people from calling me crazy. More than anything I just wanted to
see if I could do it, but by building it myself I had complete control over
the dimensions, and more importantly the depth.
Use wall plaster instead of plaster of paris. Plaster of paris is great
in that it cures quickly but my understanding (after the fact) is that plaster
used to plaster walls (ie. not drywall paste) doesn't shrink and as such would
probably have let me do the entire plaster layer in a single pass (or two).
The plaster work was by far the most time consuming portion of the project
because of all the scraping. If I had done everything in a single pass there
would have been virtually no scraping which would have saved a ton of time
Scraping tool stability is key. The stability of the scraping tool
ultimately determines how symmetric and clean the finish is. Even though
I only used scraps to mount the scraper, the use of rollerblade wheels made
the scraper extremely stable. Without this it would have been virtually
impossible to get even a reasonable finish.
Make sure you have space. My garage tends to be pretty messy most of the
time and this is a fairly big and very messy project. You need to be able to
get to all sides of the dome to sand and scrape so you can't push it into a
corner. In fact you can't really move it at all once you get going so make
sure you pick a good location with lots of work space when you get started.