"That's the Cup of a Carpenter"—My Holy Grail Build

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SpiderPhantom5

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I've wanted my own grail replica for years, but never thought of trying to sculpt my own because I know I'd obsess over getting the right dimensions and never finish it. It wasn't until I saw Luke0312's build with a wooden frame (which you can find here) and some of Volpin's work that I was inspired to make my own.

I plan on making a mold of it, but instead of a resin casting I'm going to try a plaster/resin mix to get a more ceramic feel, or if I can get access to a kiln, I'd like to try slip-casting it to make it ceramic like a few of the original props.

To start out, I drew up some blue prints and shapes, cut them out on balsa wood, and glued the pieces together.
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I used balsa because I don't have access to a scroll saw, and it's the easiest thing to cut with a knife.
I then filled the gaps in the stem with foam, and sanded it.
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This was before I decided to use clay instead of Apoxie sculpt or bondo (unlike Luke0312 or Volpin). In hindsight, I should have just taken the foam out and replaced it with clay (if that would have helped?) since the foam, combined with the soft balsa, turned out to be unstable while I was sculpting, and compromised the shape a bit.

Which is why I would like a fresh set of eyes on my sculpt.
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The top became a bit warped when I glued the wood, but I might not fix it since the original prop seems slightly lopsided anyways.

I'm not even close to being done, but I'd like an opinion on the shape and proportions before I continue.
 

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SpiderPhantom5

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Reaching the final stretch on sculpting it. It's about half a centimeter too tall, but I don't think I'm going to stress too much over it. If I cut half a centimeter off the top, it messes with the structural integrity of the wooden skeleton on the inside, which is already pretty fragile with it being balsa wood.
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I've still got to work on the inside and the base of the grail, but then it'll be time to make a mold of it. Next time I post it'll likely be with a picture of the casting.
 

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mrwax

Well-Known Member
So if you were doing it again, you'd choose to use clay to fill the frame instead of the foam? It probably would have been more stable, but I wonder if there would be a way to stabilize the balsa wood and foam prior to adding clay to the outside. Was the instability mostly bending off the vertical axis?

I'm enjoying following your build! I've wanted a grail since I first say The Last Crusade many years ago. It'd be the perfect prop to have a version of sitting on a counter to throw keys into.
 

SpiderPhantom5

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Well, I trimmed that half centimetre off to get a more accurate height, and then re shaped some parts. Then trimmed some more. Then re-shaped again. Then rinsed and repeated. One week later, I'm finally satisfied with it, and I'm moving on to making the mould.
Anything you guys think I should change before I move on?


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SpiderPhantom5

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
So if you were doing it again, you'd choose to use clay to fill the frame instead of the foam? It probably would have been more stable, but I wonder if there would be a way to stabilize the balsa wood and foam prior to adding clay to the outside. Was the instability mostly bending off the vertical axis?

I'm enjoying following your build! I've wanted a grail since I first say The Last Crusade many years ago. It'd be the perfect prop to have a version of sitting on a counter to throw keys into.
I would probably use either apoxie sculpt for the filler (I actually replaced one of the inserts with it), or maybe even apoxie sculpt for the whole cup since I've been having problems stabilising the thin wall of clay on the bowl of the cup. I'd probably also use stronger wood.
I've had to freeze it every time I work with it just to add in the details.


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mrwax

Well-Known Member
That does sound inconvenient, but you're getting good results. The rework you've done on it looks great!
 

Customrelic

Well-Known Member
Have you ever used plaster bandages prior to the clay? It works just like the old cast making days in hospitals. I always use a layer of that before clay because it adds the strength needed for thin walled sculpture.
 

SpiderPhantom5

Active Member
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Have you ever used plaster bandages prior to the clay? It works just like the old cast making days in hospitals. I always use a layer of that before clay because it adds the strength needed for thin walled sculpture.
I haven't, actually. Thanks, that's a really great idea, and I'll be sure to use it for next time.



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Customrelic

Well-Known Member
Im not sure where you live, but if you have a Michaels near you or AC More they both carry it. And its not expensive at all. A roll is about $5 and they always have 50 percent coupons bringing to under $3. Im doing the Chalice of Kali from indian jones and i used it as my first layer before i began sculpting the clay. Once you get good with it, you can make skin, webbing etc. then you can just use a light layer of clay or plaster whatever. Let me know how you make out.
 

SpiderPhantom5

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Im not sure where you live, but if you have a Michaels near you or AC More they both carry it. And its not expensive at all. A roll is about $5 and they always have 50 percent coupons bringing to under $3. Im doing the Chalice of Kali from indian jones and i used it as my first layer before i began sculpting the clay. Once you get good with it, you can make skin, webbing etc. then you can just use a light layer of clay or plaster whatever. Let me know how you make out.
Yeah, I have about 10 rolls leftover from an unfinished project, and I'll be using them to make the mother mould for this. I probably won't be making another Grail for a while since I'm pretty happy with this one, but I might try that when I sculpt the Ark of the Covenant Cherubs for my next project.
 

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SpiderPhantom5

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"That's the Cup of a Carpenter"—My Holy Grail Build

I made the first casting, but some stuff went wrong in the casting process and the plastic became warped. While I wait for another shipment of resin to come in, I decided to experiment with paints and gold leaf with the messed up cup
 

Customrelic

Well-Known Member
Why did it warp? What do you think happened? I assume you made a mold of your original? If so, check to make sure the mold isnt the problem (im sure you did) The coloring you did so far looks great.
 

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SpiderPhantom5

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Why did it warp? What do you think happened? I assume you made a mold of your original? If so, check to make sure the mold isnt the problem (im sure you did) The coloring you did so far looks great.
Yes, the mold was the problem and I know exactly what happened and how to fix it.
Thanks, though the shape is off I think the coloring makes up for it.


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TomVDJ

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Finishing is spot on! If the shape can be a bit more accurate and sharp, this would be a great replica!
 

SpiderPhantom5

Active Member
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You did an awesome job with the coloring. Id gladly display that warped and all. Save it for me lol
Thanks! Haha well if you're really interested in it, I put it up on eBay.

Finishing is spot on! If the shape can be a bit more accurate and sharp, this would be a great replica!
Thanks, I'm working on the shape tomorrow when my new resin comes in. Some of the keys in the mold didn't line up correctly, so hopefully I can get it right this time.

Once I get it right, I'm going to try and make one that I can actually (safely) drink out of from time to time. Anyone have some advice on how to do this?
 
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