Friday, 8 July 2011


To which the only real answer of course is “And the same to you to, with hurdles on!”.

This is my gabion jig, cunningly disguised as a piece of old rough timber. The large holes are sized to take sections of dowel to keep the cylindrical shape. I set the jig up to make large and small gabions, but in practice the small ones simply didn’t seem very useful. At the front is a series of holes drilled for weaving hurdles. All the holes are spaced to give about a scale gap of about 6-8” between posts. In the case of the gabion jig, take care that there are an odd number of holes, otherwise it doesn’t weave properly.
In all cases the vertical struts are 18 gauge brad nails, and the weave is 30lb fishing line. This is about a thumb’s width thick in scale, so is a decent compromise between being realistic and not taking three days to do the weaving. Once woven the things get a single coat of PVA. Only a single coat – if you use multiple coats it fills the detail. I found this out the hard way. I then cut the woven sections away with a metal cutting disk in a Dremel tool. The gabions get a section of suitable dowel glued in, and the top surface textured using PVA and sharp sand. These are the originals here.

These are used to produce the moulds, from Siligum two-pack silicone. The moulding process is (I think) fairly simple and produces eminently usable moulds. As far as I can tell, they are reasonably durable. I’ve done nearly twenty gabions and the mould seems to be holding up. The instructions suggest up to 50 casts can be made before the mould fails.

Here’s the end product. The gabions (and the white hurdle) are cast in restoration plaster. This is fairly easy to use, and as hard as iron. I’d make a couple of recommendations, though.
The gabions need something in them to act as a sprue, to allow you to remove them from the mould. I find a biggish, coarse threaded screw works well (it unscrews from the final item easily). I would recommend mixing the plaster fractionally wetter than recommended. It’s easier to work and get the air bubbles out if you do.

The only problem with restoration plaster is it takes an hour for each cast to set up. Hence, on a good evening, you can cast about three gabions. If you want a line of twenty, don’t be in a hurry. So, I tried something else. The brown hurdle is Fimo polymer clay. It works extremely well in a flat mould, but I can’t see it holding the detail on something like the gabion when you remove it. However, I churned out ten hurdle panels in about a quarter of an hour, then a total of thirty minutes to bake them. To my mind this qualifies as quick and easy.


  1. I like it, a lot less long winded than my way of making them

  2. What a great idea!! Thanks for sharing!