MOUNT PROSPECT, IL--(Marketwire - Mar 1, 2012) - They came to the Concrete Decor Show looking to build a dinosaur -- and make a donation. That was the case for concrete artists Thom Hunt of Fairbury, Neb., and Mark Whitten of Mason City, Iowa; the show provided forum and the Wittie Museum of Natural History in San Antonio offered inspiration.

The dinosaur-building effort was created to share techniques in large-scale public art projects, and promote R.A.T. Training (Rock Carvers, Artisans and Themebuilders), a society of artists who work in non-traditional mediums like cement. The cement dinosaur, a Portland cement structure built on a steel frame covered with plaster skin, weighs 8,600 pounds. Classes conducted by Hunt and Whitten during the event included armature fabrication and structural training, carving and texture.

A diverse collection of suppliers and artisans donated products and services, including Bosch Power Tools and Accessories, Smith Paints, H&C Concrete and Local pipefitter Kirby Whitehead, who donated his shop to build the dinosaur's frame, which proved too large to build at the convention center. Whitten also used the shop as sleeping quarters while Hunt slept in a van in the driveway.

"Acrocanthosaurus footprints were discovered near San Antonio on a local river bank years ago, so we looked to tie our donation to that novelty," said Hunt. "We felt this dinosaur had a strong connection to the community, something that was important to our donation." The lesser-known Acrocanthosaurus is a "high-spined lizard" found exclusively in the U.S. and particularly in south central Texas.

The texture of the dinosaur was done by hand using a paint brush on fresh plaster to create a rough surface; the structure's thousands of scales were each hand-carved using hand tools. The crew also used the Bosch Multi-X Oscillating tool and new concrete-grinding blades to make delicate cuts and detail markings.

Thom Hunt is a veteran concrete sculptor whose work is on display worldwide. Major projects he's worked on include Animal Kingdom at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., aquariums across the U.S. and grounds of the prime minister of Bahrain. Mark Whitten is a third-generation cement tradesman with special expertise in working with plaster and fine finishes.

The dinosaur is now on display on the Wittie Museum grounds.

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Contact Information:

Steve Wilcox
Robert Bosch Tool Corp.