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We're coming down the home stretch on our home restoration project. Any of the moldings and trim that were missing, I made or had knives made to replicate the components. One skill set I don't possess is applying a plaster pattern to a wooden base like those used in picture frames, and in this case, like the picture rail in our living room.

I can't re-use the picture rail- it was obliterated by layers of thick latex paint and much of the plaster was missing. I found a piece of the original rail on top of a foundation wall in the basement. It's in bad shape but a few sections are in good enough condition so you can make out the pattern. I've had zero luck finding anything on the internet- do any of you know of companies that still produce this stuff? Obviously I'd like the exact pattern, but short of that, something similar.

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Have you tried reaching out to a plaster restoration company? They should be able to take your original piece, make a mold and cast new. I have never seen this personally done; however, have spoke with various contractors over the years, and monitored there progress on historic restorication projects.

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We used to make stuff like that all the time when I used to do scene construction in regional theatre. We'd typically use a bit of an original, like what you've got, as a general inspiration. Our painter would sculpt the necessary bits, usually starting with small, appropriately shaped tiny objects and enhancing them with bondo. After each pattern was complete, we'd make rubber casts of each one and then assign an apprentice to start casting them. After making a few buckets' worth of each pattern, we'd glue them onto the milled wood substrate. It being theatre, we usually then went about distressing them (whomping the shit out of them) to give them character.

Most well-funded regional theatres have people who can do this kind of thing with one hand tied behind their back and they're used to working for slave wages. There's often a lull in their work schedules in the spring.

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After researching the topic and visiting all the links you guys supplied, it became apparent that I couldn't afford to pay $30 a foot plus shipping for picture rail. I'd break into a sweat for every miter.

After I decided it was just too expensive, I was still chatting with A. Thayer Smith III who owns a plaster company of the same name, (one of the links Bill provided). After a few minutes, Thayer offered another choice; he'd clean up my 18 inch section of good molding, re-detail the relief and piece together a seven or eight foot mold and mother. Additionally, he offered to give me a lesson on applying the casting to a wooden molding so we can have a functional picture rail.

It still isn't cheap considering we have a couple hundred feet to do but it will bring costs down to about 5 bucks a foot and that'll take the angst out of the miters.

My wife likes the Lancaster area, so it wasn't a hard sell; I expect we'll spend more on quilts and rugs than I will on the mold and the lesson.

Thanks to everyone for the helpful suggestions.

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