Whiting vs. Plaster of Paris

by Ann
(Hoover, AL)

Hi Sue,

I have never been able to find "whiting". Is it the same as Plaster of Paris? I have been using the latter for cleaning excess grout off the glass. It seems to work quite well. I have also mixed it with some sawdust. I'm just curious as to what whiting is and where it can be purchased.

Answer

Whiting is ground up chalk, which is calcium carbonate. It can be purchased at some paint supply stores and it is available online. Do a Google search for whiting powder. There are quite a few stained glass suppliers that sell it.

Plaster of paris is not recommended for stained glass work. Plaster of paris makes it extremely difficult if not almost impossible to remove old putty that has been made with it. It's almost as bad as using cement. It dries the putty to a rock hardness very fast.

Putty needs to remain elastic as long as possible so it can do it's job of cushioning the glass. Once it dries rock hard there is no more cushioning.

Using plaster of paris to clean off excess grout probably won't be as bad as making your putty with it, but some of it will get into the grout in the cleaning process. I'd advise not using it at all.

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