Joel Davis
Special Correspondent

Hands-On Session to Kick Off 2012 Training Opportunities

For more than a year, Braxton-Bragg has offered basic decorative concrete classes that teach Buddy Rhodes techniques. The company has decided to expand its offerings to allow customers to further explore low-cost techniques that can maximize profits. The company offers the training at the lowest price possible. “This is going to be the best value on the market,” Zachary Coletti said.

Braxton-Bragg is kicking off an advanced decorative concrete class in January to teach customers about the exciting commercial and artistic potential in Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) casting techniques.

The class will be taught by Zachary Coletti, certified Buddy Rhodes trainer and a Master Concrete Artisan. His Coletti Concrete Studio, located in Sebastian, Florida, is a leading firm in artisan concrete design and creation.

“The class will be about how to cast concrete pieces using GFRC methods,” Coletti said. “We’re going to be using Buddy Rhodes products. We will be casting a stand-alone, three-dimensional vanity and integral sink. Basically, the top and the legs are all going to be one piece. We’re going to be casting using the foam core technique as well.”

The Buddy Rhodes method concentrates on constructing objects in layers. “This class is going to be based around… using the spray technique–spraying the face coats and then adding the back reinforcement layers by hand. (Coletti Concrete Studio uses) this method about ninety-nine percent of the time,” said Coletti.

Space is limited for the classes and the slots go fast, so reserve your slot now. A deposit is required to secure a reservation. Two-nights lodging and lunches will be included with the tuition.

The Location:
Braxton-Bragg LLC, 4100 Appalachian Way, Knoxville, TN 37918
Date: Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, January 18 - 20, 2012.
Contact: Kurt Alexander, 877-493-0205
Email:      

Large castings of glass fiber reinforced concrete can be constructed much thinner than with regular wet mix concrete. Because of the greater strength and flexibility added by the glass fibers, artisans can be more flexible in their designs, Coletti  said. “The advantage is you are able to produce stronger and lighter pieces. We’re not using rebar or large stone in the mix. It really helps to keep the piece lighter by creating thinner pieces without the added weight of metal and stone. We’re able to create three-dimensional pieces without having to build complex molds for monochromatic finishes.”

A customer-pleasing alternative to traditional granite and marble countertops and other products, decorative concrete is versatile and economical —GFRC even more so. In some cases, using it instead of traditional wet cast can lower the weight of the object by 75 percent.

“The techniques lend themselves to being able to create three-dimensional objects without the difficult mold making that it would take with traditional wet cast,” Coletti said. “It enables us to create larger pieces that are stronger. A lot of the time, there are clients out there who want large three-dimensional pieces that would be virtually impossible to make and move out of an artisan shop.”

Kurt Alexander, Braxton-Bragg corporate trainer, said that using GFRC is a material that gives artisans even more ability to express themselves and create unique objects for their customers. “Structurally, it’s very strong, but it keeps the concrete light,” he said. “That’s how you can make massive-looking products that (are made of) a thin material. The concrete hardly has any aggregate. You spray it on into molds. You can make more artistic products depending on the mold you make.”

Once the first coat of concrete is sprayed into the mold, it is then backed with a second layer of concrete with added alkali-resistant glass fiber. Using glass fiber reinforcement means that objects do not have to be made 2-to-4 inches thick for proper support as with a wet cast.  “It’s only an inch or so thick, so in many cases it can be cast at a third of the weight,” Alexander said.

For more than a year, Braxton-Bragg has offered basic decorative concrete classes that teach Buddy Rhodes techniques. The company has decided to expand its offerings to allow customers to further explore low-cost techniques that can maximize profits. “We already had two or three verbal commitments for the advanced class,” Alexander said. “It’s the logical next step. You don’t want to limit your business. You want to be a little more artistic. Your imagination is your only limitation.”

“The advanced class goes into how to make more complicated projects,” Alexander said. “We’re going to be focusing on making form-functional things instead of just really square basic stuff. You can make furniture with it. This is all based on the Buddy Rhodes method. It goes into the advanced techniques.”

Braxton-Bragg’s East Coast and Midwestern customers can take advantage of advanced training generally only available on the other side of the country. Instead of traveling to San Francisco for the classes, customers can come to Knoxville, TN, which is convenient to three major interstates and is located within a day’s drive for more than half of the US population.

“Braxton-Bragg strives to improve our offerings to our customers, so they can be educated in this new, exciting field,” he said.

The company offers the training at the lowest price possible. “We’re offering the classes that give our clients good value for their money spent and good experience,” Alexander said.

“This is going to be the best value on the market,” Coletti said.

For more information about the Buddy Rhodes seminars or to register and reserve a spot, contact Kurt Alexander at 877-493-0205.  

Braxton-Bragg offers a full range of fabrication tooling and installation accessories including sinks, installation hardware, and every tool and piece of equipment needed to run a professional stone, tile, and polished concrete shop.

For more information about Braxton-Bragg and its publications and products, contact them toll-free at 800-575-4401 or visit the website www.braxton-bragg.com for current sales and new products.