The photo on the left is on location at Bryson Cinder on the Big Island of Hawaii. It shows where the company extracts and crushes the cinder that they then package and sell to home improvement and garden centers as an attractive and durable ground cover.
Once back on the island of O'ahu, Hengler began the task of creating the next component of his thesis project: a ten foot lava boat. First, he created a styrofoam model as seen here on the left. Then he cut the styrofoam boat into two halves due to the size restrictions of the oven it would eventually bake in.
The styroboat was then covered in tape and a plexiglass wall was built around it (as seen in the picture to the right). A liquid plaster and silica mix was poured into the plexiglass frame and left to set for thirty minutes. In the photo below, the plaster boat mold is flipped right side up and completed after fine sanding and finishing touches were added.
The 800 lb plaster boat mold was lifted via forklift and lowered into the oven as seen on the left. Michael filled the boat mold with a combination of the lava cinder and a thermal glaze he created for the project, comprised of the lava itself. He added and sculpted the ingredients by hand to reach the desired boat shape.
In the photo above, we see each boat-half after being baked in an enormous oven for over a week that reached temperatures of over 1600 Fahrenheit! Once the pieces cooled, Michael was set to shape the halves into precisely the form he was looking for. Hengler then connected the halves together. The completed boat weighed approximately1400 pounds!