Sandcastle – Creating the Crenelations and Cut-Through Arches

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 38,017
    Mark Venit, one of the world’s most renown sandcastle builders demonstrates how to create the crenelations and cut-through arches.

    Mark Venit

    Mark Venit is one of the world’s most renown sandcastle builders, specializing in authentic-looking works that, viewed from a distance, look like the real thing! Winner of more than a hundred local, regional, and international competitions, Mark and his work have been featured on television shows, in commercials and print ads, and at trade fairs and conventions, throughout the USA, Canada, and Europe, as well as in hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. His passion since childhood has been castles, knights, and things medieval, and, when working in Europe, he spends his free time visiting castles and cathedrals. Having visited more than 300 of them and taking extensive notes and photographs, he has a first hand knowledge and appreciation of the history and architecture of the fortresses and palaces built by ancient masons and artisans. His home in Ocean Pines, Maryland, near the white, sandy beaches of Ocean City, Maryland, is decorated in medieval splendor, replete with heraldry, tapestries, reproduction thrones, trophy mounts, and bathed in authentic 12th Century colors and wall textures. Even his cats have royal names – Charlemagne, Louis XIV, and, well, “Princess” Tiger Lily. Occasionally lecturing on medieval times and architecture, Mark constructs castles and cathedrals using members of the audience to demonstrate the physical principles involved and uses people’s bodies, arms and legs to build roofs, walls, columns, and flying buttresses. In his “other” life he is a management and marketing consultant and author of over 400 articles in trade and professional journals. A graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, where he earned his bachelors and masters degrees, he’s also the Chairman of West Palm Beach, Florida-based ShopWorks Software Corporation.

    Mark Venit: Hi! I am Mark Venit. I am a professional sandcastle builder, here on the beach in front of the Carousel Hotel in Ocean City, Maryland. Now, we are going to put a crenellated top here, cut some arches, do a little bit of trim, and this is where its getting a little bit hairy. This is my favorite tool, any kind of good sharp knife at least on one side, doesnt have to be serrated. I am going to be cutting and pushing slightly in the direction of where I want the sand to go, so, I am actually packing at the top here.

    I've got about the width of this knife on top, and I'll cut down and then through. We are going to measure by the width of the knife again, push towards the left here and then push a little towards the right, insert it, plot another brick.

    Now, these objects or crenellations, if there were a path running in here, and guards, they would want a little overhang in case the bad guys wanted to send letters up, so, I cut to the left, cut to the right a little bit, put the knife in, bring some more detail, you can see the shadows are doing a job. Now, I am going to be getting ready to put some arches in here. So, I want to get a little bit of sand away from the front, and then I am going to put a probe in, fetch to build core things. Now, hopefully, I've packed this very tight, very strong, with lots of water, otherwise, I am going to lose the whole thing. So far, so good. Just taking out little more material below where I made the complete cut through, and lets try two in a row.

    Now, we are going to widen the cut, carefully and slowly, and I am using my one inch, yeah about an inch, pallet knife or cutting knife. Because as I am doing this, I want to keep the walls packed, and right now, because I dont want to put any stress on that middle column. I am trying to force this sand towards the centre of the cut. Now, I would like to make these arches a little bit taller, but I saw a piece of seaweed sticking down. And I know if I were to tug it, theres a real good chance, everything else would come down, so, quit while you are ahead. We are going to do a little decoration on the top of the arches just to emphasize it, give a little more shadow.

    Now, I've cut them about this wide, and I dont want to press my luck, I am going to put a little more trim on the front to give it a very Romanesque architectural touch. Once again, its the shadow that gives us the magic.

    In our next clip, I am going to show you how to put some windows in, how to make a crenellated wall out of wet sand, using your bare hand to pack it, which I'll probably do around this tower, and you'll start to see the top of the castle emerge. We've got height; I'll be trimming the sides, all coming up in the next section.