Ice Delivery

Getting from Point A to Point B
(moving ice)
By Joe Rimer
Moving an ice sculpture to its set-up location can be as difficult a task as the actual sculpting of
the ice. If you carve the ice in its tempered state, moving it to the freezer after carving can also
be a tedious task.
There are two different ways to carve ice as far as temperature is concerned. You can carve
un-tempered ice while it is still in the freezer, or you can carve ice in the tempered state by
thawing the block first and carving it in a refrigerator or at room temperature. There are
advantages to both ways of carving. This article is not comparing the two, but please note that
the concerns of moving the sculpture into the freezer would not pertain if you are already
carving in the freezer. When moving ice, carvers must be concerned with breakage and thermal
shock. Thermal shock occurs when ice goes through a rapid change of temperature causing
too quick of an expansion or contraction in the ice. Cracks in the ice occur with the expansion or
contraction. The colder your freezer, the greater chance that this will occur. This is a concern
when you remove your sculpture from the freezer to put it on display and can also be a concern
when you put a freshly cut and tempered sculpture in the freezer, especially if it is a low
temperature freezer. To remove this danger you need to insulate your sculpture.
When storing your sculpture or when you set up a sculpture at the same location it is stored at,
the insulation can be as light as one or two heavy duty garbage bags over the sculpture. If the
sculpture is being taken to another location off-premise, more insulation is necessary. Some of
the products used to insulate sculptures for deliveries are thermal bags, moving blankets,
sleeping bags, layers of large table cloths, banquet table felt, foam, and cardboard boxes. It is
always smart to put a plastic bag over your sculpture before using any other insulators. The
plastic bag not only adds a little more insulation but will also prevent the other products from
sticking to the ice sculpture. Insulating the sculpture will not only stop thermal shock from
occurring but will also keep the ice piece safe from deformations due to air movement or
products it could come into contact with. Insulating the sculpture maintains durability and will
allow you to perform welding when you get the piece to its location to be displayed. The welding
may be for the assembly of the piece, to add smaller pieces to the sculpture, or could be a
repair from breakage during transit. Whatever the reason, the sculpture has to be well insulated
to retain its core freezing temperature or welding cannot occur.
An ice sculpture is most susceptible to breakage in the tempered state. The more intricate the
design and the more assembled the sculpture is, the more you have to be concerned with the
trip from where it is carved to where it is stored and/or set up. For example, seven or eight years
ago when I was the Chef at the Memphis Country Club, I created a majority of my sculptures on
the back dock. During the holiday season, one of my sculptures was an angel, and I was very
pleased with the detail and the wings. While two- wheeling it to my holding freezer, I had to go
over a threshold through my back door and the two wings feel off when passing over the
threshold. Since that occurrence that doorway no longer has a threshold. It was replaced by a
rubber sweep on the door. Also for that particular piece, the wings are now welded on when I
set the sculpture up.
Removing thresholds will not always be the answer. The point is to try to make your movement
from the carving area as simple and smooth as possible.
When moving your sculpture, all of the products to help insulate are also products that will help
limit or eliminate breakage. The biggest advantage after the sculpture is wrapped up and ready
to travel is the use of sheet foam or polystyrene. Laying the insulated sculpture on foam
dramatically reduces the chance of breakage in transit. Using plastic two-wheelers or wrapping
the two-wheelers’ bars in pipe insulating foam is also a good idea. Determine whether your
sculpture can actually travel in the completed form or if it needs to be assembled on location. Be
aware that with vertical welds your pieces also may need to be packed with a little dry ice to
insure optimum welding temperature later on. Additional components of welding such as
aluminum, gum remover, or wet snow puree may also be needed, but the art of welding is
another subject.
These are just a few basics in moving your sculpture. You must create a safe carving location
and a foolproof system for safely transporting sculptures. The goal is for you to work the
sculpture in such away that it doesn’t work you