Giant Hotdog Sculpture in Michigan May Be World’s Largest with Help from Former Disney Artist, Local Insulation Company, and NCFI Spray Foam
MOUNT AIRY, NC—A 63 foot hotdog sculpture atop a diner called Wienerlicious in Mackinaw City, MI is attracting all kinds of attention from people passing through on I-75. While the steel, spray foam (SPF) insulation, and fiberglass sculpture is awaiting the word from the Guinness World Records folks about being the “World’s Largest,” MI locals and travelers are pulling off to see the oversized roadside oddity at the base of the famous Mackinaw Bridge.
“Michigan boasts the ‘World’s Largest’ model tire, cherry pie, weathervane, picnic table, and working rifle, so where better to build a giant weenie?” says Henry Behling, a representative for Great Lakes Roofing and Insulation, the Sault Saint Marie, MI company chosen to provide the spray polyurethane foam to create the sculpture. “The artist insisted on SPF foam, and we’re experts at spraying foam in this Michigan climate, so it worked out great.”
When the Wienerlicious owners, Frank N Stuff Inc., wanted a giant hotdog atop their new building, they didn’t have far to look for the guy to make it happen. They chose the same artist who created a 30-foot tall grizzly bear just up the street in Mackinaw City, Ron Berman of Berman Studios, Inc.
“I’m a urethane man,” says Berman, whose studio is located in Clearwater, Fla. “I spent years working for Disney where everything is Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), but when I got out on my own I met Tim Kearns, the grandfather of spray polyurethane foam (SPF). He taught me all about the machines, the chemical process, and how to spray the polyurethane foam, and I fell in love with it. It’s an ideal product for sculptures like this hotdog. Since then I’ve developed my own system of design, fabrication, and SPF use that gives me real flexibility, and saves the customer anywhere from 40–80 percent on materials and production time.”
Berman says he was impressed by Behling and Great Lakes Insulation, “Their knowledge and spraying skill level were really impressive. And that brand of SPF they used was amazingly consistent. Worked great in the fluctuating climate in which we worked.”
Behling agrees about the brand of foam, “We used NCFI’s InsulStar closed-cell foam because it’s the best on the market. It’s clean, trouble free, and always provides the same yield. We ended up using about five sets of InsulStar to do the hotdog, a bit of touch up, and the mustard and jalapenos.”
According to Berman, the hotdog is 63 feet long, 15 feet, 2 inches high, 12 feet wide, and weighs approximately 2.4 tons. “Our design and finished sculpt actually exceeded the wind loads of the permitting.”
While he won’t divulge his proprietary process, Berman says he starts with sketches, then 3-D modeling, then creates the exoskeleton by bending a pencil rod steel wire frame—which in the case of the hotdog was done by a 13-year-old apprentice—then Great Lakes sprayed 2 inches of InsulStar. “Once the spray foam cures, we sculpt it. Again, my process saves the customer because we can use laborers instead of artists to do the shaving. Next we touch-up the foam where it needs it and seal it all with fiberglass. I usually use polyurea, but the customer wanted fiberglass, so we used it. Then we paint it.”
When asked about his obvious pride in the success of the sculpt, Berman said, “I mean, it’s a hotdog. It’s not Rodin’s Thinker. It’s a giant weenie. But, it’s a gorgeous giant weenie.”
Wienerlicious owners say the giant hotdog is working exactly as they hoped at attracting customers. As one reviewer on TripAdvisor® put it, “When you drive past a restaurant called Wienerlicious with a giant hotdog on the roof how can you not stop and try it?”
For more information or to arrange an interview on this subject contact:
Dale McGlothlin, (202) 341-8615
Celebrating 50 years of foam. NCFI, headquartered in Mt. Airy, NC since 1964, manufactures polyurethane foam chemical systems for spray foam-in-place insulation (SPF), geotechnical, agricultural, roofing, marine floatation, packaging, specialty molding, and many other uses. The company also offers a complete line of flexible foams for furniture seating, transportation seating, bedding, carpet underlay, and packaging. NCFI also has manufacturing plants in Hickory, N.C., Dalton, GA., and Salt Lake City, UT. NCFI is a Barnhardt Manufacturing Company, Inc. company. To learn more about NCFI please visit www.NCFI.com