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Thread: Wax carving tools question

  1. #1
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    Default Wax carving tools question

    Hi great Carvers of Cookson

    I've been asked to make a pendant based on a tattoo. I came up with the drawing below, which I figure is going to be much easier to cast than to hone from solid silver (Rapousse is waaay beyond my abilities).

    I'm fairly comfortable I could carve this from wax, but my question is about tools. Do wax carvers such as these HERE have to be used hot with an alcohol lamp, or can they be used cold to scrape away wax? I'm probably going to use green wax as I believe it's harder. The reason I wish to avoid heat is to take my time and not 'overshoot' on depth.

    Oh, the hollow tube idea was just brainstorming. The piece will be solid, with the rope and star added later for ease of carving/casting.

    Many thanks

    Vos
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_2014110548945.jpg  
    Last edited by Vos; 05-11-2014 at 08:00 PM. Reason: my awful spellling
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  2. #2
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    I use mine cold, but I also use one of these to remove larger areas http://www.suttontools.co.uk/wax-carver.html
    I actually do the majority of my carving with a needle file but Im probably a bit weird

  3. #3
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    Thanks Enigma

    It's funny you say that I was hoping to use needle files, so that'll make two of us

    Loving the electric carver too! If this was to get regular I'd certainly consider one, thanks for pointer
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  4. #4
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    Here are some of the tools on offer from Cookson: http://www.cooksongold.com/category_...uery=Wax+files.

    The very coarse files are better for wax, although some local pound shops have cheap needle files in their tool section, which are coarse enough. You also need a cheap (mini) wire brush to clean them from time to time as they clog.

    Wax can be added in places from a spare block, by touching it with a hot spatula (shown on the same page) and then dripping it from the spatula onto your piece.
    Again a set of assorted dental instruments from the tool section of a pound shop or Maplin, would do.

    Final polishing can be done with cotton wool wrapped around tweezers, wetted and heated briefly over a flame. You can also use eucalyptus oil or tea tree oil on cotton wool, but cold.

    The heat referred to can be provided by a mini-torch, or spirit lamp. Below is my cast dragon, but the wings were made from sheet and wire and soldered on later. Dennis.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Dragon Brooch.jpg  

  5. #5
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    Dennis that is brilliant info, thank you. I will certainly be referring back once I have the necessary bits. And that looks like a hefty piece of silver!
    Last edited by Vos; 05-11-2014 at 10:57 PM.
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  6. #6
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    I actually use a normal needle file for most of mine after the bulk is removed , even going to the finest grade in a tiny file. Thats likely not the way its supposed to be done but I like it and it works well for me
    The wax files are great for removing bulk though.
    Love the dragon Dennis!

  7. #7
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    I should perhaps mention, although Sarah will know this, that one job is to hollow out the wax from behind or it will be much too heavy. For instance the dragon has a deep groove running along the back of it.

    Secondly the parts should be roughly comparable in thickness, because a transition from thick to thin leads to porosity and failed castings. Dennis.

  8. #8
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    Mine are generally flat as lots of people want their horse/dogs name on the reverse so I have to make them quite thin instead
    The good thing about doing your own castings with Delft clay is that you can experiment and find what you are able to cast.
    The not so good thing is that its more limited, I can do thick to thin but if bits get too narrow like ears the metal often fails to flow there so I make them bigger and carve them afterwards.

  9. #9
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    when making waxes from hard wax I use any bench tools available, piercing saw, needle files, scrapers, scorpers etc. When making models from Scopas wax I use heated dental tools like these; http://www.amazon.co.uk/Piece-Stainl...s=dental+tools ,they can be used for cold wax carving also.
    The tools are heated using a spirit lamp, for hollow pieces I model this wax on copper shapes that I hammer up.

    This shows what I mean by copper shapes with added wax.

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    James

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the link Goldsmith, best price I've seen yet!

    I'm hoping to do as much with files as possible as I'm quite comfortable slowly nibbling away. I'm assuming if you do make a minor nick or scratch you can just melt wax back on and re-carve (hoping so anyway)?

    And as with Dennis and Enigma, magnificent work sir! (I did have a peep at your site enigma - love the braid rings!)
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