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Absolutely smooth wax surface!

I’m working on a wax carving of a very small logo charm which is to
be cast in sterling. The surface has to be absolutely smooth, and I
can’t seem to get some of the carving scratches out no matter what I
use. It’s so small it’s very awkward to buff with fine sandpaper, and
nylon stocking is too coarse. Wax Kleen didn’t work, and trying to
heat the surface just enough to smooth it causes it to deform because
of the small size. Just as an experiment I put some clear nail polish
on one, and it dried very smooth and shiny, just as I would like it
to be.

Before I go ahead and paint 30 waxes with nail polish, will clear
nail polish burn out cleanly?

Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Jewelry

First of all what kind of wax are you referring to; carving wax,
injection wax, etc.?

Hi it will burn out but watch the fumes and maybe it is the acetone
in the polish that is helping by giving a smooth melt to the surface
and sealing them

possible ingredients:

  • ethyl acetate
  • butyl acetate
  • nitrocellulose
  • isopropyl alcohol
  • polyester resin
  • dibutyl phthalate
  • styrene/acrylates copolymer
  • stearalkonium hectorite
  • stearalkonium bentonite
  • benzophenone-1
  • calcium pantothenate

I have used nail polish remover when wax kleen did not work well
enough just my 2 cents

Silver & Cameo Heritage Jewelry

My wax models are smoothed with “Goo-gone” and a Q-tip. Nothing
fancy, just a very light touch with very little moisture on the
Q-tip. Have plenty of extras for switching to a clean one when they
become loaded with wax. Don’t drench the piece. Also, any hand cream
with a high oil content can work too.

Margie Mersky

Nail polish will burn out completely. I use it often to seal the
organics I cast. The burn-out oven is in a separate room and has a
vent hood, so I don’t know about any fumes it might produce.

Donna in VA

The other thing I’ve found that gives a very smooth surface on
carving waxes is either Wax Kleen or Goo Gone rubbed with a clean
Swiffer dust cloth. The texture of the Swiffer leaves no marks on the
wax and it buffs to a very nice shine.

Hope this helps!
Karen Goeller
No Limitations Designs
Hand-made, one-of-a-kind jewelry

My question is, why would an absolutely smooth wax surface make all
that much difference? One must still finish the metal.


When using Goo Gone, do you wait for it to dry and then rinse it

I normally put my waxes in baggies and send to my caster and he’s
warned me about putting waxes in baggies with any sort of
"polisher’" on it. Apparently, there’s been some issue of the baggie
sticking to the wax when using wax kleen.

I’ve used baby oil, and I rinse it off and leave it to dry
afterwards before it goes in the baggie. It’s not the best, I’ll try
the goo gone to compare.

why would an absolutely smooth wax surface make all that much
difference? One must still finish the metal. 

There is a world of difference in a smooth wax and rough. You don’t
have to polish out your detail when finishing the piece. Also, much
less work in the finish.

I've used baby oil, and I rinse it off and leave it to dry
afterwards before it goes in the baggie. It's not the best, I'll
try the goo gone to compare. 

Also try eucalyptus oil. (It smells nice too.)

I’m quickly discovering, thanks to Judy’s tumbling book (thank you,
Judy- you rock!), that the finer my waxes are finished, the less hand
finishing I have to do. I’ve been tumbling them in two different
stages, and they are coming out awesome. Most of my pieces do have a
slight texture to them so I think that helps as well.

Amery Carriere Designs
Romantic Jewelry with an Edge


Nope, I don’t rinse it off. I buff it with the swiffer until there
is no apparent residue left on the wax. The key, as I understand it,
is that the WaxKleen or Goo Gone both chemically “melt” the surface
of the wax just a tiny bit, which allows the polishing action of the
swiffer to effectively remove irregularities in the surface.

When I have to transport or mail waxes, I don’t ever use baggies. I
use either Altoids cans or the similar little tins that some of the
casting companies provide. They provide enough protection for the wax
without any buildup of moisture or other “stuff” that could damage
the surface. If I have one that seems like it might rattle around in
the tin, I put another small piece of clean swiffer in with it (no
dust, no scratches, and protection from banging around).

Hope this helps!

No Limitations Designs
Hand-made, one-of-a-kind jewelry

Sorry for not replying to these sooner–I had to get the job
finished and delivered by this afternoon.

As the story goes, I had to carve a logo for a choir and make 30
charms by June 1, within a 2 week time frame. I’m not fast, and I
alone, so I needed the full 2 weeks to get this done. Carved the logo
but didn’t have time to cast it and make a mold of the casting. So I
made an RTV mold of the original wax. But when I carved it I missed
polishing out some fairly deep scratches that were nicely reproduced
by the mold. (that’s what I get for hurrying…) So I had a bunch of
injection waxes that all needed major finishing work before I could
cast them. That’s when asked about nail polish burning out.

I tried various kinds of nail polish that I already had here. One of
the polishes was a thick protective top coat that was made to harden
quickly when exposed to the heat of a standard incandescent light
bulb. I discovered by accident that it hardened even faster when
exposed to the light of a full-spectrum fluorescent bulb. It made
those waxes as smooth and shiny as possible in just seconds, and
filled in the surface scratches beautifully. I hope I can find more
of this stuff when I run out–it is extremely useful!

I cast a few extra waxes coated with other nail polishes. The one
that hardened under the light worked great, and the castings were
quite smooth. But some of the other polishes left an alligator skin
surface on the charms. Neat effect, but not what I wanted. I may try
it on an alligator carving someday. And my burnout kiln has a vent
fan right above it, so the fumes go right outside, rather than into
the shop, which is in my basement… Not that I enjoy polluting, but
I’d rather have the fumes go outside where they will be diluted by
fresh air instead of spreading throughout the inside of my house.

Thanks for all the replies. I may be doing another logo for another
choir soon, as a musician friend of the choir director I did this job
for was present when I delivered the jewelry today. He was interested
in having me do some jewelry for the board of directors of his
choir. When I get that job (positive attitude, right?) I’ll try some
of your suggestions on that carving!

Orchid rocks!!!

Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Jewelry

I guess we’d have to qualify our definitions of “smooth” and
"rough." If by rough you mean the texture of the average sidewalk,
I’d have to agree with you, but the OP was striving for a glass-like
surface, which, unless you had a perfect investment medium, wouldn’t
translate to the cast product. Also, I’m old school in that I don’t
finish with a vibratory tumbler.



The swiffer cleaning agent doesn’t affect the wax? I usually ship my
waxes in tin boxes, but I normally do a few waxes in each box so I
baggie them. I’ll look into the swiffer cloths, any certain kind?



There’s no cleaning agent on the swiffers I use (plain, unscented,
green box). They’re just the regular “swiffer dusters” that you can
put onto the dry dust mop or use as a hand duster.

Like Kathy, I discovered this when I had to do a bunch (20) of
original hand-carved waxes with a very shiny finish (10 pairs of
different sets of initials carved into a mirror-finish top- - far
deeper than an engraver would go). After a bunch of experimentation,
I stumbled onto this solution and love it. Very little finishing
required after casting to reach a gorgeous, mirror finish.

No Limitations Designs
Hand-made, one-of-a-kind jewelry


What;s a vibratory tumbler lol I finish by hand with my trusty sand
paper and polishing componds lol

Silver & Cameo Heritage Jewelry