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Allot of Wax!

Hi Guy, The type of wax you use will depend a lot on what you want to
create. My experience is with Ferris File A Wax which I use for
turning, carving and engraving. I find that, for turning, the green
wax is too brittle and for engraving the purple is a little too

I have been carving and engraving wax for at least 20 years and can
feel very slight changes in the texture of the wax. Here in Arizona
the temperatures can some time get warm. I find that all carving
wax does not engrave as sharply when it is warm as it does when it
is cooler. I will place my wax in a cup of ice cubes if I want very
sharp detail. To me, wax that has been melted does not carve or
engrave as well as new wax. I suspect that carving wax is extruded
into it block form rather than melted. I also find that some times
the surface of wax that has been exposed to the environment does not
engrave a sharply as wax on a new cut surface does.

The worst wax to carve or engrave is wax that is added to the main
project as a repair. The repair wax is somewhat gummy.

I recommend you buy various waxes and experiment. Rio Grande has a
well illustrated catalog on the various waxes. You will eventually
find the wax that best suits your needs. As usual you will find
that what works for one person may not work for you.

Send my your snail mail address if you ever plan on turning wax. I
put together a paper on the subject and would be glad to send you a
copy. I developed a process that prevents fire scale when vacuum
casting. If interested I will send you a copy. The process is very
simple and costs nothing.

Your Orchid Friend Lee Epperson

Thanks all what a great response and most informative. I already have
my speed pen, Kate, but will look into John’s advice further I do
enjoy making tools just as much.

Thanks David I found the Kindt Collins site and lost my mind wax,
wax, and more wax so much wax :smiley:

I haven’t gotten to the casting part just yet just going to carve up
some wax try to get good at that first.

Thanks again everyone, it’s good to be apart of this ancient craft
and great to be an Orchidian.

John mentioned:

For the past 20+ years I have been making my own wax pens with
miniature soldering irons, a transformer, and a rheostat, all for
about $60. 

You can eliminate the transformer and rheostat by using an
inexpensive household lamp dimmer switch. I’ve made these boxes for
all my friends for about US$ 16 each.

Contact me off-list for construction plans.

  • Brad Smith
    Los Angeles

Hi Brad,

Well, I was trying to sound technical and appeal to those who want
precise control, but what I use is a household dimmer switch.
However, they don’t seem to perform that well at lower temperatures,
at least in providing a precise adjustment, so for some applications
a better quality rheostat would be better. The transformer is
essential, as the soldering irons I am refering to are between 4.5
and 6 volt irons.