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Burn out for the beginner?


as far as starting out lost wax,gold,vacuum casting goes,what is the
prefered method of wax removal for you experienced casters? is
steaming in a pressure cooker,& then putting in a kiln to dry out &
heat the best way,or is there a cheaper method for burn out,that
works just as well without owning a kiln,for the beginner? is the
temperature of the investment very important when casting?

thanks for any help,ive ordered some casting books,but have some
questions that are bouncing around my head.


hello Joel,

Tim Mc Creights book “Practical Casting” is a must read. Murray
Bovin, i believe also has a good book on the subject, though the
title and whether or not it is a single topic or included in one of
his other books escapes my memory at the moment.

As far as investment goes…write to the manufacturers and ask for
some samples, work with all, keeping some kind of log to remind you
of your experimentation with each type by each manufacturer.- Some
stones cannot be steam cleaned, so keep that in mind if casting in
place with certain investments, metals and processes. I have used an
assortment of methods for dewaxing, from soaking in mek, or acetone,
to hot nitric acid pickle/stripping strength, and stem, among
others…time will help you figure out what works best for you, and
the process you use,and the waxes…some, like setters wax ( though
not quite what you’re referencing here) require a good solvent
soak…some require a simple bicarbonate of soda and hot/warm water
bath…experience and reading, and reviewing resource lists,
archives, etc from jewelery related sites all help:.research always
helps, regardless of the process in jewelery making.(.or to help one
deal with those “i -just-invented-x” moments only to find out that
the invention was recorded in the 18th century or something like
that!)…Never the less, your own conclusions from trial and error
are great teachers…

As far as owning a kiln…you can construct one out of firebricks, in
britain they are called muffles…basically a stacked set, arranged
so one can insert a torch, if not two into the bottom and generating
heat, that can be gauged with ceramicists discs- available from
ceramic suppliers, dick blick art supply and some jewelery supply
houses…keeping the temp. constant is a learned art- that in my case
involved moving a pice of sheet metal at the base around to let out
heat, retain more heat…also you can glorify the inside with
inexpensive refractory wadding that comes in rolls and is sold at
the above mentioned supplier types and also some beading, and glass
working retailers - the material is simply rolled out to the desired
inner length/diameter and held in place with your choice of binding
wire, home made pins that tack it nicely into fairly soft firebrick
(not magnesium bricks, but lining bricks as are used in a woodstove,
kachelofen, or fireplace among other uses) With just a basic ‘stack-
and -prop’ set up, you can construct a muffle in under thirty
minutes…that is hot enough to burn-out flasks, anneal metals and
glass, temper things,etc…if you have electricity you can also
construct an inexpensive one with heating cables- the drawback there
is the number of cables needed and the time it takes to ramp up, and
without a pyrometer the disc is the cheapest form of measuring the
heat contained in your set-up…Kilns are, or can be big
investments… and until you are certain there are adequate
alternatives that will get the job done…you may also check schools
and gem and mineral societies in your area as some gem clubs, etc.
have kilns that can be used sometimes for free.

hope something here was useful…R.E.Rourke

Joel, tempature is important, too cold your metal will go solid
before filling your mold to hot your metal will have gases caught
inside forming holes (perosity) in the casting. I suggest getting a
basic book on casting there are many availible. Try your local
library or any of the many jewelry tool supply houses, Rio Grande,
Gesswein, I Shore. etc They all sell books for this.

Good luck, Sam