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Carving and modeling wax


#1

What would be an easy wax for carving? The kids have been doing soap
carving. They see me carving some wax and would like to try that too.
So I’m trying to find a wax that carves more like soap, easier in
general.

They’ve also done wax modeling using the beeswax often used in
Waldorf school classrooms. How would that wax work for lost wax
casting? It models easily when warmed in the hands.

It’s much easier for me to get my work done when the kids can work
alongside me, so any wax ideas would be great. I’ll cast their waxes
along with mine, in bronze.

Thanks,
Kirsten Skiles


#2
The kids have been doing soap carving. They see me carving some
wax and would like to try that too. 

Bees wax is fine for casting. If you keep it in cool water it won’t
lose it’s shape of become sticky. I’d be hesitent to have kids work
with carving tools. If they’re sharp enough to cut wax, they’re sharp
enough to cut kids. If they’re dull, they’ll use more pressure so if
there’s a slip, the tool has a lot of force behind it and, even dull,
can do some damage. Maybe a vulcanite file and some other shapes of
coarse files. Maybe a jeweler’s saw frame with a spiral wax blade. At
that, I’d probably have them wear some kind of gloves since tender
little hands aren’t like tough old calloused jeweler’s hands.

David L. Huffman


#3

I’d be hesitent to have kids work with carving tools. If they’re
sharp enough to cut wax, they’re sharp enough to cut kids.

Depending on your kids’ ages, I disagree. If you make sure that they
understand that sharp things are sharp, and that they are old enough
to understand that this means the tool deserves respect and caution,
I think wax working would be a very kid-friendly sort of activity.

It wasn’t so long ago that I was involved in the Boy Scouts, and
they still let kids as young as 12 or 13 who had passed a safety test
carry around little pocket knives to whittle and carve at bits of
wood. Compared to those little folding blades that could never hold a
real edge, properly maintained carving tools ought to be a great deal
safer, as long as the children know how to use them properly.

Willis Hance


#4

Kristen,

How old are the kids?

My nieces have wax carved with me using tools. They are 8 & 10 years
old. They were using “Sierra red injection wax” from Sassounian in
Downtown Los Angeles: 800-544-4419 (they will ship). The wax comes in
big blocks that you can break just to give them a small piece.

I use this as a build-up wax that you can then carve into or only do
a build up on a piece of sheet wax. I pretty much limit them to an
alcohol burner- close supervision and one tool. They have sooo much
fun with it.

You can also get the sculpting wax, kinda like playdoh (sp?) if you
don’t want to use the beeswax. Not sure how expensive the beeswax
is, but the sculpting wax is not expensive.

If you want a small piece of the sierra red, drop me a line and I’ll
stick one in the mail for you to try.

Amery


#5

Thanks David, Willis, and Amery. I’m going to check out the red wax
that Amery mentioned and also have the kids work more with beeswax.
My youngest prefers more to design and direct (hmmmm) but my son
wants to get right in there and carve. We’ll be looking for the right
balance between tool sharpness and wax carveability. I haven’t let
him use the really sharp tools yet, but we’ve got a few that seem to
be sharp enough without leading to ER visits if he slips. It’s
important to me that he learns to keep his eye on what his hands are
doing.

Thanks again.
Kirsten
www.kirstenskiles.com