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Electric waxers

After 20 some years of using an alcohol lamp and a dental tool
(knife shaped) I bought an electric waxer from J.F. McCaughin Co.
(Rosemead, CA). About $135. The unit has a rheostat that is quite
sensitive, but the tip ends of the pen are Fred Flintstone clunky for
delicate work, and the way they are set into the pen is cheesy, if
moved around just a little, the connections fail and no heat. I filed
the tip down to a more accurate point, but I am still not 100%
satisfied with the result. Meanwhile, I really like the idea of the
waxer, and wonder if anyone has a unit brand they are recommending
highly, and have used long term. Thanks!

Baker O’Brien

Ha! I just wrap a small piece of fine silver wire around the tip in
such a way that about 3 mm extends past the end of the tip. Sometimes
I wrap a wire onto the tip so that a small loop is formed. I’m able
to do quite intricate wax work this way! Tip, with a pair of pliers,
flatten just the very tip of the silver wire to form a spade like end
that will hold a tiny amount of wax (otherwise wax will just flow up
the wire in the absence of a loop).

Good Luck!
Jeffrey Everett

The Kerr Mastertouch gets my vote hands down. I have and have used
almost every electric wax pen on the market and this one is by far
the best for control of temperature and delicate tips. I did augment
my tips from the factory with ni-chrome wire in various gauges down
to 40. I also added a sewing machine foot peddle control for more
exact and remote off on switch. I cannot say enough about this
system. ( usual disclaimer goes here) Frank Goss

Don’t know what brand of waxer you have, but for the past 25 years
I’ve been using a small attachment of my own design for delicate
work. The waxer I use is the Giles, or “Precision” waxer. This has
been a very reliable waxer for years. Plus, it seems to be the least
expensive. The original box, tips and cord I bought 25 years ago.
I’ve replaced the innards with a much more reliable rheostat, but
that’s another story. The original control unit was something that
resembled a piece of tin can sliding over a coil of bare wire.

You’ll have many responses to you question suggesting wrapping wire
of some sort or another around the tip for delicate work. This works
alright, but all that wrapping and unwrapping can get to be a pain in
neck. I’ve also found that when it comes time to do some of the
delicate work, my tip is hot so I either have to fumble around with a
hot tip or wait till it cools off (enough so I won’t have to risk
another burn) which interferes with my production for a time.

With my little gadget, all you have to do is slip it on the tip, do
your thing, slip it off and keep track of it till next time it’s
needed. I’ve managed to keep track of mine for years. If anyone’s
interested, I can be contacted directly for the next couple weeks and
I will send a photo and instructions to make your own.

Baker, I have been using a Ker MasterTouch for at least ten years and
am very happy with it. There are 15 different tips available for it.
I use 5 different tips. There is a rheostat and a foot control for
on/off. The current price in the Stuller catalog is $233. Joel

Joel Schwalb

And for a temp controlled unit, might try Radio Shack. I bought a
temp controlled unit for under $80.00. Only bit of a negative is
the lowest temp the unit sets to is 350 deg F. But if you need a
cool tip and are fast in your movements, over cool the tip on the
wet (water) sponge (on unit) and do what you need. Or you could do
the wire thing as above (or hard solder the wire to the copper tip)
but make the wire long and maybe don’t use silver (too good a
conductor of heat) so it will stay cool longer. Also, many tips can
be fashioned out of some #8 or #6 (I don’t remember which) bear
copper grounding wire ($.50 a foot at local hardware store) and
hammer flat, grind, file, sand or whatever you want into any tip you
like. I also replaced the set screw that was in the soldering iron
(was a slotted screw) with an allen set screw to keep the
projections off of the soldering iron down to a minimum. Then I
drilled some holes in the plastic case above the iron holder, a
small one for the Allen wrench, and others for the extra tips I have
made. very easy and quick to change tips, the iron is of a high
enough wattage that it heats the new ly inserted tip rather fast.

I mostly work on larger waxes (bronze castings) but there is a LOT
of fine work that get done on these waxes (eyes, lips, ears, noses
and the like and it has been a godsend for my work.

John Dach

Hi Aufin–I would love to have instructions for making a neasily
removable tip for use with a waxer. . Thanks for offering it to
us. My waxer is a clumsy, makeshift one made out of an electric
soldering iron with tip filed down, and home-made reahostat,. Been
planning to get a good one, but have been put off by the price of
some of them. Will investigate the Giles–Precision Waxer. Alma

For cleaning excess wax off a hot tip, I use that usually pink foam
that wax models are shipped in, usually with a slot to hold a row of
waxes. The whole piece is 2 1/2 x3 1/2 inches, and if you pull them
apart you can use all 4 sides of one piece. I have silver soldered
silver wire to the tip of giles type waxer for a real fine tip.I have
used mine for working on rubber molds. I have a large quantity of
radio shack soldering iron temp controllers that they discontinued
years ago. I use a miniture soldering iron, a weller sp 12. I tap
the end and use one of three wax tips that I make myself and cast in
brass that are perfect for all the waxwork I do. These are not like
Giles tips. They have much better function for building up and
removing wax with far more control. The heat controller gives
accurate temp control for minimum to max wax melting. If anyone
wants a controller and three tips, e-mail me offline and I will give you
the price. Richard Hart

I bought my first Giles Precision Wax Pen about 25 years ago, I’ve
replaced the handpiece and cord about 3 or 4 times and had it sent
to repair the Rheostat and weird thing that runs across the coils to
control the temperature, and several sets of new tips, because we
used it a lot to burn molds. If I’m not mistaken I paid around 80.00
new for it, (don’t quote me on that price) but it wasn’t much more.
Now if we figure that it has cost me a total of about roughly 300.00
over a 25 year period, it has cost me about 12.00 per year to own,
Now it’s getting to the point where it will only heat in the high
ranges so I’m basically tired of looking at it and since it costs
nearly as much to send it to a repair shop that specializes in
jewelry equipment, as for a new Giles I’ve decided to get modernized
and lay out the bucks for a new Kerr Master Touch, I’ll probably just
muck around with the old Giles and set it up for just spruing or just
make a pedestal for it and worship it or some other weird thing. The
only reason for going to the Kerr Master Touch is I like the Idea of
a foot control on off switch, I hope I can make tip modifications like I
could on the Giles,

Hi Gang, I use the Ultra Waxer by Kerr - this one has 4 programable
preset temperature buttons, a quick heat button and a foot pedal. I
don’t use the foot pedal, as I already have 3 under my bench and am
always hitting the wrong foot pedal as it is. I like the digital
precision of this unit. It’s nice to be able to press a button and
have the ideal temperature for my Touch-Up, Build-Up, Relief or
Carving wax. Before this unit I used the lower end Kerr digital waxer
that has a dial to change temperature. I’ve made tips for both units,
out of tubing and 18k gold wire to do faux granulation. I also have
the new Foredom Wax Pens for the classroom. I like their compact
size. I use a fine Sharpie to mark the dial for the temperatures I
like the best. We are putting the labels on my new waxes this
week,Wolf Wax by Ferris and they will be ready to ship to
distributors in two weeks. If you are interested in the waxes ask who
ever you order wax from. We used the new waxes in class this week (At
New Approach School for Jewelers) and the students were real enthused
about it- said it was ‘easy on the eyes’ and carves beautifully. Have
a great day & happy carving! Best Regards, Kate Wolf

My first jewelry instructor was very big on making your own tools,
so when the time came that I wanted an electric wax pen, I went to a
hardware store (after looking at catalog prices of “real” ones) and
bought an inexpensive soldering iron, an “in-line” dimmer switch, and
put the dimmer on the soldering iron’s electric cord. After I found
the places on the dimmer that worked best for different waxes, I
marked those spots with different colored markers (green mark for
hard green wax, etc.). The soldering iron came with spare tips, which
I filed and bent to different shapes. I’ve been using this thing for
15 years! If it ever stops working, I guess it won’t be hard to make
another one.