What's the best way to get the surface of waxes as smooth and
shiny as possible before casting? (I'm casting detailed figural
charms, not things like rings or pendant findings)
The best thing I’ve been able to do is use a really light touch with
my dental (carving) tools and make the surface as even as possible,
then take some sandpaper and twist it into a thin cone. Smash the
cone flat and it makes a kind of sandpaper blade, with a thin point
that can fit in small areas and an edge to go around lines. I use two
or three progressively finer grits of sandpaper.
To polish, I’ve been using scrap pantyhose and orange cleaner on the
big areas (taught to use pantyhose because it doesn’t leave fibers
stuck to the wax and the weave is very fine; while the orange cleaner
seems to melt the surface very slightly, making the areas smooth,
plus it’s sticky and removes any stray wax at the edges of carved
areas). I then take a piece of scrap pantyhose and wrap it around a
small pointy file, then dip that into orange cleaner to get at the
narrower parts of the piece.
Alternatively you could dip the whole piece into the orange cleaner
and ‘floss’ out the excess orange cleaner with a piece of pantyhose;
depending on the way the piece is shaped this way can work better.
After the orange cleaner is wiped/dried off, you can see if there are
any scratches left that you may have to go back and sand off, polish
If anyone has better suggestions I’d like to hear about them too, of
course. I really enjoy wax carving.