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Hackish Techniques?


#1

I often use a wax pen to heat a stone and seat it in the wax. This
is especially true when the stone has concave facets along the
girdle. Yet every time I do, a part of me winces and chides for not
being a good enough carver to avoid this technique. I dislike
stressing the poor stone with heat, and threatening it’s clear table
with the hard mean metal of the wax pen seperated only by a thin
layer of molten wax. Sure, there are stones like diamond and saphire
that can readily handle this treatment, but I apply this crutch to
all sorts of stones. I will try to wean myself with a wax dipping
pot.

It makes me wonder what other techniques out there are on the iffy
side. It would be nice to know before becoming dependant on them.
Are there any tricks you once used, but discarded as being off or
wrong or risky?

Or do I have it backward? Perhaps there are no hackish techniques,
only hacks who abuse perfectly good ones.

Ben Steiger


#2

Yes, the wax pen heating a stone is risky but can be done several
different ways to avoid damage. Some take longer than others to
accomplish. This is what the customer sometimes doesn’t understand
about how long it takes to carve a custom seat, especially for those
larger stones. Try laying the wax pen tip on the girdle gently and
evenly while it’s still cold… then gradually heat up the tip bit by
bit. Of course this is after you’ve already carved out a basic seat
by eye-balling the pavillion and seeing the seat in reverse in your
mind = something that took years of practice to perfect. Then there
are always stones that positively cannot handle any heat what-so-ever
and that’s where your instinct for carving a proper seat has to take
over. So many times I just hold my breath and be as careful as I can
when doing this. So far in my career I have never damaged a stone
with a wax pen. Good luck and let’s all prosper onward!

Margie Mersky Custom Designs, INC
www.mmwaxmodels.com


#3

Ben - when i use this technique ive found that if heat an amount of
wax covering top of the stone it heats the stone up more evenly and
doesn’t take quite as long to achieve the desired results -

goo


#4

All,

Most gemstones can withstand a lot more heat than what is generally
thought. What they can not stand is the temperature differential
between a heat source and the opposite side of the stone to which
the heat source is being applied. Warm a most stones gently and you
can heat them to quite high temperatures., You must also cool them
slowly. A wax pen does not generate enough heat to damage most of
the Some, like spodumene, and apatite, are very sensitive
to harsh conditions of any kind.

Gerry Galarneau


#5

Hello Ben;

I often use a wax pen to heat a stone and seat it in the wax. 

That’s a risky technique with a lot of stones. I can almost
guarantee you’d bust a tanzanite or an opal doing that, they’re very
sensitive to abrubt temperature changes.

Are there any tricks you once used, but discarded as being off or
wrong or risky? 

Here’s one that’s somewhat less risky. Cut the seat sloppy large,
then fill it with a layer of lower temperature wax, then, spray the
stone with silicone and put it in the seat and put the whole thing
under a heat lamp (a light bulb will do). That will raise the
temperature less and more slowly. When the low temp wax seat softens,
push the stone down into it and let the wax cool. Pluck out the
stone.

I’ve done a fair amount of concave cut stones, once setting a
concave cut Helenite (glass) in a heavy white gold bezel. Here’s what
I do.

I lay the stone upside down on the wax with a bit of super glue. When
the glue sets, I trace around the stone with a needle. Take off the
stone and cut a seat, checking the fit from time to time with the
stone. As I get closer, I spray “Seat Check” in the seat. The
product is available from Rio Grande, it’s developed for the dental
industry. Press the stone in the seat with a little pressure and
where it makes contact, the Seat Check darkens. Cut the dark areas
and spray and check. Cut the new dark areas. Continue in this way
until the stone darkens the entire seat. After it’s cast, you need
only remove a bit of the surface casting skin to have an excellent
fit.

So basically, I’m telling you the secret, which will no doubt
dissapoint some. The secret is patience. If I come up with something
better, I’ll let you know, but I might request payment first. I’ll
give away general knowlege, because you’ll pay for that with years of
practice. Shortcuts are different.

David L. Huffman


#6

Hello you wax model experts.

I don’t attempt to make wax models, so this question may be very
silly. Instead of heating the stone to imprint the wax, why don’t you
apply a little wax to the girdle of the stone, then apply that to the
body. Is it too difficult to separate the stone from its little wax
"garment"?

Inquiring minds want to know,

Judy in Kansas, who spent a few hours last night digging out terraces
and laying stone walls. Very rewarding!


#7

I will often melt stones into a wax with my wax pen to create a time
saving seat that better fits the actual stone. I will do it with
heat sensitive stones, nice emeralds or tanzanites for instance, as
well as diamonds, etc. When I am demonstrating or someone is
watching, I always say “Don’t ever do this, it’s a very very bad
idea, I am aware that I may need to buy the client a new stone”. In
30 years I have yet to damage a stone that way. But don’t you ever
do it, it’s a very very bad idea…

Mark


#8

Why are You using the real thing? Couldn’t You have a bunch of cheap
synthetic stones in various shapes & sizes on hand for just this
purpose?


#9
I lay the stone upside down on the wax with a bit of super glue.
When the glue sets, I trace around the stone with a needle. 

I do the same thing, but I went to the The New Approach School of
Jewelry hosted by Blaine Lewis, and to stick the stone to the wax or
the ring for cutting a setting, he uses Jolly Rancher hard candy.

http://www.hersheys.com/products/details/jollyrancher.asp

Just lick the candy, then rub it on the stone, and stick the stone
on the wax or the ring, and trace around it.

When you are done, eat the candy…

Love and God Bless
randy


#10
I do the same thing, but I went to the The New Approach School of
Jewelry hosted by Blaine Lewis, and to stick the stone to the wax
or the ring for cutting a setting, he uses Jolly Rancher hard
candy. 

What a fascinating idea. I wonder if he has ever thought to tell the
Jolly Rancher folks about this novel use - maybe they would like to
sponsor him with free candy for life…!! :slight_smile:

Best wishes,
Ian
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK


#11
I do the same thing, but I went to the The New Approach School of
Jewelry hosted by Blaine Lewis, and to stick the stone to the wax
or the ring for cutting a setting, he uses Jolly Rancher hard
candy. 

I would say using candy and licking it in the workshop is not a very
good idea in this uber PC world of health and safety rules.

Helen
Preston, UK


#12
I would say using candy and licking it in the workshop is not a
very good idea in this uber PC world of health and safety rules. 

Helen, as weird as it may seem to passersby, saliva is not that
uncommon to use in metalsmithing. I was taught to use it during
granulation, getting it on the brush & therefore coating the granules
with it, as well as licking the metal sheet itself! Hey, it’s not
like you’re licking someone else’s work, you keep it to yourself. :wink:

Lisa
Designs by Lisa Gallagher
www.lisagallagher.com


#13
Helen, as weird as it may seem to passersby, saliva is not that
uncommon to use in metalsmithing. 

Along those same lines, I was taught that you should swipe your
burnisher over the top of your nose, because nose oil was the best
lubricant, and always at hand. Of course if you wear makeup this
isn’t an option.