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Lost wax help

Hi! I use the lost wax method to make my pieces, and I had a
question about the different kinds of wax…

To do rings, I start with sheet wax around a mandrel. The
problem I have is that the sheet wax gets nicked and dented very
easily, and then the inside of my ring looks beat up. wax files
can’t get it completely smooth as they do red wax because the
texture of the sheet is more sticky, and it never really hardens.
Does anyone else have a technique or suggestion on how to get
the inside of the ring smooth in wax? Someone once suggested
using lighter fluid because it’s a wax solvent, but when I went
to buy it, i didn’t know if it was lighter for lighters or for
charcoal grills!! I didn’t want to use the wrong thing.

amery in venice.

Amery Carriere,
Assistant to the Director
Annenberg School for Communication
School of Communication
3502 Watt Way ASC304 F
LA, CA 90089-0281

phone: 213.740.0934
fax: 213.740.3913

Amery, try gently heating an old, smooth riffle scraper and
practice smoothing the inside wax with the warm smooth edge. Use
a candle and don’t get it hot enough to melt the wax, only warm
to smooth it.


Amery - I suggest that you join the Metal Arts Society of
So.Calif. We have jewelers and metalsmiths that get together
about 6 times a year. Also we have weekend workshops and the last
one was on lost wax carving. We also have videos of all the
workshops and many others. Contact Rose Marie Diem at
818-359-4245. Jack Burton

Hi Amery, I myself would not use a soft material like the sheet
wax to do a carving with. Keeping a nice uniform shape is
extremely difficult for me even using red injection wax. The more
body heat transferred to the piece the harder it is to keep its
shape. Try using specified carving waxes. It’ll make life so much

                           Michael B

Amery, have you ever worked with blue wax? It comes in various
shapes including ring tubes. To size rings there is a tool that
is shaped somewhat like a ring mandrel. It has sizes marked on
one side and a long blade running the length of the marked sizes.
Whoever you purchase it from can show you the proper way to use
it. If you don’t care to purchase the sizer you can use a large
wax file to work down the inside of the wax ring tube. I don’t
like to use lighter fluid due to my own peculiar sensitivities to
petrochemicals and have found suitable substitutes in an orange
oil based product that I think is called Wax Klean. Another
thing to use for smoothing your wax is denatured alcohol. I
usually apply either of these with a q-tip and smooth out the
softened outer layer of wax with my finger. Happy Carving!

Joyce in CO

   To do rings, I start with sheet wax around a mandrel.  The
problem I have is that the sheet wax gets nicked and dented
very easily, and then the inside of my ring looks beat up. 

You might want to try using a harder carving wax that won’t get
all those nicks and dents. Most jewelry supply places sell a
tube of ring wax in different shapes. All you need to do is
slice off the width you need for a ring and then size it by
heating up a metal ring mandrel and slide the blank along to the
size of your choice. Then you can carve/melt away for your
design without having to worry about damaging your design.

If you are making more of a band ring and want it to come out
even all the way around, then another way would be to use solid
carving wax. Cut out the approximate size and thickness you need
from a slab/bar of carving wax, drill a hole thru the center and
mount it securely on a small mandrel to be put on your flex
shaft. Then you can use gravers, pocket knives, picks, ect. on
your spinning wax to get an even, round band. Go slowly while
carving away.

Hope some of this helps.

Jill Alessandra Jewelry