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Melting and reusing jeweler's wax


#1

I just bought two one-pound blocks of the blue jeweler’s wax and
want to know if I can melt the two down to combine them to make one
big block. Will this interfere with the properties of the wax?
Strength? Ability to make it really smooth?

Also, if it is safe to melt them down and let the wax re-harden,
what is the best technique (can I do it on the stovetop without
burning/overheating it?), and when I pour it into a bigger
container, should I line the container with something to prevent it
from sticking in there?

Thank you SO much for your great


#2

Kara - there are larger blocks available for purchase. Try Kindt
Collins website. They make the Ferris wax and it’s superior quality.
As far as melting and pouring goes I’d do it very slowly over low
heat and try not to incorporate bubbles in the molten wax at any
time. The thin aluminum disposable pans are great for what you’re
trying to do, then you can simply bend them away from the cooled wax
when you’re ready to use the larger block or else carefully cut them
and tear the aluminum away from the wax. I doesn’t stick to the pan

Margie Mersky -
www.deepdetail.com
www.mmwaxmodels.com


#3

I don’t have on the specific melting of jewelers waxes,
but the melting of other waxes is usually done in a double boiler -
the type of one similar to that in which chocolate is melted.
Basically the item to be melted is in a separate container (usually a
shorter saucepan that sits inside the other one) that is suspended
over boiling water. I imagine this would work fine for jeweler’s
waxes too.

Sadie


#4

I’ve melted and reformed blocks of blue machinable wax without harm.
That’s one of the advantages of this material - no waste. If you
throw in all the chips from cutting it (making sure not to pick up
contaminants) this will introduce air that needs some time to work
its way out, but it eventually does result in a block with pretty
much the same physical properties as the original.

if it is safe to melt them down and let the wax re-harden, what is
the best technique (can I do it on the stovetop without
burning/overheating it?), and when I pour it into a bigger
container, should I line the container with something to prevent
it from sticking in there? 

I wouldn’t recommend stovetop melting for wax. There’s too much
danger of overheating, which at best will harm the material and at
worst will result in a fire. Use an electrically controlled pot, like
a deep-fryer instead, preferably with an infinite range control (not
just low, medium and high) so you can control the temperature
accurately.

If this is the same material I’ve used, there’s no need to line a
steel container - it doesn’t stick, and shrinks quite a bit allowing
easy removal. I’ve cast it into a steel pipe to get cylinders for
4-axis carving, and after cooling they drop right out. Flat slabs are
challenging to cast, though - due to the high shrinkage, it tends to
warp a lot as it cools.

Andrew Werby
www.computersculpture.com


#5

Kara,

I produce a lot of “scrap” virgin wax and being frugal re-melt it. A
double boiler set up won’t work, can’t get above 212 F with water
and you need more .

A stove with direct heat should work but what I use is either a wax
injector I built just for carving wax or an old pop can over an
alcohol flame. (Safety bees need not reply, I know the risks and
dangers, but a double boiler with 250 F oil is not that safe either)

Mold release usually not required. Pour at the lowest possible
temperature, as close as possible to the wax freezing in the pot.
Shrinkage will be reduced, pour too hot into an open mold and the
centre will really suck in or the block will crack in half, or both
:frowning: With the injector and a plexiglas mold I keep the pressure on
until the wax solidifies. (patience or a combination of a rope and
brick weight)

Re-melted wax is different, at least the colour is darker. Other
properties might change slightly too, I haven’t really noticed.
Probably best to ‘age’ it a day or two, I remember hearing that
melting changes would tend to heal with time (?? Kate Wolf ??) and it
is better that a too hot pour split before you carve it.

It IS possible with practice and persistence, I do it a lot but only
for in house work and tests. For larger blocks I would investigate
places like or for ‘machinable wax’

Jeff
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#6

I turn many of my projects which produces a BUNCH of scrap wax. I
notice that when the wax is melted and cooled the carving
characteristics of it are changed considerably.

When engraving or scraping the original wax the tool chatters
slightly. The wax feels crisp. Melted wax feels slightly gummy when
engraved or scraped.

I also have noticed that if the original wax is allowed to sit for
long periods of time the surface is not as crisp.

My guess is that the original wax is extruded which produces a more
dense wax then can be produced by melting, pouring and cooling.

There are times when I make a mistake when engraving or carving. It
is a simple mater to melt wax into the error and re carve. I am
never happy about carving the repaired area because it is never as
sharp as the original area. Some times I will place the repaired
piece in ice water then re carve. The chilling of the wax seems to
make the repaired section crisper.

I would suggest you melt the wax in some sort of portable hot plate
outside if possible. There is always a good chance the molten wax
might spill on the hot coils or into the flame of the stove which
could cause a fire. Also be extremely careful if you have to move any
molten wax. It will cause very sever burns if it contacts the skin.

If the reformed wax works for you go for it.

I do not melt and reform the scrap wax. I use the scrap in my no
fire scale casting process.

Lee Epperson


#7

I don’t do large quantities, so this might not work for all. I use
small tins and put them directly under a hot light bulb while carving
wax close by so I can watch it. The heat from the light eventually
melts it… maybe 15 minutes… into a pool of wax. I let it cool,
and then work with it from the tin.

Last time it was a flat 3 oz burt’s bees farmer’s friend hand salve
tin and a 75 watt bulb right over the wax bits.

Amery Carriere Designs
Romantic Jewelry with an Edge
www.amerycarriere.com