Hello, I am a beginning jeweler, mostly self-taught (so far). I am
working on a few wedding band-type rings, and the problem I have is
that to get the ring sized, cut to the correct thickness and with
edges rounded nicely, it takes like 2 hours. I have experience using
a machine lathe and I would like to do the beginning steps on the
I know that Matt sells a wax lathe, that is not what I want to do. I
want to mount the Kerr or Ferris round ring tubes in the three-jaw
chuck of my metal working lathe. Obviously if I just threw it in
there it would crush it and still not get a good grip on it. I am
considering an outside or contracting collet to hold the ring blank
for sizing, then an inside or expanding collet to hold the blank for
shaping of the outside.
Is there a better way? I figure that making the collets will take
10-15 hours to do a nice job, and this time would definitely be
spent better working on waxes. I'm sure that others have thought of
doing the same thing.
Anybody out there able to help?
Also, I'm looking for options for marking on the wax for layout lines
and such. I have a paint that is designed for wax, but it does not
hold a clean line and instead peels off.
There is a way to turn wax using a Foredom and simple tools. I have
turned things as small as wedding bands up to pieces of wax pottery
3 1/2 inches in diameter and 4 inches tall.
Lapidary Journal December 2002 and January through March 2003
described my process of turning wax with a Foredom and how to
I wrote the preliminary articles and could send a copy to you if you
are interested. I would need your snail mail address.
In Phoenix where it was 106 degrees outside in my polishing area.
We have made a brass ring with an inside diameter of 1 1/16 inches
and a wall thickness of about .1 inches. It is about 1/2 inches long.
I cut a slot in the ring about 1/8 inch wide so the ring will
collapse a bit when it is gripped by the 3 jaw chuck of the lathe.
When fitted to the end of the wax tube the chuck will grip everything
just fine. We cut the wax tubes into two 3 inch pieces so there isn't
too much overhang. We have been doing this for maybe 20 years.
The Sharpie ultra fine permanent marker works well on green wax.
I have used the inside ring collet holder from the Benchmate with
success on the Sherline lathe. You need to make a round extension
for the lathe three jaw chuck. This extension needs the same thread
as the Benchmate, so that the plastic collet screws into it just like
the Benchmate. This is a plastic holder that will keep the wax rings
mounted securely with out breaking them. I even have a live center
snugged up to the screw end to keep it spinning true. Look at the
Benchmate inside ring holder for how this works.
I have experience using a machine lathe and I would like to do the
beginning steps on the lathe.
A metal lathe works just fine for carving type wax. If you get the
tubes you do have to be careful about how tight you put them in the
chuck, but I do it all the time, breaking a few. Solid wax rods won't
crush as easily but I find the time messing around boring them out
more of a drag than a crack now and then. If a tube does crack it
will probably do so before you have invested much work in it. It is
going to cut a lot easier than metal so you don't have to put as much
tight to it in the chuck as you would a metal rod.
I usually use a new black fine point Sharpie permanent marker for wax
layout. The get blunt after normal use so it is a good idea to have a
fresh one to draw on wax. The fine point, which is not what I would
really call "fine" works best. The ultra fine point would be a much
handier size but it doesn't always stick to the wax.
I have been turning wax for many years. I am self taught on the
lathe. I like ferris file a wax, usually green but purple and blue
also depends on the job, square bar stock.
I use a 4 jaw chuck the material is solid so you can tighten it in
the chuck firmly. The bar is 31mm square by 92 mm long I cut it in
half and face the end square, mark the center and use a divider to
mark the inside ring size then cut the inside . I then use the
divider and mark the outside for thickness and cut it too. If
shaping is required , comfort fit or what ever then files or exacto
knives work fine at slow speeds. Of course you will do the exposed
side 1st then cut off the the ring from the bar and using the 3 jaw
chuck if it will grab fine if your edge is to rounded than you can
make a tapered spindle (Mandrel) to fit the job at hand either wood
or even the wax stock can be cut down for this to turn the remaining
side of the ring . Nylon from a ladies stocking leaves a nice
polished finish too.
I make ring blanks for carving as well as wedding bands and comfort
fit rings. I will turn settings too and sometimes wax it all
together as a finished piece. Since I do my own casting I can take
the time and care waxing up a job can save lots of hours over hand
Although with a drill press and the right drills you can use a slab
of round wax and just drill out the correct size and file up the
rest. still fast but not like the lathe.
If i can answer questions for you please email me -
Thanks John, marking the wax has been one of my big hurdles. I just
tried a trick tonight where you scratch a line, then fill with a
white paint and rub off the excess. And it worked!! I was ecstatic.
I have been trying everything. At one point I was scoring about 1/8"
into the damn wax trying to get the lines to show up. Messed that one
up good. Does the Sharpie actually mark the wax or does it fill in
the score marks like the paint? Any other ideas to mark on wax? I
swear this problem just about kept me up nights.
Ps. I will try the wax mounting idea, and let you know how it works.
Use the solid wax cylinder. I use the largest diameter available.
You can make a metal shaper to cut the contour of the ring or do it
by hand. Cut the outside of the ring and then mill out the inside. I
drill the inside with a half inch drill to get a starting hole. When
you mill the inside, the finished ring drops off on your cutter. Go
slow when cutting the inside.
Does the Sharpie actually mark the wax or does it fill in the score
marks like the paint? Any other ideas to mark on wax?
I'm refering to the Sanford brand Sharpie Ultra Fine Point permanent
marker. It will rub off of green wax if you work at it but it is
durable as the wax surface it is on. It marks soft wax as well.
A German company makes a superior permanent ink marking pen which
does not dry out. It had been marketed here in the 'States under the
brand name ENTRE. by Staples. I don't know whether they still carry
them. I bought a gross of them several years ago and not a single
one of them has ever dryed out. I use them to outline designs on
slabs for cabbing.
They have the remarkable ability to remain functional even when the
cap is left off whereas the Sharpies have the annoying tendency to
dry out on the tip after a short period of exposure.
Ron Mills, Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, Ca.
What size and type of lathe are you using, I do machining as a part
of my shops work, and we have done lots of thing on both our lathes,
I just need to know the type and size to begin to help you.
What size and type of lathe are you using, I do machining as a
part of my shops work, and we have done lots of thing on both our
lathes, I just need to know the type and size to begin to help you.
Standard Modern 12x36 metricized threadcutting gearhead with lantern
style toolpost. Three jaw and four jaw chucks. Am I missing anything?