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Proxxon lathe - Holding wax firmly

Hello all, I recently bought a used Proxxon Pro Lathe to turn wax
pieces. On trying this lathe for the first time, I am having a hard
time keeping the wax rod firmly held in the three-jawed chuck. The
action of drawing a cutting tool across the end of wax causes the rod
to loosen. The cutting tools used were a graver and a Wolf carving
tool. Should the surface of the wax rod be roughed up first? Are the
cutting tools not sharp enough? Wrong chuck? Thanks in advance for
any advice… (General thanks for all of the great info offered up by



this is Sandor of Ti-Research. You might find a solution for your
problem with our EZ-Lathe tool. It’s carried by the major suppliers
in the US. (I have to toot my horn here, my apologies).


Hello Lori,

I recently bought a used Proxxon Pro Lathe to turn wax pieces. On
trying this lathe for the first time, I am having a hard time
keeping the wax rod firmly held in the three-jawed chuck. 

You could be suffering from any one or a combination of problems.
You didn’t say if you were using the tools by hand or in a tool
holder but from your tool description, I suspect you are holding the
tools and using a steady on the lathe to support the tool end. ?? If
so, the problem can be dull tools, they need to be razor sharp, The
tool end has the wrong angle cut on it, too much force, you can’t
typically hog off wax too successfully, and most important, when you
are feeding the tool into the wax you could be holding the tool at
the wrong angle.

Which one?? I can’t tell you from here… but again, going on the
supposition that you are doing this by hand, I suggest that you pick
up a book on wood turning or pen making with a lathe. The tool
angles and the techniques for wood & pen turning cross over to wax
pretty well.

Even if I have guessed wrong on how you are working, then the same
problems can exist if you are using a tool holder and carriage on
the lathe. Sharp Sharp Sharp tools are of the utmost importance but
no more important than the other things I listed. Turning takes
practice and skill that needs to be developed over time…and lots
of wax chips!! Hang in there, it will get better!!

Good Luck. Dan DeArmond.


Hello all, I recently bought a used Proxxon Pro Lathe to turn wax
pieces. On trying this lathe for the first time, I am having a
hard time keeping the wax rod firmly held in the three-jawed chuck. 

I turn wax on a Unimat most often. A chunk of hardwood which screws
onto the spindle, hard wax melted onto the wood usually works. Hell
fire and brimstone and one mounting. Attempting to re-mount anything
facing the other direction on a lathe is going to cause a very very
bad day.

You are going to need to make some custom tooling and jigs, lathes
are very handy tools to have and unless you get too fancy they work

Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing

Wax tends to be slick, so use your tail stock in addition to your
chuck, which will tend to hold the wax better. Take small bites,
don’t rush your cutting! Deal with the end of your wax out of your
lathe. If you need your wax to be hollow cut the inside last and
take very small bites. I have found that harder waxes are easier to
turn, so stay away from softer waxes, green or purple wax is the
better choice. Hope this helps


Get a section of tubing (brass, steel, copper) with about a 1/16in
wall thickness and 1/2 in or so long. Cut a slot in it so it can be
slid over the end of the wax tube and then compressed by the 3 jaw
chuck when it is tightened. We’ve been doing this for many years
with our Compact 5 lathe.


A little while after posting this question…my husband wandered in
and suggested that I bolt the lathe to my workbench. Yeah…so…that
worked out well. Hard to believe I just admitted THAT in virtual
public. Anyway, thanks so much for the tips. Would like to hear more
on favorite cutting tools, ways to keep them sharp and types of stuff
others are doing with lathes. Looking for a class, too, if anyone has

Thank you! Lori

I have been reading about wax holding when using a lathe.

For those of you who can not afford a lathe but have a Foredom and
want to turn wax you might check out my “Poor mans wax turning
technique” paper in Orchids “Tip’s From The Jeweler’s Bench Article

I have been turning carving wax into pottery from 1 " in diameter to
3.5 " diameter as tall as 4 " with nothing but a Foredom, hand piece
and a Pana Vice and Miscellaneous scraping tools. No bench rest for
the scraping tools.

The process probably does not produce waxes as precise as those on a
machinist lathe would but the results can be very satisfactory.

I have written several other articles on working with wax. I listed
them below with their addresses.

For those of you vacuum casting with sterling silver you might want
to check my paper on Vacuum Casting without fire scale.The process is
very simple and will produce sterling castings without fire scale.

It beats the extra cost of buying fire scale free silver.

I will be glad to answer any questions you might have on any of my

Paper on Poor mans wax turning process

Conversion of dental tools into wax engraving tools

Paper showing different textures in carving wax

Paper on wax build up process

Paper on wax construction process

Paper on creating a Mountain Sheep Kachina sculpture

Paper on carving and engraving wax

Fire scale free vacuum casting

Paper on my casting techniques from start to finish.This address
will also list all the papers above which are on my blog.

My work on orchid

My web site

Lee Epperson

Lapidary Journal a few years back showed how to turn a foredom type
handpiece into a lathe. Kate Wolf also uses a foredoom to turn wax
and teaches a class on this.

Charles Friedman DDS
Ventura by the Sea


The article describing how to turn wax with a cable driven hand
piece was in 4 installments in the December 2002, January, February
and March 2003 issues of the Lapidary Journal.

I took all the photographs in the article and created a rough draft
of my procedure and sent it into Lapidary Journal.The article was put
together for the magazine by Suzanne Wade.

The article listed in my blog is my rough draft with photographs.

My anti fire scale vacuum casting technique was written up by Bob
Jones and was in the June 1995 issue of Rock and Gem magazine.

Lee Epperson