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Sheet wax clean-up

Hi, Thank you for all of your help thus far. I would like some help in
getting a nice clean surface on sheet wax. I have made a few items
with sheet wax and the surface has the very faint marks of the wax as
it was processed. Also I have accidentally gotten a fingerprint on
the wax and it shows, too. I’ve tried all kinds of ways to get a nice
surface on the sheet wax so I won’t have so much work after the
casting, but since sheet wax is so soft and pliable I seem to create
more problems. Even soft warm air seems to soften this type of wax
too much and solvents eat it away. I would appreciate any tips at
all. Thank You,


Dear Christine,

    casting, but since sheet wax is so soft and pliable I seem to

I may writing beside your question. But if the cause of trouble is
the softness of the sheet wax, you can make hard sheet wax by melting
hard wax on a hot plate for cooking.

I put a square frame on a flat thin metal on a hot plate and make
hard sheet wax by melting a hard wax inside of the frame. I can
control the thickness with the volume of the wax to put in. I don’t
melt wax directly on a hot plate but on a thin flat metal for health.

The shortages of this method aRe: The edge of the sheet becomes
thicker because of surface tension. If the hot plate is not
horizontal, the thickness of the sheet becomes non-uniform.

I hope this helps.

Takashi Tomoeda

OK: her is how I make thin, flexable, hard, and usable sheet wax.
Melt some carve wax in a double boiler set up. You can use a double
boiler or a glass jar in a pan of boiling water ( I use my wax
injector since all I use in it is carve wax). When the wax is good and
liquid I pour it on a piece of glass or masonite (something with a
really smooth surface). Now quickly before it cools I press another
sheet of glass or masonite on top and press really hard. This gives me
a sheet of wax about .5 to 1mm thick that I can saw or carve and
flex. It polishes, doesn’t take finger prints, and is all in all 100
times better than the sheet wax you buy. You can adjust the thickness
by how hard you press the two pieces of masonite or glass together or
how hot the wax is. Use a 1/8" piece of glass so it doesn’t break
easy. Whatever you use to sandwich the wax between make sure it has a
smooth shiny surface because the wax will duplicate the surface
texture.If you get chill lines in the wax try warming the glass or
masonite on top of the wax pot or steamer or in the kiln. I said Warm.
Oh Yes, you can use a texture surface as well. HINT! HINT! Good
luck, it takes a little practice but is well worth the effort if you
do wax construction. Any questions feel free to email me off line. I’m
glad you asked this question, I haven’t had a chance to pass this
little bench trick along to anyone as of yet. Thanks Frank Goss

Christine, We used to use nylon type stockings to clean up small
scratches and blemishes on wax models. It leaves no lint or grit and
polishes the wax.

Steve Ramsdell

Christine, don’t really know what kind of design you’re working on
with the sheet wax; but, perhaps you can make your wax models by
using injection wax, or if you prefer it to be a little harder just
add some hard wax. The only time I use sheet wax is for a rumple
design (where you squash it in to get undulating folds) and I use the
GC brand blue sheet, Japanese maker and I’ve seen it on U.S.
catalogs. The GC blue is a bit firmer than other brands that I’ve
used. Back to designing, since I started to use the build-up technique
(mixing injection wax with hard wax) I no longer use the sheet wax or
the hard wax as is. It’s like modeling in clay, only you use the
heated tools to shape and form your model and finish it by filing and
scraping. The potential of this technique is unlimited. Try it and
enjoy. Min Azama in Tokyo.

An dea, When I want thin sheets of hard wax for engraving I cut thin
slabs Ferris file a wax on my band saw. Note Rio Grande sells a
round wax cutting saw blade that cuts hard wax very well. Does not
gum up.

To smooth the surface of the wax: Place a fordom hand piece in a
fordom drill press or a dremel in a dremel press. Place a large burr
with teeth on the end into the handpiece. Set the table to burr gap
slightly smaller than the wax slab. Do not try to remove too much
wax at one pass. Use the burr like an end mill. Pass the wax under
the burr. Make one pass with the mill on both sides of the wax. On
following passed reduce the burr to table gap until the wax is the
thickness you desire. The wax can then be filed with a fine file and
sanded with wet, well worn, 600 grit sandpaper. rub the sand paper
on itself until it is well worn.

Note the color of carving waxes canges color as the thickness
decreases. Mill a piece of wax in steps of various thichness. The
the thickness of the wax project can be determined by shining a light
through the standard and the project and comparing the color.

You can use the end mill to square up any piece of wax.

good luck
Lee Epperson