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So let's talk about wax wire


#1

Now that we’ve talked about wax sheets, how about wax wire? I buy
the assorted boxes of Kerr round/half round and bezel wire, and the
Kerr is the best wax wire I’ve found. It has a reasonable amount of
strength, even when heated to weld, but what I’d really like is
individual sizes of the stuff. I would buy large quantities of 8 ga
1/2 round wax wire and 8 ga uncut bezel wire, and I have lots of
boxes of leftover wire in sizes I never use, but as far as I can see
Kerr doesn’t sell individual sizes.

I bought a box of 8 ga half round from a local findings supplier,
and it basically squishes as soon as it’s heated at all. Ideally I’d
like to find wax wire that is even firmer but still pliable. For
rigid uses like prongs I extrude Matt blue wax in long wires, but
it’s not pliable.

Any suggestions? Are there other kinds out there that are better?

Janet Kofoed


#2

Hi Janet,

I’m a big fan of the Matt red wax extruded through the gun. Hard
enough that it doesn’t fingerprint, but flexible enough to braid.
(yet hard enough that it doesn’t dent itself when you braid, so you
can pull it tight.) Amazing stuff. The only problem with it is that
you have to extrude your own. I really wish they sold it
pre-extruded to a proper range of sizes.

FWIW,
Brian


#3

Some company used to sell spools of various sizes and shapes of wax
wire.

Paf Dvorak


#4
I'm a big fan of the Matt *red* wax extruded through the gun.
[snip] The only problem with it is that you have to extrude your
own. 

I unearthed a wax gun at work, and would like to try extruding my
own wax wire. How to you extrude it so that it stays straight and
round?

Noel


#5

If you extrude it in a straight line, I use a wood surface, there
will be a slightly flattened side but it will be mostly round. You
can pretty much control the thickness. I’ve been using blue because
that’s what I usually work with but I’m going to try the red. I also
have a couple of those tools they use to apply wax for batik and I
want to experiment using different waxes in them.

Janet Kofoed


#6

Hi Noel

That’s the catch. I got decent at it, but it was never machine
perfect. My technique, such as it was, was to start with a chunk of
marble (stone) countertop, stick the first molten blob to it on the
left, and then carefully extrude in air, all the way to the right.
You sort of get a sense of how fast to go, and how much to let it
drape in the air to get the size wire you want. Then you just
extrude a bunch of ropes of it, and hope you get enough of the right
size and length. The longer it hangs in air, the less it flatspots
against the stone.

Regards,
Brian Meek


#7

the traditional tjanting ( batik wax application tool) will not give
you an even thickness if you are trying to make your own wires to
work with. Also there are two easy ways to make your own wire moulds

  1. take a piece of wood, and with the flexshaft use a routing bit to
    cut a half round groove, remove the debris and put some french polish
    on it with cotton wool swabs- really get it down into the grooves (
    as you will probably want a few different sizes and a length of at
    least 18 inches so you can further cut it into 6" lengths or whatever
    works for you) then seal the wood with laquer, don’t use shellac as
    it will soften slightly with the heat from an injector each time you
    apply it, so you would have to wait longer, particularly in warm
    weather, to remove the wires.Chill the wood quickly to harden the
    wires - a freezer works best as a small amount of moisture around the
    edge of the wire actually helps it come out easily. Using a harder
    wax will give you less trouble removing any wire cleanly…

  2. You can also get a piece of cold rolled steel at any hardware or
    home store. with a lubricated diamond bur ( many shapes are available
    that will all give a rounded groove) or a modified reinforced cut-off
    wheel ( grind the flat edges off and you have a half round shape) set
    a stop with a piece of tape or a permanent marker and draw it along a
    straight edge you have ruled on the stock. use any combination or
    types of polishing wheels, points, etc to put a mirror finish on the
    grooves, chill the bar first lay the wax into the groove by starting
    it on a piece of silicone ( parchment ) paper so it extends beyond
    the edge and gives you something to hold onto to start removal and
    once the wax has set remove it.

a good machine shop can make you a mould for a few dollars if you
want a variety of grooves cut, and/or more than round shapes. If you
bring the stock they will probably do the job while you wait.

You can also make an injector out of a hot glue gun- or wax pen- the
instructions are on you tube and MAKE magazine.com’s metal work and
creative.jewelry sites.Harder waxes are better for modifying either
of those options.

Plexiglass doesn’t work well. I had a student that tried using it as
a substrate and it wound up being the hardest substrate to remove
anything resembling a length of wire from…rer