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[Source] Allot of Wax!

Hello all, another question here. Anyone know of any good wax
suppliers? I suspect I’ll be messing up a bunch of it while I perfect
my technique. At some point I should have enough projects gone wrong
to melt down and carve again.

The carving clay was nice and all but the smaller and finer the
shapes the details would soften in my hand. Would green be the best to
start with rather than purple?

Thanks all, (Wax Off)
“Life, what a beautiful design”

   Hello all, another question here. Anyone know of any good wax
suppliers? I suspect I'll be messing up a bunch of it while I
perfect my technique. At some point I should have enough projects
gone wrong to melt down and carve again. 

A number of jewelry tools suppliers sometimes carry Ferris
"seconds". these are usually the larger bulk size blocks, not ring
tubes etc. cost is about half the per pound price of the regular
"firsts". Just a usable, but with varous flaws in the size of the
block, or it may have some external damage to the block, etc. Also,
check into Do-All company, the machine tools supplier. They used to
carry a product that is identical to the ferris blue file-a-wax for
use in verifying CNC cutting tool programs. Too fast a feed rate in
the wax won’t break expensive end mills… And the wax from them was
a lot cheaper than from 46erris. I’d bet the machine tool guys are
the original manufacturers, and 46erris relabels it, but that’s just
a guess.

The carving clay was nice and all but the smaller and finer the
shapes the details would soften in my hand. Would green be the best
to start with rather than purple? 

Blue is the softest and most pliable, and many commercial wax
workers use the blue as their default choice. It’s fastest to carve
and cut, and most resistant to breakage by mistake. but tiny details
can be more difficult, since it’s flexibility lets thin sections move
instead of carving cleanly. for many waxes, though, it’s the best

My own overall default is the purple. I just got used to it.
Medium hardness, and holds details better. I’ve also got a wax pot,
the manual press down pump type, filled with this stuff. And a set of
plexiglass machined molds that GIA used to sell, which let me inject
short sections of ring tube. The results are not quite as reliable
as the commercial tube, since this is reused wax, and occasionally
there will be a flaw in the wax to work around. but it lets me reuse
the scraps (not the dust, which is usually contaminated with
something or other by the time I collect it from the bench pan. If
you choose to reuse wax by melting it and pouring into a mold of some
sort, you can make usable wax blocks easily. The thing to remember
is that in remelting, even if you’re very careful not to overheat it,
you’ll be burning off some of the plasticizers in the wax, which is
what makes it hard and strong. So reused wax tends to be softer than
that grade would ordinarily be. My purple wax cast tubes from my
molds are still closer to the commercial purple in working
characteristics, than they are to the commercial blue, but they are
slightly softer. I’ve found reused blue wax to be almost too soft
for many models.

The green is also very useful for those instances where you really
need a rigid wax that will hold details very well. You can carve very
thin sections and delicate wall thicknesses without they’re flexing
appreciably under the pressure of the files or carvers. the downside
is that the stuff is then more brittle too, and it’s easy to break a
wax model if you’re careless. Or let a customer push one onto their
flabby finger… for waxes done with machine tools (lathes, mills,
etc), or carved with flex shaft driven cutters, you’ll find the
surfaces you get with the green wax to be superior to the other,
softer, grades.

so the upshot is that there’s a reason for several grades of wax,
and each has it’s own best use. Try them all, and make your own
choices on that basis. It will depend on what your carving, how
you’re carving it, and your own preferences for the feel of the

Peter Rowe

Hi Guy,

You can get the kind of wax you are looking for at either or . I have always
used the green carving was, as it is the hardest and, for me, the
easiest to see detail in. I recommend the Matt carving wax over
either Ferris or Kerr. The Ferris carving waxes tend to be brittle
and the Kerr has a slight texture to it, rather than being smooth.
However, I would try them all to see which one suits you best. I
know you will be able to remelt both the Matt and Kerr with some
success, as I have used both of these in my wax injector. Good luck!

Best regards,


Guy, You did not say the size of the items you will be carving. If
your going to be carving very large sculptures that take several
pounds of wax then a search on YAHOO! should give you some
suppliers otherwise I get my wax for jewelry casting from “Rio
Grande” or “Gesswien” (search YAHOO! ag ain for their webs)I would
suggest starting with blue and purple Matt wax if your just starting
to carve. Try to avoid fancy or detail heavy carvi ngs at first.
You must get the basics of having smooth flowing lines and uni form
surfaces on your waxes before you try adding detail. A ring that is
lops ided and covered with beautiful detail work will still be
lopsided. the peopl e you show it to usually will not be able to say
why they don’t like it but their eye WILL pick it up! again,their
eye WILL pick it up! I can’t hammer that point enough. When you start
doing fine detail then the purple wax will hold good detai l for
example, a lot of Art nouveau designs.The green wax is for really int
ricate or exact designs, just except the fact you will be making
repairs on the green as very thin pieces will be very brittle. I
found that the best way to carve a wax is to make a sketch so I can
wor k out the visual elements before I spend hours working on
something that wi ll go into the trash. You must have this sketch in
front of you when you are carving. try drawing a sketch and then
carve it with the sketch in a drawer, put that wax away, pull out the
sketch and then carve it again. You will be amazed at the
differences in the two pieces. it will mainly be very subt le
differences but it will be enough to make them very individual.
Also, if you make a design change then stop and make a new sketch as
a small chang e can be a big problem later that makes you start
over(not like I would hav e done this last week, eyes looking
sideways). In the way of tools and files you want to have a separate
set for working on waxes so you don’t get metal filing in your wax
which will cause probl ems in your castings. I get many of my tools
bleach, boil them and soak in bleac h again, and be sure you do it!).
a lot of times your dentist will throw ou t tools due to dullness or a
small chip in the metal. these are still more then perfect for
working on wax. I sharpen many of these into still smal ler cutting
edges and scrapers as I do a lot of fine detail and filigree. I find
the wax tools in the jewelry tool catalogs tend to be way to big and
bulky. The one thing I find that I can’t do without is a digital wax
pen. if yo u plan to do waxes on a regular basis then this is
something you must have. You will feel faint and dizzy when you see
the prices as the cheapest on es you should consider will end up
starting about $300.00 US. I did waxes for years with an alcohol
lamp before I bit the bullet and got one. I will NEVER use a lamp
again. It will double your work quality due to few er repairs getting
out bubbles and carbon flecks and speed you up at least by a factor of
three. It will pay for itself in no time at all. The last thing you
should get is a good piece of oak or hard maple that is about 2 feet
by 1 inch thick by 4 inches wide. Cut about 6 inches up to make a good
handle. Occasionly a wax or design will just not want to work, so
take it outside and give it a good windup and toss in the air and
hit it as hard as you can. You will not belive how much of an
attitude adjus tment this is as you watch your problem sail into the
distance. jewelry and wax work in particular can be stressful so
take plenty of breaks. Well that is my .03 cents worth, I hope that
you can use this info and good luck on carving,


Guy, Green is good for burrs and saws, nice and hard, also brass and
silver, good with burrs dp

 The carving clay was nice and all but the smaller and finer the
shapes the details would soften in my hand. Would green be the
best to start with rather than purple?

Greetings Guy, I have been carving wax for 24 years now (I started
when I was 3 ;-> ) I’m pretty sure I have used every wax on the
market. My preference is Ferris Purple File-a-Wax to carve with. It
allows me crisp details and minimal cracking when I work it thin.
This wax is primarily made to be worked with cold (using files, burs,
milling machines, lathes and scraping tools). I prefer Ferris
File-a-Wax because it cuts nicely AND is easy to build up when I need
to repair the wax (which is pretty often, as I tend to work
serendipitously allowing myself to make ‘mistakes’ and revisions).
When I have areas to build up, I use Ferris Green File-a-Wax for my
repairs. (When the purple wax is melted and cooled the consistency
changes - it’s like filing across a knot in a board of pine. When
the green wax is heated and cooled down it has a consistency almost
identical to the purple, making it the perfect repair wax). It is
important to make sure the wax you are adding onto is molten when you
add the new wax to it (if you just drip the wax onto the surface it
will peel right off). While the wax is molten look carefully for
trapped air bubbles and coax them to the surface with a hot tool.
Also be sure to hold the piece still while the wax is solidifying or
you will end up with a weak bond. A candle is too sooty- an alcohol
lamp with denatured alcohol works well- make sure you heat up the
shank of the tool, not the tip of the tool- as you don’t want to ruin
the wax consistency by overheating it. When my piece is near
finished, I use an inlay wax to fill in slight surface imperfections
such as pits, divots and hairline cracks. Wax is a delightful, fun
and forgiving material. HTH, Kate Wolf in Portland, Maine - in full
bloom finally!

Kindt-Collins Is a great source of wax up to 48inches square and 10
inches thick is standard. Found them in the thomas regestry.


Hi, I read your remarks regarding the $300 digital wax pens, and I
had to comment. For the past 20+ years I have been making my own wax
pens with miniature soldering irons, a transformer, and a rheostat,
all for about $60. Any good electrical supply source (fairly high
tech, not Radio Shack) will have the soldering irons, or can order
them for you, which are about 6 to 7" long and come in a range of
temperatures. The manufacturer of the ones I usually get is Wahl.
They come with some tips, but you can pretty much make any tip shape
you want with silver or brass tubing and wire. So if you are
inclined to make your own tools, you can save a bundle and end up
with a tool that does an excellent job.

Best regards,