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Wax lathes and wax guns

A question about wax lathes. Has anyone had any experience with the
Matt wax lathe, and wax gun that Rio has. Before I plunk down the
necessary bucks, i would like to know your comments on their
usefulness. So far, I have done my wax carving in a very low tech
manner, with good results, However, my method is very time consuming,
If the Matt tools would really add another dimension to my work,( in
addition to saving time), I will seriously consider getting them.
Thanks for your help and suggestions. Alma

I have all 3 of the Matt tools - purchased when I took a class in
using them with Adolpho Mattello (sp). I have never used the wax gun
since. I do use the lathe occasionally - but remember it is really
only good for very symetrical items. I do use the Trimmer a lot - one
can block out a blank very quickly with it, saving time for the fine
detail work.


Alma, I have used a lathe in the past and was very happy with the
symmetry, precision and overall look of the wax piece. Although the
lathe from Rio comes with all the necessary gadets its a lil’ pricey.
I have seen a flex shaft be used as a wax lathe. One can
"jimmy-rig" this by mounting the flex in a vise, or simply just
holding it. The block of wax to be turned needs to have a metal
support rod (ie. a bolt w/the head cut off, or an old burr withe the
shank split by a seperating disc - creating a sorta pitch fork)
inserted (with heat). The wax is then put in the flex shaft by its
new shank. Thr tricky part is a steady hand to go in and use the
cutting tools with. The cutting tools can be sawed from copper sheet
(these are good for contouring shape), and a flat head screw driver
(for burrowing and cutting) can be handy as well. Experiment… Im
sure there is a clever way to mount and steady the cutting tools.
About the wax gun, Its very fun for amorphic flowing shapes that are
hard to get otherwise. Hope this helps some.


I use a “MATT MINI LATHE” wax lathe, it comes with reusable metal
arbors(6 prong collets) that are melted into the wax(solid wax rod) so
that it can be turned by a flex shaft. It is possible to purchase
these arbors separately for about 8 dollars american. I turn the
I.D.,O.D.,and the Width of the ring on this lathe, then I cut it off
and continue carving. If it becomes necessary for me to turn more on
the Outer Diameter or even up the “comfort fit” bevels on the Inner
Diameter after I have cut the piece from the arbor I cut a shoulder
the same measurement as the I.D. on the arbored wax rod still in the
lathe. I slip the wax onto the shoulder. It must fit snugly. It takes
some getting used to but if you use the hard GREEN wax rod then it
works well. Since you can turn the wax down to any size you need never
have a sloppy fit. If you want more on this let me
know and I will go into more detail.

Hello fello waxers:

 lets start with what your favorite tool is for cutting wax.

I use gravers, X-Acto knifes and I make tools from sheet stock for any
special affects. I use the MAT wax lathe to turn the inner and outer
diameters of my waxes. I use course metal type files for cutting also.
I prefer to work with the hard green wax because it is not malleable
like the blue and purple wax and it holds an edge better. I can turn a
comfort-fit type band in no time. I use a large cylinder bur to cut
away large amounts of wax or to round out the inner diameter of the
ring, the wax lathe usually leaves a slightly smaller diameter the
further in you cut.

Michael Mathews Victoria,Texas USA

   A  question about wax lathes.  Has anyone had any experience
with the Matt wax lathe, and wax gun that Rio has.  Before  I plunk
down the necessary bucks, i would like to know   your comments on
their usefulness. 

INHO, the lathe is a pretty good low tech way to get the job done.
Works fast, easy to use, and works well. But it’s an eyeball accuracy
lathe, not something capable of careful micrometer accuracies. Turned
surfaces are straight and square if your eye is good. A lot like
freehand wood turning. The main limit is that it’s sometimes
difficult to get the inside size of a ring just right, since you can’t
actually try it on a mandrel till it’s cut off, and I’ve found a
tendancy to get the inside surface slightly tapered, rather than
quite straight. But this is easy enough to then fix manually once the
ring is cut off the lathe “chuck”.

As to the gun, well, it’s got it’s uses. I seem to recall even using
it once or twice… The short answer is that this is not really a wax
pen. It’s best use is in making wax wires out of a wax similar to
file-a-wax. this can be nice to work with. You can weave with those
wires, or just in constructing prongs, the stuff is then tougher than
typical commercial wax wire. But for actually making models directly
through wax buildup, its good if you’re doing duplicates of the blobby
organic “this jeweler must have been stoned” styles that were popular
in the sixties and seventies. If you’re working in the current
decade, you may find it of less use. It is, essentially, a glue gun
with a rheostat and a smaller nozzle. imagine building jewelry models
with hot melt glue, and you’re not far off. The wax is nicer and more
controllable than glue, but not by all that much.

Hope that helps.

Peter Rowe