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Wax models for faceted stones

I have to say I am with Ron on this one. Having broken plenty of
diamonds in the last twenty-five years I can attest to their fragile
makeup. And it is in their makeup. They do have distinctive cleavage
and can be quite fragile. Knots that are extremely difficult to see
can lead to breakage, besides the thin girdles Ron mentions. Marquis
shaped diamonds are consistently a source of problems due to their
pointed ends. I can’t tell you how many times we have removed a
marquis from its setting for repair work only to find that the stones
were broken in their original setting; and they weren’t all in hack
job types of rings. Diamonds DO break. If you aren’t willing to back
your work up with the financial resources to deal with this issue then
you shouldn’t be taking the jobs on to begin with.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140

Hi Folks!

Thanks for all the great advice on this thread! Based on the
feedback, I decided I needed an electric wax pen/spatula. The idea of
holding stones in an alcohol flame with tweezers really didn’t appeal
to me! :wink: Soooo… I delved into the Orchid archives and found a
thread on building one. Half a day’s work (including shopping time)
and thirty bucks later and I’m playing with my new “toy”!

	Soldering Iron		$7.99
	Iron Holder		 	6.49
	Two Extra Tips	 	1.89
	Lamp Dimmer		14.99
	Cork				Free!
	Velcro				Free!

You could probably do better on the dimmer, but I liked this one
because I was able to velcro it nicely to the side of the iron holder.
I drilled the cork to slide onto the iron so I can hold it closer to
the tip… still gets warm though! I annealed one of the tips and
forged it flat, then filed and finished to tripoli level for a
spatula. Ground down the original tip to a spoon-like shape and cut a
cup with a small (2mm?) ball burr.

I’m going to experiment with some additional tip ideas. I already
tried (unsuccessfully) to silver solder the tip from another stainless
steel tool to the third tip. Don’t know if you can solder stainless to
copper? I also want to make a tip with a needle point. I’m going to
pick up a few more extra tips at Radio Shack today when I run to the
post office.

Anyway, time to get out to the studio and start putting the tool to
some practical use! Pictures? Of course I have pictures! :slight_smile:

All the best,


Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

Dave here is an alternative to soldering on wire tips. Grind the tip
down so a small piece of silver or copper tubing will slide on. Now
shape a piece of copper or silver wire so it also fits in the tubing.
Now attach by crimping the tubing onto both the soldering iron and
the style wax tip you want. You can also just crinp the wax tip into
place and leave the tubing to fit on the soldering iron. This way you
can make multipul tips to fit the same handle. When you are ready for
more precise control you can try a Ohmite all ceramic rheostat, model
H, 25 watt , 1.0ohms. I use this and a home made handle that the two
wires lead to a plug tip styled along the lines of the speedy wax pen
or the mastertouch wax welder.(check your supply catalogs for
photo) you can always email me off line for more info. Frank Goss

1 Like

That sounds like excellent advice- I have only one tiny caveat on
your post, a non sequitur if you will. Maybe it was a typo, but you
refer to cubic zircon - and you, obviously an instructor! Zircon is a
gorgeous natural stone that is far too little appreciated for
precisely that reason- people in the industry not making the
distinction clear between a cheap manmade synthetic and the genuine
mined out of the earth gemstone.