Which wax does one use?

I need to have three unique pieces cast in platinum and I don’t know
what is an appropriate wax is to carve my designs in. I work in gold
and silver and can’t work in platinum myself or do castings for that
matter. I would also like to know where I can buy jeweler’s waxes. I
really want to make the wax myself as I don’t want to have molds
made. That would be unnecessarily expensive.

P.S. Do I need to sprue my piece or will the casting company do that
for me.

Hello Aaron

I’d be happy to send you a free sample of my wax. It is a Ferris
product… all of the Ferris wax is premium quality. It’s wonderful
for high detail or simple wax models as well. Please call me if you
need any more I’ll be happy to help you.

Here is a link to my wax website and my model website:

www.deepdetail.com
www.mmwaxmodels.com

Let me know,
Margie Mersky

I would also like to know where I can buy jeweler's waxes. I
really want to make the wax myself as I don't want to have molds
made. That would be unnecessarily expensive. 

Maybe you ought to look at who’s doing your molds first. I pay about
$20-25 for a mold to be made. Considering what you are going to have
to sell any platinum piece for these days that amount of money is
negligible. You can buy jeweler’s carving wax from any supply house.
Gesswein in Bridgeport CT has them as does Rio (and I think Stuller).

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
617-234-4392
@Daniel_R_Spirer

Just know that cast platinum is usually a very soft metal, not at
all like the die-struck platinum jewelry from 50 years ago. It
quickly reverts to a dull grey color due to myriad tiny scratches. My
mother (who owns a retail jewelry store) has a heavy diamond cluster
ring that became unusable after only 8 years of wear - every one of
the prongs was completely worn flat!

Lee Cornelius
Vegas Jewelers

The right wax is only part of the issue of getting a good wax model.
I recommend a good hard carving wax, in either a tablet form for
pendant or flat- type carvings, or tubes for ring shapes. I would
recommend a green wax for the greatest detail, although is is very
brittle in thin cross-sections. The green wax is also the “slowest”
wax to work, which is a good thing for accurate hand carving, and
offers minimal “burring”. This is the wax most often used for
machining wax models. For a little more flexibility, but still great
detail, try the purple wax, which won’t be so apt to break on you in
the most delicate sections. A note. It is awfully important to hollow
out your wax model before sending it to your favorite caster.
Consistant thin (slightly less than 1 mm thick) cross sections are
really important to assure a porosity free casting, and you will be
using less metal, which is getting more and more expensive.

I’d let your caster put on the sprues, as every caster seems to have
their own “best” spruing solution for casting their wax models, and
will help them assure you of a high quality casting.

The tools. This is the toughest part, besides the actual carving
technique. Everyone has their own favorite tools and techniques, but
although the waxes are easy enough to find, the right tools are
ellusive, at best.

Through the years of teaching my students to carve waxes, it’s been
tough to find the right tools for carving wax. I have spend a lot of
time, money and travel to locate the tools I think are the best for
wax carving, and I have them for sale on my website:

www.whaleystudios.com. You are welcome to check them out. I’m still
developing other tools that will help make hand carving wax models
easier, faster, and more accurate and will put them up on the website
when they are available.

Jay Whaley

The tools. This is the toughest part, besides the actual carving
technique. Everyone has their own favorite tools and techniques,
but although the waxes are easy enough to find, the right tools are
ellusive, at best. 

Take a look at Kate Wolf’s set of wax carving tools. They are
available from a number of suppliers including Rio Grande, Gesswein,
etc. They are well designed, quality tools at a fair price. Kate is a
fellow Orchidian.

Joel Schwalb
@Joel_Schwalb
www.schwalbstudio.com

The types of tools you will need to carve wax depend on what you
want to create.

Files and a foredom with several types of burrs will come in handy
if you plan on carving wax. Carving waxes are non sticky, non
flexible and may be worked with files, sandpaper, pocket knives,
dental tools, any type of scraping tools and burrs mounted in a cable
driven handpiece. The biggest problem when working with carving wax
is breakage of the model. As with all wax models you can wax weld
errors and breakage.

Wax build up, the layering of hot wax on top of previously layered
on wax and construction, building a model with various cut pieces of
waxes, will require different tools.

Models can be built using a combination of all the types on
construction.

Construction models are most difficult to work with because the
waxes normally used are soft and very flexible. When working on a
construction model care must be excised to prevent reshaping it every
time you pick it up.

I have found that dental tools are a great help in carving wax. I
modify some of them to suit the job I want to do.

Check out: Conversion of Dental Tools Into Wax Engraving Tools - Ganoksin Jewelry Making Community

Be happy to send, off line, pictures of the various types of wax
model making. Oh boy!!! Here we go again. I see a paper illustrating
the various types of constructions. Tomorrow I will break out my
camera and lap top and start the new project for what its worth.

Lee Epperson

Dear Lee,

Will your paper be posted on ganoksin? I think we’d all love to
learn from you.

Susannah Page-Garcia
Moonshine Metal Creations
@Susannah_Garcia

Hi Susannah,

My biggest problem is I really enjoy taking pictures and writing
articles. That problem gets me into a lot of trouble. My computer and
camera sit there calling me saying you paid a bunch of money for me
now put me to work. So great is the call that I sometimes forget how
they got paid for. Being 70, I use the jewelry profits to provide
some of the fun things in life.

I have a bunch of orders and a big desire to do an article on build
up and construction model making.

I love making jewelry but writing and photographing is so much more
easier. The practical side of me says make the jewelry so that is
what I will be doing for several weeks until I can satisfy orders.
Then for what its worth it will be on to an article.

Lee Epperson
Hope to meet a bunch of you at the Orchid dinner!!!