Your preferred set-up for carving wax

Hi Julie, you have a total grasp of what I have in mind…Rio has a tumbler kit for about C$250. Would that be good enough for one or two dozen pieces at a time? Going through the sequence of cutting/filing/etc. the sprue bumps, at what point does it go into the tumbler?


hopefully others with more mass finishing experience than i, will jump in here…

also, try searching the forum…many different steps, times, etc


I have to be careful how the money gets spent. C$250 would buy about 6 oz of silver. If I buy all the tools I want I’ll be making jewellery out of empty bean cans.

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i understand
consider what your selling price will be
sales channels, etc

is this a hobby or a business

business capitol expense budget



you dont neccessarily need a mass finishing setup
you could do it by hand
you dont need alot of tools to start

prioritize the needs versus the wants

i need to finish the item
i want it to be easier
i need it to be within budget


fun fun fun


Budget: mostly spent.
Being shipped:
Flexshaft for carving/grinding/polishing.
Bench to contain everything.
Mini dust collector. Some wax, some burs.

Maybe easier gets thrown overboard…

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saw frame, wax blade
large flat file from hardware store
make a pointed scribe to draw on wax



oh! i just remembered…also, consider shrinkage…

perhaps search the forum…

this may not be a big concern as fit/ size is not critical, such as for a ring…but good to know about…


Regarding minimizing hand finishing, no matter how polished your original is the cast pieces come out with a surface texture imparted by the investment and the nature of cooling metal. How one treats this “casting skin,” as it is often called, depends on the finish you desire.

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Hi Eliot,
thank you for the clarity of your response.
I’d greatly appreciate your opinion on whether or not a rubber mold could successfully be made using a model that looks like the rough drawing I posted previously.

Hi Elliot…sorry about the misspelling.

Certainly a rubber mold can be made around such a model. But I’m not sanguine that you’d be able to pull waxes successfully from it. That’s an awful lot of narrow passages the hot wax would have to follow before it hardens. Back when I still made and cut my own molds I never needed to make one of such size and complexity.
The other thing to consider is how such a model will work with your casting practice. Flat models such as this are used in sand casting or any technique that uses split molds. But waxes for lost wax casting are invested in cylindrical molds, and a layout like that wastes a lot of space. Since you ask about rubber molds I assume you intend lost wax casting.
Casting houses figure the per piece casting labor based on how much space the wax takes up in the flask. Fifteen pieces like the ones in your image would probably cost less to cast if the casting house could sprue them on a traditional tree. Spruing up the tree is figured into the casting labor, so shooting the pieces as separate waxes and letting the casting house do the sprueing would be the most economical approach, once the cost of the rubber molds is amortized.

Thank you, Elliot, for saving me no end of frustration and expense! A cold shower first thing in the morning does wonders for one’s concentration…back to the drawing board!

To economize on the rubber molds you can sprue three or four pieces together for each mold. These would shoot fine and there’d be fewer mold making charges. Don’t sprue them in series, but side by side off a central sprue.
four things sprued for molding

Exactly the diagram I needed to see…thanks!

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A Jeweler friend ( he was very mechanical) once gave me a set of wax tools he had made- the blades were made from Street Sweeper blades he had found on the street which were steel strips about 1/4" wide. He shaped and sharpened them for the various tools needed and made a wooden handle for each, a little larger than a pencil in diameter. Some of the best tools I ever used! Both for carving and then polishing the wax.


I would love to see a picture of the street sweep tools

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This is the only one I am finding right now, I have moved a couple of times! If I find the others I will send pictures but basically the others were like a smaller version of an exacto knife type blade and one was bent and the width of the blade was like a plow with the bottom sharpened approx 1/4” width.
I hope this helps.