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Carving and Casting Hollow Wax Form

magnus homestead

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I had a request for me to show my method of carving a wax bead as a hollow form and casting that piece in metal. This is my first tutorial so forgive me if I cover obvious aspects or leave anything out. :rolleyes:


The first photos show my basic setup and tools I use for my wax carving. I like to work on a leather surface ( note my bench pin is wrapped in leather as well as having a section of my tray insert leather covered) - I find that leather does not mar the carving wax yet allows a firm support. The wax I use is a green carving wax mnfg. by Ferris.



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Next I use about a 2/0 jewelers saw blade and bisect my bead roughly in half but zig zag the cut a bit so as to more easily realign it when I put it back together.


Then I scribe the wall thickness (generally 2mm) and hollow out using ball burs and a suitable caliper to keep uniform walls.


Next I weld the pieces back together using a wax pen ( similar to a soldering iron ).


Next I usually paint my wax with water color (with a drop of dish soap to make it adhere to the wax) and do my layout for the relief carving.





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Having finished the carving I want to cast the form in metal. I use a centrifuge with a typical jewelers investment.

As this is a bead, we have the two holes for the cord (in the example I have a hole at the top where a stone will be set as well). These holes of course are necessary for the investment plaster to fill the hollow inside the bead. It is probably best to vaccuum one's investment to achive desired results, but truthfully I still just use a small vibrator as it's less fuss and seems just as good. To keep the "plug" of investment suspended in place during burnout, I push light weight pins of stainless steel through the wax before investing so there will be a supporting structure. These do not fuse with the molten metal in the cast, so I am able to remove them with pliers and fill the holes with solder or hammer them closed. I still would place these pins in textured areas so one can blend them in the finished piece.


That's it. Have fun!







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Hello and thank you all for the feed back!


I like to make up knots - this one is one line all the way around the middle of the bead - I call my style Celtic Nouveau - I am influenced by many different styles of carving, but my heritage is 1/2 Norwegian and 1/4 Scott 1/4 English so I guess it makes good sense for me to delve into the Celtic designs heavily. Glad you like it.


Thanks for the compliment - yes I do make molds of these pieces - After I finish the relief carving, I carefully seperate the bead into halves again, following pattern lines for reference. Then I make either vulcanized or cold silicone molds of the pieces - I inject with carving wax so I can put the pieces back together again. It's quite a bit of work, but a whole lot less time than starting from scratch.


Thanks - it is of course fairly easy, but it does take some time (especially when more realistic subjects are involved).



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