Sculpture Community - Sculpture.net  

Go Back  Sculpture Community - Sculpture.net > Sculpture Roundtable Discussions > Sculpture focus topics
User Name
Password
Home Sculpture Community Photo Gallery ISC Sculpture.org Register FAQ Members List Search New posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 01-13-2009, 07:47 PM
jousley11 jousley11 is offline
Level 1 user
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: california
Posts: 2
Question Newbie questions regarding wax sculpture

I have a life goal of sculpting a chess board & set. I am a newbie at sculpture, but think that I'm doing pretty good so far. I have 3 figures completed and have been using AAMCO sculpting wax, which an art teacher indicated I should try..
As I'm creating small figures (about 5 inches tall - 2 wide), I have noticed that while using tools to sculpt, fractures appear which are very difficult to clean up in small crevices. Additionally, when I come to my work a few days later, I notice very small holes have appeared in random places which constantly have to be filled.. this may be because of the wax I am using or the primitive tools I am using.

my method: I am currently using an old school soldering iron to simply melt the wax until I get a general shape created, then use sculpting tools to widle this down to my form. Then smaller tools for the detail.

questions: Is there a better wax I should be using? I have been hearing a lot about liberty brown wax... ?
Is it more effective to use a hot lamp to warm the wax so that I can shape it instead of connecting bigger blocks of wax via my soldering iron and widling it down from there?
What better tool is there to use than my 1980's soldering iron?
I have been reading about solvents and such that assist in a clean finish on a finished product? what is most effective? where can i find more info?
I have some ideas about pieces which will be quite small and am sure that I will need an amature (not sure I spelled that right), what kind of wire or metal should I use? my ultimate goal is to cast these products in pewter, maybe bronze, other metals?
I want to make a base piece for my figures from a mold, so that the base piece can be in wax, then I can affix my figures to the base piece and add additional detail, any ideas?

I hope that I haven't drowned you in questions, but as a newb, I need some real quality advice and input. Thanks in advance.

Jonathan
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 01-18-2009, 04:02 PM
Andrew Werby Andrew Werby is offline
Level 10 user
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 647
Re: Newbie questions regarding wax sculpture

Quote:
Originally Posted by jousley11 View Post
I have a life goal of sculpting a chess board & set.

[A life goal? Unless you've recently been given a terminal diagnosis, you should be setting your sights higher than that...]

I am a newbie at sculpture, but think that I'm doing pretty good so far. I have 3 figures completed and have been using AAMCO sculpting wax, which an art teacher indicated I should try..
As I'm creating small figures (about 5 inches tall - 2 wide),

[That sounds a bit large for chess pieces. Usually they are no more than 3 inches - and that's the royalty...]

I have noticed that while using tools to sculpt, fractures appear which are very difficult to clean up in small crevices.

[Why are they appearing? This doesn't happen spontaneously; it sounds like you're too rough with the tools.]

Additionally, when I come to my work a few days later, I notice very small holes have appeared in random places which constantly have to be filled.. this may be because of the wax I am using or the primitive tools I am using.

my method: I am currently using an old school soldering iron to simply melt the wax until I get a general shape created, then use sculpting tools to widle this down to my form.

[That's probably what's causing the holes. These sound like gas bubbles caused by overheating the wax. Your "old school" soldering iron was made for soldering, which takes place at a significantly higher temperature than the melting point of wax. Try running it through a light dimmer, to lower the temperature. If your technique isn't good, you might also be creating voids in the wax, which you encounter later as you're carving it.]

Then smaller tools for the detail.

questions: Is there a better wax I should be using? I have been hearing a lot about liberty brown wax... ?

[Victory Brown? That's hard to get these days. It's softer than the wax you're using, so the carving wouldn't work as well, but modeling would be easier. If you basically want to carve these pieces (which it sounds like), get some carving wax. Don't heat it, just get a piece that's big enough for your whole sculpture to come out of, and remove everything that's not it.]


Is it more effective to use a hot lamp to warm the wax so that I can shape it instead of connecting bigger blocks of wax via my soldering iron and widling it down from there?

[It depends on the wax, and it's "whittling". ]

What better tool is there to use than my 1980's soldering iron?

[There are wax pens specially designed for wax welding. But I'm not sure your method really would work even with the right tool.]


I have been reading about solvents and such that assist in a clean finish on a finished product? what is most effective? where can i find more info?

[Forget about the solvents - they're toxic, and they won't solve your problem, which is not about the smoothness of your final finish but the crudeness of your basic technique.]

I have some ideas about pieces which will be quite small and am sure that I will need an amature (not sure I spelled that right), what kind of wire or metal should I use?

[No, you didn't. The word is "armature", and you don't need it for small pieces in wax; it's used for big pieces in oil-clay.]

my ultimate goal is to cast these products in pewter, maybe bronze, other metals?

[Have you thought about using plasticene clay instead of the wax? You can make molds off of it and cast wax into them, which you'll need to do anyway to produce these chess pieces. It comes in various degrees of hardness, so you can find one that suits your style of working. For really small sculpts, some people like to use epoxy putties, like Apoxie or Milliput, which harden and resist distortion from handling or moldmaking.]


I want to make a base piece for my figures from a mold, so that the base piece can be in wax, then I can affix my figures to the base piece and add additional detail, any ideas?

[Yes, you can do that. But generally, you would want to put all your detail into the one standard base unit, so everything would match.]

I hope that I haven't drowned you in questions, but as a newb, I need some real quality advice and input. Thanks in advance.

Jonathan
[No problem, Jonathan - you might check the "alt.sculpture FAQs" on my site, which give more detailed advice on how to work with wax, etc.]

Andrew Werby
www.unitedartworks.com
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-10-2009, 04:04 PM
c'est_louise c'est_louise is offline
Level 1 user
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Santa Cruz
Posts: 2
Re: Newbie questions regarding wax sculpture

Hi Jonathan,

I just finished working on a load of bronze sculptures.

I used liberty brown to sculpt the pieces first. The bronze foundry at my school has a supply of this type of wax, but you can probably buy it in blocks online. We use regular household pots and pans and heat the wax over a stove until it is liquid, and then we let it soften enough so we can mold it with our hands. We also pour the molten wax into a flat plaster mold to create wax sheets to work with.

Tools we use vary from butter knives heated over a flame, dental tools, torches, exacto knives, etc. Basically anything that is precise, or that can get hot enough to melt the wax and weld two pieces together. We also use a heat lamp to keep pieces warm and malleable.

Hope these tips helped. Ask me more if you want to know about bronze.

-Louise
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-22-2009, 04:09 PM
The Forge's Avatar
The Forge The Forge is offline
Level 10 user
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Posts: 578
Smile Re: Newbie questions regarding wax sculpture

Check at Rio Grande Jewelry supply. You may need a harder type wax that is made just for carving. The wax used in the lost wax process is compounded to melt and flow at a low temperature. Which is not the best for hand carving. I have used a flexible shaft grinder with a burr attached. If you use slow rotations it will not melt the wax and carves really well.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-23-2009, 12:11 PM
WillPaq's Avatar
WillPaq WillPaq is offline
Level 8 user
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Virginia
Posts: 208
Re: Newbie questions regarding wax sculpture

I work on small sculpts in wax and you can get amazing detail with the correct tools, which includes your wax. Here is something to show the degree of detail you can get using the right stuff-



The head of this figure is about an inch and a half high.

Get a wax pen. I recommend the Giles Precisions Waxer. It's affordable and a work horse. Also buy an assortment of wire loop tools(small ones). For your wax try this place- http://www.willowproducts.com/. They have a variety of hardnesses all depending what you look to achieve. Call or email them and explain what you are trying to do as well as the problems you current have.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


Sculpture Community, Sculpture.net
International Sculpture Center, Sculpture.org
vBulletin, Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Russ RuBert