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  #26  
Old 06-04-2009, 09:55 AM
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GlennT GlennT is offline
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Re: Getting Started in Wax

Does anyone know of a non-toxic sculpting wax that performs like victory wax? My body is doing a serious detox from handling all of the petroleum based wax.
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  #27  
Old 06-04-2009, 02:42 PM
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WillPaq WillPaq is offline
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Re: Getting Started in Wax

This stuff is nice-



This guy Gary creates and sells a variety of waxes, but the one I am using on this piece is called STEAM. It melts smoothly and is easily workable when cool. The beard was manipulated like Chavant, but I will go back in with loop tools when it is cooler to fine tune the details.

Willow products- http://www.willowproducts.com/index.php

I don't know if you will find it cost effective for large pieces. Most of my work is smaller.
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  #28  
Old 06-04-2009, 03:22 PM
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GlennT GlennT is offline
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Re: Getting Started in Wax

Thanks Willpaq, I looked at their safety data and it did not look to be non-toxic, but I have sent an inquiry to them. I rarely model directly in wax. I sculpt in clay and then pur waxes from molds, but then do a lot of finish work in the wax.
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  #29  
Old 06-04-2009, 03:39 PM
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Re: Getting Started in Wax

Quote:
Originally Posted by GlennT View Post
Thanks Willpaq, I looked at their safety data and it did not look to be non-toxic, but I have sent an inquiry to them. I rarely model directly in wax. I sculpt in clay and then pur waxes from molds, but then do a lot of finish work in the wax.
The guy who sells the stuff is very helpful generally. This wax is also very castable. I often create a loose master in clay then mold as well and cast wax.

You might just be getting allergic to victory and maybe you'll find a different formulation has no ill effects. As far as toxicity of this stuff, I honestly don't know but it doesn't smell funky when hot, nor have I yet to get any reactions myself.
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  #30  
Old 06-05-2009, 04:01 PM
Andrew Werby Andrew Werby is offline
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Re: Getting Started in Wax

Quote:
Originally Posted by GlennT View Post
Does anyone know of a non-toxic sculpting wax that performs like victory wax? My body is doing a serious detox from handling all of the petroleum based wax.
[It's usually the fumes from overheating wax that cause adverse reactions, but I suppose you could get sensitized to anything. Have you tried pure beeswax? At least it doesn't contain petroleum...]

Andrew Werby
www.unitedartworks.com
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  #31  
Old 06-15-2009, 12:49 AM
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Lady Fingers Lady Fingers is offline
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Re: Getting Started in Wax

Another little trick i've learnt to help with hand modeling in wax...I use a tiny bit of vaseline, enough to just coat my fingers and it prevents the wax sticking to me. Great for clean up, rub vas liberally on and wipe hands and tools clean with cloth.

I've even used that little bit more when smoothing the surface of the sculpture. Too much will eat into the wax and weaken it, so you've got to be careful and practice a bit.

And I only ever use a microwave to heat my wax, never use hot water any more as I can't stand the trapped water that sometimes occurs.

I also use a candle to warm my tools, even roll wax across the flame to soften it, great for softening small amounts at a time.
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  #32  
Old 06-15-2009, 01:28 PM
SPRINGFIELD SPRINGFIELD is offline
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Re: Getting Started in Wax

Indigo

I would recomend you get that book that BMBourgoyne sugested
"Figure Sculpting in Wax and Plaster".
Also there are two kinds of wax Carving Wax such as the Amaco Wax you mentioned and Modeling Wax such as Victory Brown { a microcrystaline wax]
So it helps to decide if you want to carve your sculpture or model your sculpture.

I have tried many times to use wax but it's to much trouble and too slow working for me.

The wax you mentioned Amaco is a carving wax or you can try Victory Brown {a microcrystiline modeling wax]

As mentioned Willow makes some great waxes and they have a new Wax called FUZE wich is good for both carving and modeling. To model with it you need to warm it up.
My own opinion is that wax is best for small sculptures of a couple inches or less. The only exception is using your model directly in the Lost Wax Bronze Casting process.

Even professional toy model makers first model in some other medium and make a silicone mold to finally cast a wax model in a hard carving wax to put in detail.

Chavant makes some great modeling clays some which work a lot like wax. I like Chavant NSP Medium Gray but they make a NSP Hard Gray which is a lot like wax. Also their Y-2 Clay works much like wax and like the NSP Clays {Non - Sulphur-Plastilina] Contains no Sulphur so you can make silicone rubber molds from you sculpture.

Last edited by SPRINGFIELD : 06-15-2009 at 02:05 PM.
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  #33  
Old 10-13-2009, 08:13 AM
ibmainer ibmainer is offline
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Re: Getting Started in Wax

[quote=Indigo;9713]Hi!

I've recently been given a whole load of casting supplies, Resin, silicone, ...

I have to say that Don Dougan is right on the money as to what he had to say (3/25) on all aspects of handling wax and casting.

I have only a few things I would suggest, having cast both bronze and alluminum. When I worked in wax I sometimes put my pieces in a refrigerator between work time. I also melted wax in a pot over an electric one unit burner, as well as using a heat gun or hair dryer (for desired affects). Wax also makes nice thin sheets if you pour it out on aluminum foil with the ends curled up.
As for armatures the only limitations were that the stuff burned out with the wax, so I have used wood, cloth, styrofoam, and even pinecones....basically anything that will burn out. You can achieve a myriad of textures in this manner as well.
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  #34  
Old 10-13-2009, 08:59 AM
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obseq obseq is offline
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Re: Getting Started in Wax

[quote=ibmainer;83131]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Indigo View Post
Hi!

I've recently been given a whole load of casting supplies, Resin, silicone, ...

I have to say that Don Dougan is right on the money as to what he had to say (3/25) on all aspects of handling wax and casting.

I have only a few things I would suggest, having cast both bronze and alluminum. When I worked in wax I sometimes put my pieces in a refrigerator between work time. I also melted wax in a pot over an electric one unit burner, as well as using a heat gun or hair dryer (for desired affects). Wax also makes nice thin sheets if you pour it out on aluminum foil with the ends curled up.
As for armatures the only limitations were that the stuff burned out with the wax, so I have used wood, cloth, styrofoam, and even pinecones....basically anything that will burn out. You can achieve a myriad of textures in this manner as well.
(Bold is mine)

Welcome, ibmainer,

These are certainly possibilities... I, too, went the aluminum foil route, but was recently turned on to parchment paper as a 100% superior alternative--
Foil becomes pretty tedious to remove from the wax, becoming a really annoying task when all you want is a bloody sheet of wax. Parchment paper removes from the wax immediately and is reusable. You'll never go back.

Refrigeration does work, but I prefer leaving my pieces in a container of water-- You aren't leaving your wax with food, and you are better able to ameliorate any tension on the joints of your work, (all obviously depending on the size and complexity of your piece).
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  #35  
Old 10-14-2009, 08:50 PM
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Re: Getting Started in Wax

or pour [not too hot] onto a fresh damp plaster former. if glass is used to form the surface of the plaster ittl be right smoothe for a while especially if it is dampened from underneath and not immersed when rehydrating.

i imagine Glen that u have solved your problem by now? i think the beeswax idea is interesting, its been casting for thousands of years. if its headaches u r getting then its the fumes, a lot of modern foundry waxes include plastics... and those carbons arnt very nice. if so i can only reccommend better airflow.
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  #36  
Old 12-10-2009, 06:13 PM
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chris 71 chris 71 is offline
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Re: Getting Started in Wax

i just ordered some wax from the nearest art foundry to were i live should have it tommorrow. its my first time to try sculpting in wax . well last week i tried some jewlers wax but other then that.
ok so wondering if i can ask some of you guys that work in wax for lost wax proscess a couple questions.
i am wanting to make some works directly in the wax with hopes of sending to the foundry to be cast in bronze.
if i am making small things like the size of the piece that will showed can they be just burnt out of the ceramic shell and then the bronze poured right in solid?
what kind of limitations are there before things are to thick and then you are having to make a mold to pour the wax into in order to regulate the thickness? im wanting to avoid this. and go strat from the wax piece to the bronze. thanks for any tips you care to share chris..
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  #37  
Old 12-11-2009, 08:21 AM
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dondougan dondougan is offline
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Re: Getting Started in Wax

Hey Chris,
You can cast bronze solid up to about an inch-and-a-half thick maximum (about the thickness of the narrowest part of my wrist) -- anything thicker starts to deform as it cools from the molten state.
Working wax directly saves that technical detour of making molds for the hollow castings, so it is much more immediate. The down side is that you don't have any back-up if something should go wrong -- it is a one shot deal. For me that is part of the attraction of directly-working wax -- living on the edge. <grin>
Seriously -- I don't do editions, and even when I use molds each wax casting is further worked to unique pieces by altering the textures and forms from the original casting.

If you want to work the wax as a modeling medium break then cut it up into small nut-sized chunks and put the chunks into a container of warm water. Use the wax to build up your form while it is warm and pliable in hour hands, and it will harden as it cools to room temperature. As Ladyfingers mentions above, this method sometimes traps a little bit of moisture in the wax which can be a problem if you are trying to remelt and reuse the wax later -- but if you are only using the wax to achieve a ceramic-shell waste mold it should not cause a problem. After the modeled form has cooled you may smooth surfaces or add textures with hot tools, or further sculpt the cold wax by carving with wax-working files. Petroleum jelly, kerosene, mineral spirits, turpentine all can be used to soften the surface to aid in further smoothing, or to facilitate the carving of the form by appling to the surface of the metal tools to prevent the tool sticking to the wax. Again, as Ladyfingers said a little goes a long way and so should be applied sparingly to prevent a gummy mess. I sometimes use dampened cotton rag to wipe the surface and do some gentle surface contouring, constantly folding the rag over to expose fresh surfaces free of the gummy wax build-up that develops. When the wax is cold (in the winter in my unheated studio) I sometimes use scraping actions with edge-tools to smooth surface contours.

As ibmainer said, you can incorporate things that will easily burn-out in the wax form to achive specific textures and effects. For instance, in your faces/heads with the flowing hair perhaps instead of modeling the hair you could use strips of torn paper or string dipped in wax, or a wax-coated fabric drapery for a hood or cowl. As long as you keep the material both thin and combustible this should not cause problems for the burn-out at the foundry. Thick materials can be used (i.e., solid wood), but might significantly increase the required burn-out time and so the foundry would need to charge you more money for fuel, etc. Let the foundry folks know if you incorporate anything as it can affect how they would need to work with your models.

The bronzes from a foundry class pictured here << http://www.dondougan.com/finishedbronzes.html >> were all directly-worked in wax without intermediate molds except for Lindsey Mitchell's hand (which was hollow). Jon Pellitteri's and Dusty Emerick's forms were both built from slabs and have openings to the interior so they are not solid. Lisa used rope coated in wax to make her bronze knot-pieces. Joseph, Dustin, Sarah, Diantha, Katya, and Laura all worked the wax directly and cast solid forms in bronze. Jon and Sarah were the only two students who had ever worked in cast bronze prior to this class, and Joseph had worked in clay in previous sculpture classes, but everyone else was a first-time sculpture student.

Don
www.dondougan.com

Last edited by dondougan : 12-11-2009 at 08:28 AM. Reason: sentence added to clarify
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  #38  
Old 12-11-2009, 02:20 PM
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chris 71 chris 71 is offline
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Re: Getting Started in Wax

thanks very much don you are always very helpful and i enjoyed the pictures too.
i think this is a really good thread. cant wait to have my first lost wax
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  #39  
Old 12-11-2009, 04:11 PM
Andrew Werby Andrew Werby is offline
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Re: Getting Started in Wax

I basically agree with Don's comments above, but I've never had very good luck when getting wax involved with water or solvents. If all you're trying to do is soften it, use a heat gun to change its state from bendable to soft to sticky to liquid.

Yes, you can cast things solid, but it's not good practice. Bronze really doesn't like being cast more than about 1/4" thick. Heavier sections than that tend to incur shrinkage porosity. This happens when the metal cools - as it cools, it shrinks. Since it's a big lump of semi-solid metal at that point, the parts that cool first (the extremities, if this is a figure) draw liquid metal from the areas that are still hot (the torso). This caves it in, and also causes cavities to form from capillary action. The solution is to provide a reservoir of hot metal for the shrinkage to draw from that isn't part of your piece. In some cases the pour cup can work that way, if its volume is larger than that of the area it's attached to, and it's kept from cooling too fast. In other cases, you'll need to attach special shrinkage risers to accomplish this - it really depends on the exact configuration of your piece.

I'd also advise making a simple mold of anything you're attached to, and casting a replacement wax, in case the original doesn't work. Somehow it's always the favorites that don't survive...

Andrew Werby
www.computersculpture.com
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  #40  
Old 12-26-2009, 07:04 PM
mctc mctc is offline
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Re: Getting Started in Wax

just bought "Figure Sculpting in Wax and Plaster" today. Amazing book and perfect level of information for me. I am excited to switch from lost foam to working with wax soon.
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  #41  
Old 12-26-2009, 10:18 PM
SPRINGFIELD SPRINGFIELD is offline
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Re: Getting Started in Wax

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Originally Posted by mctc View Post
just bought "Figure Sculpting in Wax and Plaster" today. Amazing book and perfect level of information for me. I am excited to switch from lost foam to working with wax soon.
Lost Foam? Are you going to be casting metal yourself? If so please be careful. Lost wax as I hope you know is much different than lost foam.
I once made a mold using plaster and sand over a wax model. Baked that mold all day at 450 degrees F. Anyway the aluminum sputtered like crazy and the only thing that saved me from being injured was that it was a very small mold.
What I've read about lost foam is that you make a foam model than make a sand mold around it and pour the metal. The lost wax method of metal casting involves a whole lot more.
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  #42  
Old 12-27-2009, 02:54 PM
Andrew Werby Andrew Werby is offline
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Re: Getting Started in Wax

Quote:
Originally Posted by SPRINGFIELD View Post
Lost Foam? Are you going to be casting metal yourself? If so please be careful. Lost wax as I hope you know is much different than lost foam.
I once made a mold using plaster and sand over a wax model. Baked that mold all day at 450 degrees F. Anyway the aluminum sputtered like crazy and the only thing that saved me from being injured was that it was a very small mold.

[That happens when there is residual wax left in the mold. It volatilizes quickly when the hot metal hits it, and forces molten metal back out the top, like a volcanic eruption. You don't want to be standing around when that happens. Your mistake was in the temperature - it sounds like you used a home oven for the burn-out, which doesn't get hot enough. In order to get rid of all traces of wax, you need a kiln that will achieve at least 1100F, and some people go as high as 1250F (Higher than that and you start to deteriorate plaster-based investment, although ceramic shell can handle it). Inspect the inlet to the mold before pouring - if you see any discoloration or soot, it's not completely burned out - put it back in the kiln and try cooking it some more.]

What I've read about lost foam is that you make a foam model than make a sand mold around it and pour the metal. The lost wax method of metal casting involves a whole lot more.
[Right - the loose sand makes this possible; it is porous enough to vent the fumes caused by pouring metal directly on the foam. Don't use bonded foundry sand for this, since it doesn't have enough porosity. And this method only works for styrene-based foam (Styrofoam, beadboard, or EPS). Urethane foams produce extremely toxic fumes when burned that can kill you.]

Andrew Werby
www.computersculpture.com
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  #43  
Old 01-02-2010, 11:30 AM
mctc mctc is offline
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Re: Getting Started in Wax

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Originally Posted by SPRINGFIELD View Post
Lost Foam? Are you going to be casting metal yourself? If so please be careful. Lost wax as I hope you know is much different than lost foam.
I once made a mold using plaster and sand over a wax model. Baked that mold all day at 450 degrees F. Anyway the aluminum sputtered like crazy and the only thing that saved me from being injured was that it was a very small mold.
What I've read about lost foam is that you make a foam model than make a sand mold around it and pour the metal. The lost wax method of metal casting involves a whole lot more.
Yeah I will be doing the casting. Thanks for the concern. I will be very careful to get full burnout of the wax. I have had opportunity to see what even a tiny amount of moisture can do with molten metal and i don't want any volcanos.
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