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  #1  
Old 07-18-2008, 03:14 PM
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Chantal Chantal is offline
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Improving wax model

I wish to make a glass casting using the lost wax technique with the wax model below:

http://canada-gardens.com/images/riflebirds.jpg

Note that the forward wing looks very heavy, that's because I used a wide angle lens for the photo. It's about 1/2" thick anyway because glass is very viscous, I can't make it much thinner.

I'm not happy with the wax model (as you can see I am just starting out) because the surface is lumpy and sloppy.

Are there tools out there to help me get more perfect curves, straighter lines, precision detail, and smoother finish?
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  #2  
Old 07-18-2008, 05:23 PM
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fritchie fritchie is offline
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Re: Improving wax model

Chantal - I tried to access your site, but got a "no permission" message.
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  #3  
Old 07-18-2008, 05:39 PM
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Re: Improving wax model

Moi aussi and the problem seems interesting.

Robert
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  #4  
Old 07-18-2008, 05:58 PM
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Re: Improving wax model

Oops, hotlink protection!

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  #5  
Old 07-18-2008, 08:58 PM
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Re: Improving wax model

I mainly use steel dental tools when carving wax. There is a huge variety to choose from, and I have dozens, yet tend to stick with about 6 main ones. Also, a couple of black iron sculpting tools that have beveled knife-like edges. If I need to get tighter detail than usual I work carefully under magnification.

I have had a couple of my bronzes cast in glass using an open-face sand mold. I was not aware of a lost-wax method for glass casting.
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  #6  
Old 07-19-2008, 08:50 AM
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Re: Improving wax model

Steel dental tools? I'd never heard of this, but I'm off buying a set right now... that'll be a great help.

Open face sand molds are pretty crude.

We cast the wax model in a block of silica-plaster with some fiberglass fibers, steam out the wax, then melt the glass into the mold.

http://the-glass-artist.com/1patedeverretutorial01.html
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  #7  
Old 07-19-2008, 08:56 AM
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Re: Improving wax model

What about these?

http://www.sculpt.com/catalog_98/ste...otWaxTools.htm

What are the advantages of hot wax sculpting? Can I expect this tool to help me improve my models?
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  #8  
Old 07-19-2008, 09:20 AM
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Re: Improving wax model

Steam out the wax? What about residual water and molten glass? And what kind of wax are you using?

Impressive array of tool you've found there. But, I find that tools only enhance potential. not improve.

rd

Last edited by rderr.com : 07-19-2008 at 09:20 AM. Reason: typo
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  #9  
Old 07-19-2008, 09:45 AM
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Chantal Chantal is offline
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Re: Improving wax model

Quote:
Originally Posted by rderr.com View Post
Steam out the wax? What about residual water and molten glass? And what kind of wax are you using?
The plaster/silica mold is placed in the kiln and left at 400 for a few days to dry the mold completely. Then the kiln is ramped up to glass melting temperatures. I'm using microcrystalline wax.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rderr.com View Post
Impressive array of tool you've found there. But, I find that tools only enhance potential. not improve.
I am totally dissatisfied with my wax models. I have a vision in my mind, and I cannot realize it with the tools that I have. I want everything perfectly smooth and precise, not bumpy and lumpy. I hope my picture is good enough to show the unappealing coarseness of my model.
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  #10  
Old 07-19-2008, 10:07 AM
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Re: Improving wax model

I have a few varieties of the hot wax working tools shown. They probably will not allow you to get the detail work you are seeking, unless you are using the thinest of tips with a low heat and are very careful. Their utility is in the earlier stages of carving and repair. They are especially useful for the stages where you are adding wax or repairing areas, because you don't have to keep using a flame to heat a metal tool to do those jobs. The problem I had with the types with the interchangeable smooth shanks that push into the handle, is that with the heat and work pressure they can unexpectedly slip out of the handle, and then you have a hot tool tip plunging into your piece and melting a hole where none was intended, or running down the side of the peice, leaving a melted scar.

I have had better luck with an inexpensive wood burnishing/sodering iron kit from Menards, that for its interchangeable tips uses ones that screw into the handle rather than push/pull. They stay in place. An important thing is to plug it into something with a reostat to control the temperature. Plugging it into the wall creates too high of a heat for your application. Since I bought the nicer model like what is in that catalog, I just removed their sodering iron handle and plugged the wood burnishing one in its place.

So still, to get the detail you want, dental tools are the way to go. You need to find the right types for you that combine the right weight and the right surface area. Some of the real sharp ones are too thin to get the results you want without leaving scratches in other areas, or are difficult to apply sufficient working pressure due to lack of mass. Ones with rounded edges or thicker profiles that come to a rounded point are easier to apply the pressure where needed without damaging the adjacent areas. Hard to explain this, you really need to try several types and find what works for you.
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  #11  
Old 07-19-2008, 10:28 AM
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Re: Improving wax model

So... dental tools I will use.

Thank you very much for the explanations.

I promise to post pictures of the hopefully improved model once I'm done!
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  #12  
Old 07-19-2008, 10:43 AM
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Re: Improving wax model

If you really want crisp details, you need a harder wax. try looking here: http://www.sculpt.com/catalog_98/Wax/Castilene.htm You'll need to get used to working with this, but it holds details better than MC wax. Pick yourself up an alcohol torch and if you have the money a wax pen set. Use the torch for heating you tools and if you need to spot melt any area on your sculpt, just give it a squeeze and it will blow a small flame in the direction of the small tube sticking out of the bottle.

Good Luck,

Alfred
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  #13  
Old 07-19-2008, 11:32 AM
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Re: Improving wax model

I will definitely try this product, too.

Just a thought, would it help if I chilled my model?
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  #14  
Old 07-19-2008, 06:00 PM
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Re: Improving wax model

Yes, chilling wax (and even oil clays) will give you a harder surface to work on, keeping details crisp. Be careful to not make them too cold as the can break easier and sometimes will melt and deform in your hand sooner than they would've had you not cooled them. If you don't need to hold the sculpt in your hands to work on it, then I say try the cooling method, but if you need to hold the piece in your hand to work on it, it will melt faster (I don't know why - since the melting temperature should stay the same, but this what I've found doing experiments like this).

Alfred
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  #15  
Old 07-20-2008, 07:18 AM
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Re: Improving wax model

Quote:
Just a thought, would it help if I chilled my model?
A bucket of cold water will do the trick nicely; and it will help a lot. If you find that your body heat is melting the wax; maybe wearing a glove on that hand would help...

If you are using a soldering iron or the like (which is another way to heat your tools as well), get a rheostat to keep the temperature down. There was a discussion devoted to this topic on these boards about 6 months ago.

Bill
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  #16  
Old 07-29-2008, 01:43 AM
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Re: Improving wax model

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfred View Post
Yes, chilling wax (and even oil clays) will give you a harder surface to work on, keeping details crisp. Be careful to not make them too cold as the can break easier...
Alfred
I want to echo Alfred's caution on chilling your wax-- In doing so, you must be increasingly vigilant on how you handle the wax and where you let it rest, unattended. On more than one occasion, I've shattered a few pieces that weren't necessarily cold, just room-temperature.

Also, should your search for wax-sculpting tools prove fruitless, make your own set of tools to suit your specific needs-- I fashioned a fantastic little set of hand-tools out of a band-saw blade and the wooden handle of a spatula.


Good luck!
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  #17  
Old 08-09-2008, 08:46 AM
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Re: Improving wax model

to smooth the wax, oderless mineral spirits and a scrubbi pad or steel wool are good, but BE CAREFUL it can leave fibers. i too chill my wax in the fridge for fine detail. a great hot tool is the "touchamatic" pen its about 200$ though, my next purchase, it turns on when touched at the base of pen with interchangable tips, but dental tools work fine cold also.
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