Wax To Worn: How A Wax Becomes A Ring
"Go big or go home" seems to have been my mantra for my first cast piece. Up to this point all of my work has been fabricated. As much as I love fabrication, there are just some things that cannot be done with silver sheet and a blow torch. Here is a brief overview of what goes into the making of one of my cast pieces. I do not do the actual casting portion myself so this overview will mostly cover the designing, carving and finishing that goes into the final product
First I sketch my design. I like to use an IPad, IPad pencil and the Procreate program to sketch my work. I usually draw many variations on a shape then choose the one I like best. Many times the designs not chosen will also be made later.
This is my work station. Wax carving gets rather messy so I work on a cooking pan to keep the shavings from spreading all over
The carving process begins with a wax ring tube. For this ring I am working with a hard green wax. Green wax is good for carving with files and scrapers and shows fine detail well. Carving wax does not feel like beeswax or candle wax. It has a much denser more plastic feel.
Next I use a scribe to mark the width of my ring on the ring tube
Using a hand saw I cut off a slice where I have marked on the tube
Using files, I clean up the ends of the wax ring slice. Here are some of the files I use for the shaping process
Using my scribe, I continue to mark the ring to guide as me I am carving
Once everything is marked I use my files to begin to shape the ring
Along with files I also use metal scrapers. These help to further hone the shape of the design
Using burs and a flex shaft rotary tool I hollow out the inside of the ring. If this were not done a ring this size would be uncomfortably heavy to wear
Eventually enough wax is removed that the final shape is revealed
Once the carving is complete I take the wax model to the casting shop and have them cast me a "master" in brass. This master will be used to eventually make a mold. The brass master will also be saved as a record for this style.
When I first receive the brass master it requires a lot of cleaning and finishing. The brass is rather rough and still has the sprue at the base and side where the metal entered the mold.
After sawing, sanding and polishing, the master is ready to mold
I take the master back to the casting shop where they make a rubber mold
And from the mold, a wax casting
Then finally my piece is cast in silver. After once again cleaning, sawing and polishing the ring is complete!
If you are interested in purchasing one of these rings they can be found here.