Carving out Wax …

So, what is wax carving?

In brief, it’s the shaping of a piece of wax using tools such as saws, rotary tools, files, gravers and even knives.

I use wax carving in the lost wax casting process to build up pieces for my Jewellery range. As I want to cast my finished piece of wax, I cannot just use any wax.

There are several types of wax used for lost wax casting they fall into 3 types:

  1. SOFT – these are also known as sculpting waxes and have the consistency of clay. They are sculpted using techniques like those used with clay. When using soft wax, you are more likely to sculpt using a mix of wooden or metal spatulas or mould directly with your fingers. You are more likely to get a more organic and softer look to your finished piece.
  2. HARD – these are also known as carving wax. This wax is a smooth and basically non-brittle wax designed for carving or machining. It is hard and has a consistency of plastic or soft wood. This wax can be put on a lathe, they can be cut or carved with knives, files, rotary or machine tools. Unlike candle wax, this wax provides a precision finish with fine edges.
  3. INJECTION wax – This wax has been specifically designed to have the right flow properties to be injected under pressure into rubber or silicone moulds. Although this wax can be carved and worked its primary purpose is to be used to create multiples from the moulds.

The wax used in wax carving comes in a variety of shapes – blocks, sheets, rods and tubes. Depending on what you want to make determines which shape you start from. For most of my work, I start with sheet and tube wax.