Silver Designer Jewelry

Making Jewelry – How to Carve Wax

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14 ct Marquise Cut Citrine Cocktail Ring Carved From Wax and Cast in Sterling Silver
14 ct Marquise Cut Citrine Cocktail Ring Carved From Wax and Cast in Sterling Silver

Most hobbyists begin making jewelry by the solder construction method, building pieces from sheet and wire, and when they turn to lost wax casting, often they do the same, building their masters from sheet and wire wax. The results are often so good that a lot of people go no farther, so the harder carving waxes go untried, possibly because those people believe that carving wax is much more difficult, but that’s not the case.

If you’ve never tried hard wax, then you don’t know what you’re missing. What you are missing is a material that carves and files like a dream, hard enough to take some handling without changing, yet soft enough to whittle with your favorite tools. It doesn’t smear, doesn’t bend, doesn’t fingerprint. It has a firm substantial feel to it and it comes in several degrees of hardness, so that you can experiment and select the wax that suits you best.

Ferris File-a-Wax Jewelers Carving Wax
Ferris File-a-Wax Jewelers Carving Wax

Most jewelry designers prefer the blue or the green File-A-Wax to the more brittle purple, but whatever hardness you select, you’ll find that carving masters is a lot different than piecing them together. Jewelry makers like to start with a three dimensional material and carve from there. Of course, you have to make some kind of compromise. If the piece is too flat, it ceases to be sculpture, and if it is too much three dimensional, then it ceases to be wearable, and unwearable jewelry isn’t any good to anybody.

Jewelers Wax Carving Tools
Jewelers Wax Carving Tools

If you want to do a lot of designing, try to find a basic shape or theme that pleases you, then make as many variations as you can. This gives you more than style. It gives you more designs, because it’s a whole lot easier to come up with fresh variations of a basic shape than it is to come up with a lot of completely different shapes. When carving hard wax, you’ll probably use every file in your collection, including a rotary file, if you have one. A saw, even your penknife, comes in handy, but it isn’t the kind of material that requires a well-stocked workshop. If you’re going on a long vacation, you can take along a few slabs of wax, a few files and a hack saw, and you’re set to do original masterpieces on a picnic table anywhere. Save your masters in a bottle of water to protect them from jarring and heat, and you can sprue them up when you get home. If you lack the actual casting equipment, perhaps another craftsman will work out an arrangement to cast them for you.

So what’s your excuse? Here’s something you can do on the dining room table or on the river bank–anyplace. It’s as easy as carving soap.

Making Jewelry - How to Carve Wax , 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings