Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Some Wax Tools

Here are some pix of the BJD in progress. Yesterday I borrowed the elbow ball joints and put them in the feet. Today I made a couple of new elbow joints, using cereal box cardboard armatures; that is, four cardboard circles, slotted, fit together, and filled with wax. It only took a few minutes. I've also started working on the hands. I've carved off some of the edges of the fingers, making them more rounded, added some bulk to the back of the hand, and positioned the thumb somewhat better. In these photos you can see that I've smoothed the face in preparation for making eyes, mouth, and other facial features.

Since I'm modeling this BJD with wax, I thought it might be interesting to show some of my wax tools.

There are three tools shown in this photo. The tool with the brass cylinder is filled with alcohol, the wick is lit, and I blow through the tube to direct the flame for smoothing wax. This tool was fabricated in the studio. The next tool, with the glass body is a jeweler's lamp that is filled with alcohol, and the wick is lit to heat the tips of metal tools, such as dental tools, for working the wax. The tool with the red handle is a low-wattage soldering iron. The tip of this soldering iron was forged into a flat shape, which makes it better for working wax, but not so good as a soldering iron. Remember to use good ventilation when heating wax with open flames, or hot electrical tools. Alcohol flames can be difficult to see, so use tools like this with caution and awareness. The hot soldering iron can smoke when wax touches the heating element (the tube between the handle and the tip), and that smoke is not good for you.

This is an electric single burner hot plate with an aluminum pot. I call this my wax pot. The heat can be adjusted so the wax just softens, without melting, or I can melt wax in it for pouring into a mold.

The above tools are the main ones I use, with the wax pot being the tool I use the most. I've also heard of wax being softened with a double boiler, a heat lamp, and with a heat gun. I've seen wax melted in a kettle over a wood fire for pouring in large molds for sculpture. Be aware that wax has a flash point. Don't get it too hot! Wax likes to be heated gently.

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