Wednesday, October 31, 2012

07 Carving Wax Nº 1

I have been casting carving wax doll parts in moulage molds made over oil-clay doll figure parts. My recipe for making carving wax is a modified version of Jayne's carving wax recipe, which she modified from Martha Armstrong-Hand's carving wax recipe, described in Learning To Be A Doll Artist (1999).

Martha Armstrong-Hand's carving wax recipe is as follows:

9 parts paraffin
9 parts talc
1 parts beeswax
1 parts carnauba wax

The paraffin she used is not the soft canning paraffin, but the hard paraffin that has a melting temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. The talc is a powdered fine grade that is sold through ceramic supply companies. The beeswax is bleached, and is obtained from candle supply companies. The carnauba wax is a very hard natural wax, and can also be obtained from candle supply companies.

Jayne's carving wax recipe is a modified version of Martha's recipe, and is as follows:

4.5 parts microcrystalline wax
4.5 parts paraffin
9 parts talc
1 part beeswax
1 part carnauba wax

There is another recipe that is very similar to the above recipe, that uses a Jacquard Batik Wax from DickBlick.Com, which consists of 50/50 paraffin wax and microcrystalline wax. This wax is used by Mothi at Just This and That blog.

My carving wax recipe is a modified version of JayneM's carving wax recipe, and is as follows:

1 part brown microcrystalline wax (Victory Brown)
1 part paraffin
2 parts talc (Baby Powder Talc)

I used what I had on-hand in my studio. I did not want to order a 25 pound bag of industrial talc, so I found some 14 ounce containers of Baby Talc at a local Dollar Tree store for $1.00 (plus tax). Since the containers of Baby Powder Talc weighed 14 ounces each, I used that as 1 part. Click on any image to enlarge it.

This is the Baby Powder Talc that I found at the Dollar Tree store. The listed ingredients are: Talc, Fragrance. My carving wax smells like a freshly dusted baby's bum.

The Victory Brown microcrystalline wax gives my carving wax a deep, rich tan color when mixed with the paraffin and talc.

I melt the waxes first, then I add the talc. I stir all the ingredients thoroughly.

A meat thermometer may be used to check that the wax does not get too hot when it is melting.

The melted, and stirred carving wax, ready to be poured.

If I am making carving wax ahead of time, I like to pour it into a water saturated plaster mold.

The carving wax will solidify in the water saturated plaster mold, but because wax and water do not mix, the wax can be removed from the mold once it has cooled down and set up.

When the carving wax has set up, but while it is still soft, I use a knife to score it, so it can be broken up into smaller chunks for melting again. Carving wax is reusable. I will be able to reuse this carving wax for the rest of my sculpting life. Carving wax is an intermediate sculpture material. It is used for designing the jointing, as well as to refine the doll parts to a high finish for use as patterns or models for making the final molds.

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