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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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

06 Waste Molds Nº 50




Plaster Waste Molds

This is an old picture of plaster molds soaking in water in order to become saturated with water for casting wax into. The working principle is that water and wax do not mix. If molten wax is poured into dry plaster molds, then the porosity of the dry plaster will absorb wax into the walls of the mold, and the mold and the casting will be ruined. Remember to soak plaster rough shell molds in water until they are thoroughly saturated with water before casting carving wax into them. Click on any image to enlarge it.






Plaster rough shell molds are made using the dry lake bed technique of mixing plaster. In this technique, an estimated amount of water that equals the volume of plaster to be poured is put in the mixing bowl, then plaster is sifted through the fingers evenly into the mixing bowl until a cracked dry lake bed pattern appears. Plaster is always added to water. Once the plaster has slacked for a minute or three, push the dry lake bed under and mix with hands and fingers, squeezing out lumps until the plaster has a creamy consistency. Then pour the plaster into the mold box, covering the model. Martha Armstrong-Hand used water saturated plaster rough shell molds to translate her oil-clay doll figure into carving wax doll parts.



One of the reasons we make molds is to create a record of the work. Plaster rough shell molds may be used to create one or more carving wax patterns or models. Because the carving wax thickens around the walls of the water saturated mold, hollow castings may be produced. One thing about plaster rough shell molds is that the plaster may not be reused to create a new mold. Also, because the dry lake bed technique does not produce a very strong mold, these waste molds do not last very long, if more than one carving wax casting is wanted. These plaster rough shell molds are now taking up space in my studio. I have never used them to make any new carving wax castings. This is one reason why I decided to use hot-melt moulage to make my waste molds for casting carving wax. The hot-melt moulage may be reused many times for making new molds.






Silicone Rubber Waste Molds

While silicone rubber may be used to make waste molds of an oil-clay doll figure for casting carving wax doll parts, it is much too expensive for me to use at this time. It requires an air-compressor, a pressure pot, and old, chopped-up, silicone rubber molds. Also, a certain amount of fresh silicone rubber is used to bind the chopped-up molds, so it is much more expensive than either plaster or hot-melt moulage. However, it is nice to know that the old silicone rubber molds can be reused in such a way. One other thing to mention is that a silicone rubber mold does not rely on water in order to resist sticking to carving wax; one of the properties of silicone rubber is that it resists carving wax. More information about this technique can be found in Pop Sculpture, by Tim Bruckner, et al.






Hot-Melt Moulage Waste Molds

With this third version of my doll, I did not make any plaster rough shell molds for casting carving wax doll parts from oil-clay doll parts. Instead, I used hot-melt moulage, a molding material in the alginate family. Hot-melt moulage is reusable. It is melted in a non-aluminum double boiler, then poured into the mold box. Once it cools, it sets up into a semi-flexible mold which may be cut with a mold knife, if made in one piece, or also made into multiple piece molds. Because the moulage has a lot of water in it, and because water and wax do not mix, it is a fabulous substitute for plaster rough shell molds. It must be kept moist in order to reuse it. After the casting is made, the moulage waste mold is chopped up and stored in containers with tight fitting lids so it will not dry out. I use Atlas Mason jars to store my moulage in, in between uses. Each jar holds about one pound of moulage.






Here is the reusable hot-melt moulage, stored on a shelf in the studio until its next use. Hot-melt moulage is usually used to make molds for casting plaster or wax models.



This is the last post for making moulage waste molds over the oil-clay doll figure, which were used to translate the oil-clay doll parts into carving wax doll parts for further development. Next I will discuss making carving wax in the studio, carving wax tools, and some techniques of working with carving wax. After that, things will start to get exciting, as joints are designed, and the carving wax doll is designed, then refined for use as patterns or models for the final slip casting molds.

I try to do a little bit of work on my doll every day. I am figuring it out as I go along. I am trying to follow the method of making a slip cast BJD as outlined by Martha Armstrong-Hand, in her 1999 book, Learning To Be A Doll Artist: an apprenticeship with Martha Armstrong-Hand. It is an awesome method of making a multi-media figurative sculpture that is fully articulated, with ball and socket joints, tensioned with springs or elastic.

A dead-tree version of LTBADA is currently out-of-print and unavailable. If you do not have a copy of this book, please check the Martha's Method topic at Woodland Earth Studio for a reconstructed version of the book, based on the Table of Contents of LTBADA.

According to the TOC of Martha's Method at WES, I have just finished 06 Mold making. The next step is 07 Carving Wax.




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Monday, October 29, 2012

06 Waste Molds Nº 49




I have used hot-melt moulage to make all the waste molds for the oil-clay doll figure because moulage is reusable. I molded each oil-clay doll part in moulage, then cast a similar carving wax doll part in the mold. After the carving wax was cast, I chopped up the moulage mold and stored it in Atlas Mason jars with tight fitting lids. The moulage must be kept moist if it is to be reused. The whole point of using the moulage, instead of plaster is because it is reusable. What I found out when I made the first two versions of my doll was that I never touched the plaster rough shell molds after I cast carving wax in them. Those plaster rough shell molds are still piled up in a corner of the studio. I probably never will use them ever again. Eventually, I will throw them away. So the idea of making a waste mold, using it once to get a good carving wax casting, then chopping it up for reuse as a mold for the next doll part is really a good thing. I do not have any plaster rough shell molds piled up anywhere in the studio for this version of my doll. I do have twelve jars of moulage, but I can reuse that for making molds for another doll. Anyway, chopping up a moulage mold and storing it in glass jars is a part of my doll making process. Click on the image to enlarge it.






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Sunday, October 28, 2012

06 Waste Molds Nº 48




I start melting the moulage with a couple of jars of chopped-up moulage. I keep adding a couple of jars as the moulage melts until I have about 10 pounds of moulage in the double boiler. When the moulage has melted, I take it off the double boiler and let it cool down to a pourable temperature. I judge this temperature by placing my hands on the sides of the stainless steel pot. When I can hold my hand on the pot for a little while, without discomfort, it is ready to pour. Click on any image to enlarge it.






This is the moulage mold poured. The wire armature from the neck is sticking out from the top of the mold. That hole will be plugged by the mold sitting on the floor when I pour the carving wax into the mold.






After pouring the mold, this is how much moulage was left over. I would rather have a wee bit more, than not enough.






After the moulage cools down and sets up, I take the coddles off the mold.






I used my mold knife, made from an old hacksaw blade, to cut the mold. The hacksaw blade mold knife leaves. registration keys as it cuts. I used a knife to slice across the bottom of the mold.






I cut up a couple of cereal boxes to make the mold box.






I use masking tape to fasten the mold box together. The cardboard overlaps, so it holds the moulage together quite well for a pour.






When the carving wax has melted, I pour the mold in a steady stream into the moulage mold. After the carving wax has thickened around the walls of the mold, I empty the excess carving wax back into the wax pot. I have a water saturated plasr mold ready to take extra carving wax.






I fill the carving wax casting with cold water to cool it down. I use a knife to score the carving wax in the water saturated plaster mold so it will be easier to break apart for the next melt .






This is the carving wax casting of the upper torso, showing the front of the torso.






This is the back of the carving wax torso.






This is a photo of all of the carving wax doll parts on a tray. There is a head, an upper torso, arms and hands, a lower torso, and legs and feet.






The next section will be about carving wax.






Hot-melt moulage is reusable if it is kept moist. I wrap the moulage mold in a plastic bag to keep it moist until I can chop it up and store it in Atlas mason jars with tight fitting lids.






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Saturday, October 27, 2012

06 Waste Molds Nº 47




I use a pencil and a combination square to mark the outside edges of the torso on the molding table. The formica top of the molding table is very good for drawing. Click on any image to enlarge it.






I measure one half inch out from the first marks. The coddles will be placed on these outside lines.






After placing the coddles, I seal all around the bottom edges with some Roma oil-clay.






This is a top view of the upper oil-clay torso in the coddles, ready to be molded. There is one half inch clearance all around the torso.






The armature wire will stick up, out of the mold.






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Friday, October 26, 2012

06 Waste Molds Nº 46




Hot-melt moulage is reusable if it is kept moist. I chop it up so I can remelt it for the next mold. I store it in Atlas Mason jars with tight fitting lids in between uses. This moulage mold of the lower torso weighed ten pounds. Click on the image to enlarge it.






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Thursday, October 25, 2012

06 Waste Molds Nº 45




I kept the poured moulage mold covered with a plastic bag overnight. This morning I took the plastic bag off the mold and removed the coddles. Click on any image to enlarge it.






I used the mold knife to cut the mold open, leaving registration keys on each side. I used the cleaver to cut across the bottom of the mold.






I cut out some cereal box cardboard, bent it in half, and taped it around the mold, including a piece of cardboard under the bottom of the mold. Then I put some rubber bands around the mold. This mold weighs ten pounds.






This is a view through the top of the spare, into the mold of the lower torso.






Once the mold was ready, I started to melt the carving wax.






Once the carving wax was thoroughly melted, I stirred it in the wax pot, then poured the mold. I had placed the mold on the floor to pour it.






Once the carving wax was thick enough along the walls of the mold, I poured the excess carving wax back into the wax pot, leaving a hollow casting.






I filled the hollow carving wax casting with cold water to help it cool off.






I poured carving wax from the wax pot into a water saturated plaster mold, and when it set up, but was still soft, I scored it with a knife so it will be easier to break apart the next time I melt it. I wrapped up the moulage mold in a plastic bag so it will not dry out. Hot-melt moulage is reusable if it is kept moist.






There is the cast carving wax lower torso on the tray with the other doll parts. I only need to mold the oil-clay upper torso to cast into carving wax and I will be finished with this part of the process.






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