Sunday, January 13, 2013
08 Joint Design Nº 67
This is my wax pen. The pen itself is a low wattage woodburning tool with a custom forged tip. The controller was put together from standard hardware store parts. Click on any image to enlarge it.
The actual work is practice, practice and more practice, adding, subtracting, and smoothing repeatedly. ~Martha Armstrong-Hand.
When learning how to use a wax pen, it is a good idea to begin practicing with scrap pieces of carving wax, such as the carving wax spares which were removed from the cast carving wax doll parts, rather than beginning on a doll part that is highly visible, such as the head, or face. This way, it is possible to adjust the heat setting on the wax pen, and to learn how the carving wax melts and how long it takes to cool, and so forth. I use my wax pen and some scrap pieces of carving wax to add to a form. I usually use my paring knife to subtract from a form, although I now have some new carving tools to use as well. Various grades of sandpaper are used for smoothing the form. I also use an old cotton sock for keeping the tip of my wax pen clean.
I will be demonstrating how I work with carving wax by filling a typical hole on the butterfly shape below. The butterfly shape was made by welding two carving wax spares together.
Once the wax pen is hot enough to melt the carving wax (but not so hot that it smokes), I can melt the wax in the hole that I want to fill. Since there is a hole, when I melt the wax in the hole, the molten wax is below the surface of the form. I will alos need to add some carving wax as a filler, in order to bring it up to the surface, so it can be finished.
What I usually do is melt the carving wax in the hole, then touch a piece of scrap carving wax to the tip, so it drips into the hole, and fills it, drip by drip. Molten carving wax is very shiny. When I am working on a doll part, I try to position the doll part so it is as level as I can make it. This is to prevent the molten wax from running out of the hole I am trying to fill.
After adding carving wax to the hole, I let it solidify, then I scrape the excess carving wax off with a tool, in this case, my paring knife.
Various grades of sandpaper are used to smooth the hole. Here, I am using grade 60 sandpaper.
I follow the 60 grade sandpaper with 100 grade sandpaper. The higher the number, the finer the grade of sandpaper.
Next, I use 150 grade sandpaper to smooth out the scratches that the 100 grade sandpaper left.
Finally, I use 220 grade sandpaper. At this point, the surface of the form is very smooth.
The same procedure is used to weld two forms together. it is important to get as much of the forms base materials melted together. It is also a good idea to let the carving wax cool in between. Hot carving wax is very soft, and cannot be stressed at all, or it will break where it is hot. My carving wax is a lighter color when it its hot.
Another way of filling a hole is to place a small piece of scrap carving wax in the hole, then melt the scrap piece into the hole, while also melting the wax in the hole, so everything is fused together. Here is a small piece of carving wax, next to the hole.
Here, I have placed the scrap piece of carving wax in the hole, ready to be fused with the carving wax in and around the hole.
Using the wax pen, I melt the carving wax in the hole, and the carving wax from the scrap piece also melts into the hole.
Molten carving wax is shiny and very fluid.
This carving wax has cooled down to where the surface has dulled. The color of the carving wax is still lighter than the surrounding carving wax, so it is still hot. This is one of the things that practicing with scrap carving wax is good for. learn how long it takes carving wax to solidify and cool.
After adding carving wax, the excess wax is subtracted.
The filled hole is first smoothed with 60 grade sandpaper.
Next, 100 grade sandpaper is used, to remove the scratches made by the 60 grade sandpaper.
150 grade sandpaper is used to remove the scratches left by the 100 grade sandpaper.
Finally, 220 grade sandpaper is used to make the surface very smooth. This is how to work with carving wax. These steps are done repeatedly, until the form desired is achieved.
Yesterday I bought a new pad of paper at Michaels with a 50% OFF coupon that I was given when I bought the set of wood carving tools the other day. This pad of paper had a retail price of $19.99, but was only $10.66 (including tax) with the coupon. I have been getting an itch to draw lately, and wanted a new pad of drawing paper. The coupon pushed me to buy it.
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