This article features the wax carving steps for this custom made pendant designed and created by Bill Holman. The center stone is a one-of-a-kind black drusy quartz carving, is highlighted by red accent gemstones and pave diamonds set in the central area. The metal is 18-karat white gold.
Holman uses a Zona Razor Hand Saw to cut the block of carving wax for his project. The model shown is 8 inches long with a thick kerf and 18 teeth per inch. Zona Razor saws come in fine, ultra thin, medium and thick kerfs and are excellent for wax working applications.
Holman’s design features a custom modeled frame with a dual purpose freeform channel wall for setting the red accent gemstones and securing the drusy in place. To make the base, Holman places the drusy over the block of green carving wax and traces the outline onto it with a scribe. He will use the outline as a guide for modeling his frame. Here he dusts the outline with talc to make it more visible.
Holman uses a Foredom Drill Press and a cylinder bur for modeling the block of carving wax. Here he’s removing wax from the outside perimeter of the base. The Foredom Drill Press is a rugged precision bench top stand which easily converts any Foredom flexible shaft power tool into a drill press or milling assembly. Holman uses a Foredom Series SR flexible shaft with his drill press and the No. 30 handpiece which is secured by the holding device of the stand. There are 2 other models of Foredom drill presses in addition to the Model DP 30 shown
Holman controls the power from his flexible shaft using the foot pedal. The drill press is secured to the bench top so he’s able to use both hands to safely control and maneuver the block of carving wax. He carefully removes wax along the guideline of the center stone.
Here he uses a smaller cylinder bur to remove wax around the inner portion of the base.
Holman checks the fit of the drusy carving. His goal is to have a perfectly flat base directly under the drusy, with an elevated central piece and a raised wall section along the perimeter of the base.
After he’s confirmed a secure custom fit for the carving, he finishes leveling the base of the frame. When he’s done, the base platform will have 2 different levels for setting and securing the drusy gemstone.
Holman uses the Foredom Wax Carver Pen to build up some additional wax on the side bar that will secure the drusy after casting. The Wax Carver Pen has a precision heat control dial for setting and maintaining temperatures from 95 degrees up to 560 degrees. The control box is compact measuring 2 1/2 by 2 inches and delivers quick, constant reliable heat to the tip on the handpiece. The handpiece is lightweight and flexible and comes with a selection of 7 different brass tips in a complete set in the Model WC-3 kit. The brass tips can be altered and shaped depending upon user requirements.
With the wax rim built up on the edge of the base, Holman shapes it using a cylinder bur and the Foredom Micro Motor Kit No. 1070. He prefers the high variable speed delivered by the Micro Motor for wax working and says the flexibility of the cord between the control box and the high speed rotary handpiece makes it simple to maneuver and offers the best control.
After shaping the wax that was added on the outer side of the base, Holman uses the Micro Motor to remove all excess wax from it. He controls the Micro Motor for this job by settings on the control box. For other jobs, he prefers to use the foot pedal control.
The drusy piece slides into the frame and locks into position. It’s ready for casting and assembly.
Bill Holman designs and provides one-of-a-kind custom jewelry from his shop in Dallas, TX to the trade. He is a JA certified master bench jeweler and has run Holman Design Group for over 20 years.
By Mark Mann – 2005
Technical Contributions by Bill Holman, Holman Design Group, Dallas , TX
This installment was sponsored by Foredom, Bethel , CT.