Wax Build-Up Technique
An English excerpts from the book "Lost Wax Jewelry Making: The Build-up Technique" by Minoru Azama, printed in Japanese by Kashiwa Hobby Books. This article will guide you on the process of using the wax build-up techniques to create a ring shank and how to approach gemstone positioning and symmetry. You will also find information on how to create wax seats for soft porous minerals and stones.
5 Minute Read
This article written by Minoru Azama discusses the basics of the wax build-up technique.
Into a small stainless steel pot, melt wax 1/3 of the capacity. You do not want a full pot because in case of an accident, you want to minimize the burn. Mix hard green carving wax and green injection wax. Start with a 25:75 ratio mixture. Work with this to find the proper mixture that fits your temperament.
If you find in using it, that you are cleaning the wax file more than you like, then add more hard carving wax. If, on the other hand, you have difficulty moving the wax around with your hot tool, then add more injection wax.
For those who do not want to experiment in finding a mixture that would fit their temperament, try Kerr's Jewelers' Carving Wax which has a melting point of 200°F/94°C. Just melt in pot and use.
This solid wax model will later be thinned out by digging out from the under side with the appropriate carving tool or by the use of wax burs and flexible shaft machine.
Finding the Center of a Ring or How to Make a Straight Shank
A center guideline is essential in working out a symmetrical design, as well as in getting a straight shank.
Checking For Symmetry
Making Seats for Soft Porous Minerals and Stones
The use of drusy, synthetic cluster stones, boulder opal, amber and crystals on a softbase have become popular, but applying hot wax directly on them could make it very difficult to remove and at worse damage the stone. The application of a wetting agent will not help due to the porosity of the stone.
Note: The wax pattern will shrink and so will the metal casting… anywhere from 8 to 11 percent in total. Thus, before casting your wax model, be sure to scrape the inside of the bezel or prongs so as to create a gap of at least 0.5 mm. To check the enlargement of the seat area, gently place the stone in the wax seat and tap the side of the wax pattern and see if the vibration will drop the stone into place.
Never push the stone in
Wax is pliable and will easily accommodate the push. If you push, you will never know if you have enough allowance for shrinkage.
The shrinkage on the ring size is not too much of a concern as the filing, sanding and polishing will normally bring it back to the desired size.
This article is an English excerpts from the book "Lost Wax Jewelry Making: The Build-up Technique" by Minoru Azama, printed in Japanese by Kashiwa Hobby Books. 1999, ISBN-4905588995.
The complete edition is available from Ganoksin in a digital format for only $34.95
One of the few books available on wax modelmaking; "Lost Wax Jewelry Making: The Build-up Technique" by Minoru Azama, printed in Japanese by Kashiwa Hobby Books. 1999.
Azama process emphasizes building up wax as opposed to starting with a wax blank and carving away material. He uses this approach for organic as well as geometric subjects. The potential of this technique is unlimited!
Azama's work is outstanding, some of it so very precise and geometric that one would think it had been carved of hard wax. The book was written for students at the Japan Jewelry Academy, and Mr. Azama has been generous enough to write a complete English translation
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