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Wax carving is the shaping of wax using tools usually associated with machining: rotary tools, saws, files and burins or gravers. Actual knives can be used and most certainly are, but the hardness of the material is such that they are not the ideal tool, generally.
Machining is any of various processes in which a piece of raw material is cut into a desired final shape and size by a controlled material-removal process. The processes that have this common theme, controlled material removal, are today collectively known as subtractive manufacturing, in distinction from processes of controlled material addition, which are known as additive manufacturing. Exactly what the "controlled" part of the definition implies can vary, but it almost always implies the use of machine tools.
A steel cutting tool used in engraving, (, from the French burin
To carve wax, the proper size and shape of block or tube is chosen, in the preferred hardness, and cut to a rough size, as needed. Then the design is generally drawn or laid out on that, and saws, files or machine tools are used to work the wax into a finished product. The wax is easily taken to a fine finish in the end using a bit of nylon stocking or steel wool. After the wax product is finished, it may be molded or used in the lost wax casting process to create a final cast product.
Steel wool, also known as iron wool, wire wool, steel wire or wire sponge, is a bundle of very fine and flexible sharp-edged steel filaments. It was described as a new product in 1896. It is used as an abrasive in finishing and repair work for polishing wood or metal objects, cleaning household cookware, cleaning windows, and sanding surfaces.
There are a wide variety of wax types used in the lost wax casting process. Generally they fall into three main types, soft, hard and injection waxes. Injection waxes are made and intended to be used for injecting wax under pressure into rubber or other types of molds. They can be carved and worked otherwise, but they are not specifically designed for that use. Their properties more often target good injection properties: flow, low shrinkage, pot life etc.
Soft waxes are sometimes called sculpting waxes, and generally have a consistency resembling clay. Generally the techniques used in working soft waxes are similar to those used with clay and involve the use of wooden or metal spatulas, direct molding with the fingers and the like.
Carving wax is a smooth, non-brittle wax designed for carving and/or machining. Although the formulas for most commercial waxes are proprietary, most suppliers will state that hard waxes are some blend of waxes and plastics. This family of waxes has a hardness and consistency of plastic or softer wood. They can be cut or carved with knives, files and rotary or machine tools. To illustrate the usefulness of this type of wax, if one were to get a candle, mount it on a lathe and feed a tool into it, the wax would slough off like butter, stick to the tool and make a mess. Hard wax, on the other hand, will machine more like soft aluminum, giving fine edges and a fine finish if worked properly.
Waxes are a diverse class of organic compounds that are lipophilic, malleable solids near ambient temperatures. They include higher alkanes and lipids, typically with melting points above about 40 °C (104 °F), melting to give low viscosity liquids. Waxes are insoluble in water but soluble in organic, nonpolar solvents. Natural waxes of different types are produced by plants and animals and occur in petroleum.
Plastic is material consisting of any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic compounds that are malleable and so can be molded into solid objects.
Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of trees and other woody plants. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers that are strong in tension and embedded in a matrix of lignin that resists compression. Wood is sometimes defined as only the secondary xylem in the stems of trees, or it is defined more broadly to include the same type of tissue elsewhere such as in the roots of trees or shrubs. In a living tree it performs a support function, enabling woody plants to grow large or to stand up by themselves. It also conveys water and nutrients between the leaves, other growing tissues, and the roots. Wood may also refer to other plant materials with comparable properties, and to material engineered from wood, or wood chips or fiber.
Waxes come in a wide variety of shapes: blocks, sheets, rods and tubes, and in recent times there are even extruded shapes available. The rods are useful for lathe turning, among other things, and the tubes are useful for making rings in jewelry work. The tubes are available in various sizes, and also with a flat top, which is useful for signet rings.
In metalworking and jewellery making, casting is a process in which a liquid metal is somehow delivered into a mold that contains a hollow shape of the intended shape. The metal is poured into the mold through a hollow channel called a sprue. The metal and mold are then cooled, and the metal part is extracted. Casting is most often used for making complex shapes that would be difficult or uneconomical to make by other methods.
Wood carving is a form of woodworking by means of a cutting tool (knife) in one hand or a chisel by two hands or with one hand on a chisel and one hand on a mallet, resulting in a wooden figure or figurine, or in the sculptural ornamentation of a wooden object. The phrase may also refer to the finished product, from individual sculptures to hand-worked mouldings composing part of a tracery.
An abrasive is a material, often a mineral, that is used to shape or finish a workpiece through rubbing which leads to part of the workpiece being worn away by friction. While finishing a material often means polishing it to gain a smooth, reflective surface, the process can also involve roughening as in satin, matte or beaded finishes. In short, the ceramics which are used to cut, grind and polish other softer materials are known as abrasives.
Stone carving is an activity where pieces of rough natural stone are shaped by the controlled removal of stone. Owing to the permanence of the material, stone work has survived which was created during our prehistory.
Tool steel refers to a variety of carbon and alloy steels that are particularly well-suited to be made into tools. Their suitability comes from their distinctive hardness, resistance to abrasion and deformation, and their ability to hold a cutting edge at elevated temperatures. As a result, tool steels are suited for use in the shaping of other materials.
Broaching is a machining process that uses a toothed tool, called a broach, to remove material. There are two main types of broaching: linear and rotary. In linear broaching, which is the more common process, the broach is run linearly against a surface of the workpiece to effect the cut. Linear broaches are used in a broaching machine, which is also sometimes shortened to broach. In rotary broaching, the broach is rotated and pressed into the workpiece to cut an axisymmetric shape. A rotary broach is used in a lathe or screw machine. In both processes the cut is performed in one pass of the broach, which makes it very efficient.
A reamer is a type of rotary cutting tool used in metalworking. Precision reamers are designed to enlarge the size of a previously formed hole by a small amount but with a high degree of accuracy to leave smooth sides. There are also non-precision reamers which are used for more basic enlargement of holes or for removing burrs. The process of enlarging the hole is called reaming. There are many different types of reamer and they may be designed for use as a hand tool or in a machine tool, such as a milling machine or drill press.
Swaging is a forging process in which the dimensions of an item are altered using dies into which the item is forced. Swaging is usually a cold working process, but also may be hot worked.
A kitchen knife is any knife that is intended to be used in food preparation. While much of this work can be accomplished with a few general-purpose knives – notably a large chef's knife, a tough cleaver, and a small paring knife – there are also many specialized knives that are designed for specific tasks. Kitchen knives can be made from several different materials.
A grinding wheel is a wheel composed of an abrasive compound and used for various grinding and abrasive machining operations. Such wheels are used in grinding machines.
Turning is a machining process in which a cutting tool, typically a non-rotary tool bit, describes a helix toolpath by moving more or less linearly while the workpiece rotates.
Blow molding is a specific manufacturing process by which hollow plastic parts are formed and can be joined together: It is also used for forming glass bottles or other hollow shapes. In general, there are three main types of blow molding: extrusion blow molding, injection blow molding, and injection stretch blow molding. The blow molding process begins with melting down the plastic and forming it into a parison or, in the case of injection and injection stretch blow molding (ISB), a preform. The parison is a tube-like piece of plastic with a hole in one end through which compressed air can pass.
Sharpening stones, water stones or whetstones are used to sharpen the edges of steel tools and implements through grinding and honing.
Spin casting, also known as centrifugal rubber mold casting (CRMC), is a method of utilizing centrifugal force to produce castings from a rubber mold. Typically, a disc-shaped mold is spun along its central axis at a set speed. The casting material, usually molten metal or liquid thermoset plastic, is then poured in through an opening at the top-center of the mold. The filled mold then continues to spin as the metal solidifies.
Microcrystalline waxes are a type of wax produced by de-oiling petrolatum, as part of the petroleum refining process. In contrast to the more familiar paraffin wax which contains mostly unbranched alkanes, microcrystalline wax contains a higher percentage of isoparaffinic (branched) hydrocarbons and naphthenic hydrocarbons. It is characterized by the fineness of its crystals in contrast to the larger crystal of paraffin wax. It consists of high molecular weight saturated aliphatic hydrocarbons. It is generally darker, more viscous, denser, tackier and more elastic than paraffin waxes, and has a higher molecular weight and melting point. The elastic and adhesive characteristics of microcrystalline waxes are related to the non-straight chain components which they contain. Typical microcrystalline wax crystal structure is small and thin, making them more flexible than paraffin wax. It is commonly used in cosmetic formulations.
This article is a list of terms commonly used in the practice of metalworking.
In casting, a pattern is a replica of the object to be cast, used to prepare the cavity into which molten material will be poured during the casting process.
A bench jeweler is an artisan who uses a combination of jewelry-making skills to make and repair jewelry. The jewelry making arts can be subdivided into a very great many categories of specialized skills. Some of the more common skills that a bench jeweler might employ include antique restoration goldsmithing, stonesetting, engraving, fabrication, wax carving, lost-wax casting, electroplating, forging, and polishing. In order to understand how a bench jeweler fits into the process of jewelry making, it is important to understand the process itself.
A stone sculpture is an object made of stone which has been carved or assembled to form a visually interesting three-dimensional shape.
Cast Urethanes are similar to injection molding. During the process of injection molding, a hard tool is created. The hard tool, made of an A side and a B side, forms a void within and that void is injected with plastics ranging in material property, durability, and consistency. Plastic cups, dishware, and toys are most commonly made using the process of injection molding because they are common consumer items that need to be produced on a mass scale, and injection molding is designed for mass production.