Entries by tag: lost wax casting

Jewerly and Waxes
I thought people might find it interesting to see the carved waxes and the final metal jewelry.

Below are photos of waxes and the finished metal and stone designs. They were made for Rebecca Burgess, who took the photos. The ring is opal 14kt and diamond.

The pendant is opal and 14kt. Both of the opals are lightening ridge opal form Australia that were cut for me. The pendant stone is more brilliant then appears in the photo. It's one of the opals that changes as you move.

I had a excellent Thanksgiving with my daughters and am planning on left over turkey etc for dinner tonight.

Hammering etc.
All the rings cast well as did the setting for the antique cameo.  (I just ordered the gold wire to intertwine in the silver lace with pearls.)  I've been looking at the ring stones. They should be set in another couple of days.

Today I was removing the sprues from the rings with careful sawing.  I'll polish them in part tomorrow.  And I made some hammered silver links for a silver and patchwork pearl necklace.  I've been working very late for the last two week, but hopefully will be ending earlier and therefore journaling more.  I usually write when my day is over, but when it's really late, the writing doesn't happen.  Also a lot of concern for friends in Japan has been taking time.

My pearl winged dragon fly has been progressing really well in wax and will hopefully be finished for Norwescon.

We've had 3 days of glorious summer weather.  Tomorrow it goes away.  A small late blooming cherry tree gave me a chance to study the blossoms closely.  I think I'll be doing something with cherry blossoms fairly soon.  The tree was covered with light pink flowers.

I was given a bunch of lilacs and I'm looking at them now..  They are not local flowers, usually we get them very briefly for sale in the spring.  They always remind me of where I grew up in New York.  There they grew profusely in the spring.

On another note.  Body Impolitic has been down since late Wednesday night.   Our web guy is working on it and (hopefully) we should be back up soon.

Just spent all day sprueing new work for casting.  Definitely not my favorite thing, but a necessary part of the process.

Actually that's not quite true. I like it when I'm just doing a couple of pieces, but this was a group of work.  Two are gold and the rest sterling. Including the dark nebulas and a brilliant sunstone ring with diamonds.

The complicated pieces are always interesting because there's real thinking involved, but the simpler ones are just precise work.

Realized I should probably explain sprueing.  Sprues are the various wax attachments that go on to the work so that channels are created after the wax burns out of the mold and vaporizes. They  carry the metal to the piece.

One of the results of all day sprueing is a slight jewelers' back ache.

Mood: Achy

It's Late
I've been working in wax all since 2 and I had some work I wanted to finish so I pushed a bit. And now I have an ache between my shoulders.

But the art nouveau lily pendant is progressing really well.   The dark astronomicals  are looking finished and I'm figuring out some rings.

I'm thinking abut gold pendants in very open designs that depends a lot on perfect balance.  i may do one with an orange sapphire and one with a mauve pearl. 

And the type came today!  A friend warned me to cover the parts I handle with tape since it's lead.  Sounds like really good advice.

Tomorrow I'll shift to some metal work.


I worked late last night getting all the waxes I'd carved sprued for casting. 

Sprues create the channels that the hot metal flows through to get to your piece. When you're finished spruing it looks like your piece is on the top of a wax tree.  How complex the tree depends on how complex or large the piece.  A simple ring will look like it's sitting on top of a wax stem.  Then the sprue at the bottom of your tree is sealed to the center of a metal plate that has a hole in the center that's filled with wax.  You attach it to that, and then put a open ended metal tube on the plate around the sprued piece.  Then it's filled with a plaster like material. 

After it hardens, the plate is removed and the tube is put in a kiln where the wax vaporizes at very high heat.  That's why it's called"lost wax".  Then it's place on the arm of an centrifical caster that has been wound up.  A crucible is placed against the hole in the tube that leads to the sprued piece.  Metal is put in it and melted with an oxy-acetelene torch.  The arm is released, and it spins around very fast.  Centrifical force pushes the metal into the hollow mold filling the sprues that it travels through and filling the piece..

Then after it cools, you break up the plaster and you piece complete with sprues is there in metal. (Assuming that nothing in the process screwed up).Then you cut off the sprues and polish it.

It's a hard process to describe.  I'm hoping that this is fairly clear.

Mood: Lucid

Sprueing and Sheep
I spent today sprueing.  That's when I attach the wax rods to the finished carvings so that there are channels for the liquified metal to pass through to reach the wax carving when you cast.

It's a mix of art and craft but it also get tedious after a while.  And I just spent about 7 hours doing it.

I promise this is my last sheep comment. But the 1632 Brillo sheep is truly finished and it's what I wanted.  I was just talking to my friend David in Seattle and telling him the saga of the shaggy sheep, and to my surprise her ordered it, so he gets the first one.

I'm going to be working on a platypus scupture commission more in July, so I'll probably be talking too much about platypii. (I just checked and there is no agreed-upon plural for a platypus.)

One of the pieces that's finished in wax, that I've been working on for a long time, is a small fossilised shark's tooth that I'm going to set with a couple of tiny colored diamonds.

One of the stones that I've been comtemplating, that I haven't done anything with yet, is a largish piece of amber with a 50 million year old winged termite it.  Somehow termite never sounds very beautiful, but actually it is quite lovely with large wings.  I did finish a small amber ring with an equally ancient fly.

My daughter Cid is coming to Westercon to keep me company.  She's going to Estonia to teach dance on a Fulbright fellowship the end of July, so I'm especially looking forward to spending time with her.

Mood: Satisfied

Castings Done!
Hurray! All the new work including the rings cast beautifully. The ring setting worked particularly well. There's a certain amount of shrinkage when you cast, and that can sometimes make setting stones more work then one would like in the metal. But not this time. Textures were particularly lovely as well. I'm planning to have all of this finished  for Wiscon. Also made some octopuses. (I always want to say octopae.)

Talked with my lapidary on the phone tonight about a mahogany obsidian base he's making for me. It will be mostly highly polished but with some of the original rough outside texture included.  I got to pick the stone when I was in Seattle. It's for a jeweled platypus sculpture I'm making. I also want to have some kind of sea weed equivalent as part of it, but I haven't done the research yet on appropriate Australian plant life.

Final note:  I really better watch my spelling in the tags. I almost posted "last" wax casting.  There's something about being haunted by your spellings errors in the tags that's a little surreal.

Mood with a bow to elisem: Elated

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