Lost Wax Casting
Lost Wax Lost Wax casting is an ancient technique that has been used for thousands of years to make three dimensional pieces of jewellery with beautiful texture and shape. This technique allows for designs that aren’t possible to fabricate from flat metal, the only restrictions are your imagination and your budget!
Beginners and advanced students are welcome in these 4 or 6 week block classes.
Course Outline: In this class students are taught how to create their pieces in special jeweller’s wax, we then send these waxes away to be professionally cast for us as it involves machinery we can’t fit in the studio! For those that haven’t tried this technique before, Week 1 is carving a ring in hard jeweller’s wax. The hard wax can be shaped with carving tools, files, drills and melting and students are encouraged to experiment and go wild with this first carving. There is no compulsion to have something finished and ready to send at the first class, but if pieces are finished then we can send them. Week 2 is continuing to work on hard wax rings, and introducing soft wax. This lovely moldable wax is a little like beeswax, a little like plasticine and can be rolled very thinly to pick up texture or shape into delicate petals. It really shows up fingerprints so it is a great way to personalise your work. In Week 3 some students might have metal pieces back ready to finish up and you will be shown how to cut off the sprue (metal channel), file, sand and polish your pieces. Students will continue to work on the waxes they have already started and may start looking at relief carving on blocks of flat wax. By Week 4 students will have found a method that appeals to them and will be encouraged to develop their skills in the wax they like to use for the remainder of the course. They will understand the process well by now and will know what to expect from a casting, it feels very different once cast into metal! Castings come back at different times for different metals so students can expect the whole class to be working on different projects at different times. We run Lost Wax casting as a mixed level class so we may have beginners working alongside advanced students, this is a great way for beginners to see what is possible as their skills improve! Advanced students can begin looking at more complex designs, stone settings and cast in place gemstones. Tutors will encourage them to work on refinement and design as the twin pillars of their advanced work. Included in the class fee are all your different types of waxes, sandpaper and courier costs. Not included are the casting and metal costs which vary from student to student depending on what they want to make. Small castings can cost around $6.65 - $10 and metals are $0.35 cents per gram for bronze, brass and copper, $0.75 cents per gram for white bronze and $3.42 per gram for silver. Some students spend around $40 - $60 on these extra costs, others much more, but our tutors are amazing at helping those who need to keep extra costs to a minimum. We can calculate charges before pieces are sent away so there are no nasty surprises when castings come back! Please see our Tikanga page for details about our values around student experience and respecting materials. The Lost Wax Process: How does Lost Wax work? It involves creating a piece in wax, securing it in a plaster mold then ultra heating it in a kiln so the wax melts out leaving a cavity in the shape of the wax and the plaster is “cured”. Molten metal is then poured or injected into the mold and once hardened the plaster is cracked off to reveal the piece. Then the cast piece can be worked like any other metal, it can be drilled, filed and soldered.