Tag Archives: Wax Model

Adventures in wax carving – Week 3!

So if you have been following my weekly diary of my 5 week Wax Carving Evening Class at the London Jewellery School you will know that after week 1 and week 2 we are getting close to finishing our first projects and spent most of week 3 refining and finishing our designs so our waxes were as perfect as possible before being cast!  Apparently it takes 3 times as long to fix any imperfections in silver as it does in wax so tutor, Sophie Arnott, spent a lot of time this week checking our waxes and helping us make those minor improvements that would save us precious time later!

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There were lots of busy hands this week! 

In the case of my design – I had to burr out some of the wax underneath to reduce the weight of the final piece.  That was pretty hairy as I was using a burr in a pendant motor.  Now whilst I have used a pendant motor many times before over the years, I have only ever scooped out the underside of waxes by hand (and I typically use burrs in a pin vice and do by hand too) so using burrs in a motor was a new experience for me and it was very easy to slip!  I was worried about burring out too much wax but Sophie assured me you can usually take away lots more than you think.

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My 1st Finished Wax

Once I had finished burring out the wax it was time to refine the finish of the wax so it was nice and smooth.  To do this we used many grades of sandpaper (haven’t met anyone who enjoys sanding yet and this class is no exception but it is necessary!) to smooth the surface and remove any scratches or imperfections.  I then finished off the surface with steel wool for a really nice smooth finish.  Finally, as I had a few curls of wax left on my piece that I couldn’t quite reach with the sandpaper or steel wool I wafted my piece over a flame which melted the excess and left a lovely smooth finish!  It is easy to overdo it and you do need to watch that you don’t melt your piece (or burn your fingers) but boy does it make a difference!

And as promised, here are some shots of my fellow students amazing waxes!

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Aren’t their designs stunning!?  Quite extraordinary that 7 people taking the same course are using the techniques learned in such different ways!  I just can’t wait to see what everybody does for their second project!

Until next time!

Author: Karen Young

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Innovations in Jewellery Making

Tutor Anna Campbell has been looking at innovations in jewellery making.

When I go to museums and see jewellery that has been found on archaeological digs I am always amazed at how current it looks, how it could have been made today. We still use many techniques that would not have been out of place hundreds of years ago and yet technology has moved on to develop methods that would be incredible to those jewellers from yesteryear.

Here I look at some of the key innovations that have taken the craft of jewellery making in new directions.

 

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Roman gold rings with stones, 3-4 Century AD from the collection at the British Museum

 

1. 3D printing

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Examples of 3D printed jewellery from Fathom and Form jewelry LINK http://www.aniwaa.com/3d-printing-for-jewelry/

 

3D printing allows us to use a machine to ‘print’ a 3 dimensional object. This innovation is becoming more utilised in jewellery making in many ways including

 

  • to make samples and test pieces in resin or plastic
  • to print in wax ready for casting in metal
  • for printing directly in plastic or metal

 

Printing in wax for casting by Next Day Wax

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It’s an exciting way to design jewellery and to try this out yourself you need to master computer-aided design (also known as CAD) or work with a CAD designer to transfer your sketches into a CAD file that is suitable for printing.

Recently, students and staff from LJS were lucky enough to visit a local 3D printing company My Mini Factory. You can read more about this visit here.

 

2. Laser technology

Soldering, particularly multiple solder joins in one piece, can be the bane of the jeweller’s life (as I’m sure I don’t need to tell you!). It is particularly tricky when trying to fix broken pieces with gemstones already set because of concerns of damaging the stones. The use of laser welding has helped to make the process of repairing and soldering easier without heat damage to the whole piece.

Laser engraving has also meant that engraving is possible without damage to the piece and is now regularly used at the assay office when hallmarking, helping to ensure pieces aren’t damaged as they could be with the ‘struck’ mark.

 

3. Metal clay

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Metal clay necklace made by visiting tutor Julia Rai

 

First developed in Japan in 1990, metal clay is a different way of working with metals. Metal particles, an organic binder and some water are combined to create a putty-type substance that can be moulded and shaped, dried and fired either with a torch or a kiln. It is a beautiful addition to our ways of working with metal and artists working in the medium have fast developed their skills to do so.

Metal clay is available in many metals including fine silver, sterling silver, gold, copper, bronze and steel. It also comes in different forms including lump clay, paste, syringe and paper.

If you would like to see what is possible to create with metal clay check out the pieces submitted to the Metal Clay Masters Registry.

 

4. Motorised drilling and polishing

Drilling and polishing pieces has become a quicker process than our predecessors could ever have imagined as we have the benefit of using many nifty pieces of machinery including the pendant motor, flex shaft and motorised drill.

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Jool tool

 

At our last supplier event Petra from Metal Clay Ltd brought along one of the latest innovations in polishing – the Jool tool. You can have a look at a video review of the Jool tool here.

We all definitely had tool envy!

 

What other innovations have I missed? Have you tried 3D printing? We’d love to hear your thoughts on innovations in jewellery making. Please share them with us in the comments below or via our instagram, twitter or facebook pages.

 

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs