Chapter 2 - Tools
Book - Chapter 1 - Materials
Overman's Charity Wax - Carving & Modeling Wax Recipes
The article that follows explains how you can make your own carving and sculpting waxes from common materials. This article was written by Gary Overman. As usual, Gary delivers some excellent material. "My Heap" extends thanks for Gary's continued support. This Article may also be downloaded as a PDF file by clicking here. Depending on how your computer is set up, it may open the PDF file in your browser window. You can save the file directly to your machine by right clicking the link and selecting 'save target as'.
My note to All:
These waxes are intended for use on small, fine, and very detailed work. I wanted a tougher, harder wax than most recipes yield and commercially available products currently provide. I wanted the ingredients to be "natural" materials and be easily obtainable ("Where to find the materials" info included later) After trying over 300 different wax formulas over the past 20+ years , I found that these fit my needs best of all. They are all pleasant to work with, contain no toxic chemicals ( to my current understanding) and smell great!
My disclaimer to All:
Please note that these formulas were developed for my own use and by my own experimentation. I have not intentionally or knowingly violated any trade secret or patent. Please use good, common-sense when working with melted waxes. Use of a double boiler is highly recommended and avoid open flames at all costs to avoid a dangerous fire hazard. Hot wax on human skin is capable of creating severe and painful burns.
No warranty is expressed or implied.. I have given this info based on good faith and for good intentions only.
This document may be copied and distributed for personal and non-commercial use.
I believe that God has created a rich and sharing universe and it is in that spirit that I send this forth. Please share this document in its entirety with anyone who might benefit from it personally. Please keep this info in this exact format with all the info intact. Do not extract any individual formula.
Please make all references to recipes given here as " Overman Charity Wax" followed by the "ID" number. For commercial use please submit offers/requests in writing to address given at end of document.
Request to all:
If you put any of these to use, please consider making at least a $10 donation of any Charity of your choosing. Also I’d love to see any of your works made from these formulas. Email at end of page
|"Firm" to "Hard" Modeling|
|My favorite for general
sculpting of small object
|If cast as large sheet,
may crack as cooling
|Firm||Very Firm||Very Very Firm||Extremely Firm|
|ID Number -=>||"F"||"VF"||"V VF"||"EF"|
|If cast as large sheet,
may crack as cooling
|Carve only-Soft||Carve only med||Carve only Hard|
|Order of||My Favorite|
|Melt||ID # -=>||Bronze||Gold||Silver|
Notes on materials:
- Carnauba - There are several grades. I used “Prime Yellow Flake” from Liberon/Star Supplies. Can be added to any of the formulas here to increase hardness, but can cause product to be brittle can crack during cooling.
- Candelilla - In my humble opinion this is one of the most important bases for a stable wax. It is tough but not brittle. And the scent that it creates is very nice. Not a necessity, but as I said, very nice. I have bought online from Camden-Grey and Brambleberry.
- Beeswax - As you probably know used since ancient times as a modeling wax. I use the natural yellow. Add to any of the formulas to increase softness or workability. Available at too many places to list.
- Stearin - Available at candle shops or craft supply shops. Sometimes called Stearic Acid. Increases “carveability” without increasing hardness significantly.
- Titanium Dioxide - Not as bad as it sounds. Used in everything from toothpaste to sunscreen. Available at ceramic supply houses. Increases opacity and white-ness. Oil paint can be substituted. Other colorants like yellow ochre and red iron oxide can be used as well. They also are available at ceramic supplies. I use MidSouth Ceramic in Nashville, Tn.
- Rosin - Wonderful pine scent. I got mine as a “batter’s bag” at local sporting goods shop. Careful to add to melting mix last. I grind mine with equal part of cornstarch in small electric coffee grinder to make mixing in melt easier and more stable.
- Talcum - Make sure it’s all Talc and not cornstarch. Available almost anywhere.
- Cornstarch - Use finely ground like ARGO brand. Available at any grocer.
- Paraffin - I use Gulf wax from grocer. It adds firmness but not hardness ( at least compared to Carnauba or Candelilla.
A few quick pointers that I failed to mention in the PDF:
- A few of these mixes ( particularly the high carnauba blends) act the opposite of what one might expect. They tend to be crumbly right after cooling, but then develop a more stiff putty feel right before they become cold. If they're crumbling, just keep working the wax as it cools and you'll find the proper temp for modeling. It is NOT the highest temp before melt as one might expect.
- Most resources suggest continually stirring the wax to keep the wax from "layering" or separating as it cools. I find it much easier to immediately pour the mix into a shallow pan in a thin layer which cools immediately before it has a chance to separate.
The thin pieces are easy to handle and are very easy to warm evenly for modeling.
- If you add any colorants like the titanium or red iron, stir the melted mix with a "natural" bristle broad paintbrush to thoroughly distribute the colorants. Don't use a synthetic brush as it can melt and make a heck of a mess.
- If you add any dry materials ( colorants or talc ) be sure to filter the final mix through either cheesecloth or pantyhose. I have my wife save them for me( to use for this purpose only...no bad jokes please ). This helps ensure that no unmixed clumps pass thru.
- If you add any rosin be sure to do this last and over a lower heat. Rosin will clump together as a gooey clump in if it not heated evenly and at just a low enough temperature to melt it. Any higher and it will scorch into hard lumps! I dry grind rosin with an equal amount of cornstarch in a small coffee grinder that I bought for $15 at Wal-Mart and that works real well. The cornstarch seems to help distribute the rosin in the melt. Be sure to strain as mentioned above.
-=> UPDATE 31 JUL 2006 <=-
Gary has revised his charity waxes to include a few more notes and the 1102 series.
If you're able to use these please just give credit as "Overman Charity Wax" and then the number of the recipe. No warranty either implied nor expressed. Also use at own risk, with your own personal safety in mind.
Just wanted to make sure that everyone got all the recipes..here's the other post in text form. They are my current favorites because they can be used together as a series, one on top of the other.
Here's my favorite series of wax recipes. As you may note, the trade-off between candelillia wax and beeswax controls the firmness of the mix. Adding the rosin and not letting it sludge to the bottom is the trickiest part. Add it last, at low heat, and ground with cornstarch, constantly stirring till cool, will prevent this ugly event.
Titox- is my abbreviation for titanium dioxide which you can get from a ceramic supply shop. It is commonly used in toothpaste and cosmetics. You can substitute a little dab of artist's oil paint if you prefer.
*Grind rosin and cornstarch together in coffee grinder and add to melt last at low temp.
#1102VS (very soft)
#1102mh (medium hard)
#1102 VH (very hard)
You can download the latest revision (rev C) of the Overman Charity Waxes by clicking Here.
Make IRC from Common Materials
The article that follows explains how you can make your own IRC (Insulating Castable Refractory) from common materials. This article was written by John Wasser. You can find other very interesting material on his site by going to http://www.John-Wasser.com. I encourage you to check it out.
Making Insulating Castable Refractory from Common Material
Material you will need:
- High Temperature Furnace Cement (hardware store)
- Perlite (garden store)
- A little water
- A rubber spatula
Making Insulating Castable Refractory
It was easier than I thought to make insulating castable refractory for a foundry lining from material available from local hardware and garden stores. I got this idea from a web site about making a natural gas forge ( <http://www.spacelab.net/~swage/forge.htm> by Raymond "Swage" Maiara, Aurora Forge, New York, New York). The trick is to glue Perlite beads together with Furnace Cement (a.k.a. Furnace Mortar or Refractory Mortar). The material is slightly sticky and holds its shape well when packed. After it is set you can cut it with common woodworking tools.
The Perlite comes from the garden supply section of your local store and is used as a "soil conditioner". The price for a two gallon bag of Perlite was less than $3 in the garden section of my local hardware store.
The Furnace Cement comes from the furnace or fireplace section of your local hardware store. Look for Furnace Cement (or Furnace Mortar or Refractory Mortar) that says something like "Withstands temperatures to 3000¡F" and "Contains Silicates". It generally comes in "11-ounce" tubes (like caulk) and 32-ounce (1 quart) or 64-ounce (half gallon) plastic tubs. The price of a 32-ounce tub of: "Worcester Brush HIGH TEMP Furnace Cement (Black)" was less than $4 at my local hardware store.
You will need about 1 part (by volume) of Furnace Cement for each 4 parts (by volume) of Perlite so for a two gallon bag of Perlite you will need a half gallon of Furnace Cement. If you use much less than four volumes of Perlite for each volume of Furnace Cement all of the passages between Perlite beads will be sealed and it will take a long time for the cement to set (it needs contact with air). If you use much more than five volumes of Perlite for each volume of Furnace Cement the resulting material will be quite weak. You will also want to have some Furnace Cement to use as a sealing coat on your lining.
The Furnace Cement has about the consistency of roofing tar and is very sticky. It is MUCH easier to work with if you add about 2 cups of water per gallon of cement. This makes it more like a thin plaster. A rubber spatula is good for getting the cement out of the plastic tub.
You can mix a large quantity and keep it in a sealed container for a long time. A 5-gallon bucket is ideal for mixing a two-gallon bag of Perlite with 1/2 gallon of Furnace Cement.
Sealing the Surfaces
Once the C/P has fully set you can improve the insulating properties and make the piece stronger by painting some thinned Furnace Cement on all exposed surfaces. For this you may want to add even more water to the cement to make it flow better. Put on enough to fill any surface pores. The brush will clean easily with water.
I made a little foundry for melting aluminum and brass (See: Making a Propane-Fired Coffee-Can Foundry: <http://www.John-Wasser.com/NEMES/PCCF.html>). The foundry uses about 1-1/4" of this insulation lining a large coffee can. It has been up to aluminum melting temperature for over an hour and the painted label on the can has not charred! I would expect 1" to 2" of insulation would be enough for most any purpose.
One of the members of NEMES remarked that he was having trouble with a furnace made with this formula. The lining was slumping. I have since completed my own larger furnace (See: A Propane-Fired Foundry Furnace: <http://www.John-Wasser.com/NEMES/PFFF.html>). I lined it with steel and have not had any problems in the first two melts (aluminum and brass). Only experience will show if the lining will hold up.
Chapter 1 - Materials
The purpose of this chapter is to give you more information on materials that you will encounter and work with while in the process of making molds, casting or other related topics. I hope this area eventually expands to the point that it will need subdividing. In the mean time as things are added I will put them in a list below.
How to make I.R.C (Insulating Castable Refractory) from common materials - By John Wasser
Overman Charity Waxes - Carving Wax Recipes - By Gary Overman