Making My Brother’s Wedding Rings 3: The Wax Carving

The starting blanks of jeweler's wax.
The starting blanks of jeweler’s wax.

Making wax models of the pair of wedding bands I’m working on for my brother’s upcoming wedding this summer is both easy and requires skilled hands.  The wax is like a soft plastic, so it’s durable and can take hard work and tools.  But working in 3-D has never been something I’ve been adept with.

Carving or sculpting something to be later cast in metal requires you to “see” the final shape in the wax.  You have to have a kind of x-ray vision to know what parts of the material you’ll need to remove, and what needs to stay.

Carving begins.
Carving begins.

I started carving the ladies band first, and will model the mens on it.  The whole set is based (as you’ll know if you’d happened on parts 1 & 2 of this series) on my mother’s engagement ring; a beautiful yellow gold solitaire, with a simple band that just has a simple, gentle peaked edge along the top.

Working the peak into the design.
Working the peak into the design.

Once the main shape is carved with rough rasps, a finer one is used to smooth out lines and ridges.

Rasping the wax.
Rasping the wax.

Finally (and I’m not quite there yet)  a very fine rasp  followed by rubbing with denim cloth or pantyhose will polish the wax to a lovely finish.  The great thing about casting in wax is that if you finish the wax perfectly and with a lot of care, it requires only minimal cleanup and hand-finishing once the metal version comes out of the casting tank.

The teeny delicate wax model ready for final measurements and finishing.
The teeny delicate wax model ready for final measurements and finishing.

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2 thoughts on “Making My Brother’s Wedding Rings 3: The Wax Carving

  1. Hello Erin, I am glad I looked in, tonight! That is really fascinating; your description makes me, almost, feel like I can actually see you doing it!! (smile) I wish I were! I have a question (about the wax form), for when I can talk to you.
    I’m looking forward to the next step!! (smile)
    Much love, Brenda

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