Wax Carving - Creating the Look of Pave Setting
Shown above is the max model we carved for the Susan Haywood’s star brooch.
Each ball represents part of the Pave setting for each gem. Below you will see the small balls being applied with a thin hot wire. The light green wax melts and cools quickly, forming perfect little balls. When it came to reproducing the look of pave setting I knew I would have to find a wax that I could melt and drip into tiny spheres. The wax I am using in the image below was given to me by my mentor.
I never even asked where this type of wax came from, so I cannot share the source. It is the best wax to use for this type of work.
Casting - Lost Wax Method
We work with a great casting company in Northern California. They cast in a variety of metals. The day we finished carving was one of the hottest days of the summer. And I worried that the waxes might be affected by the summer heat during transportation, but the casting gods were with us and they arrived unmelted.
All three projects were added to this tree.
To cast in the lost wax method, waxes are carefully attached or sprued to a treelike structure of wax that will eventually provide paths for the molten casting material to flow and for air to escape. To sprue you begin at base with a wax "cup," which is attached by wax cylinders to various points on the wax models.
The sprue is not hollow, as it will be melted out later in the process. This is done right before they are placed in a flask and made ready for the plaster pour. Once the plaster is poured - it sets over night. The following day the rubber bases are removed and the flask is placed in an oven to burn out the wax. Once the wax has left the plaster the flask is ready for metal. This is called the lost wax - process.