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One of a Kind
April 26, 2018
Lost Wax Casting
By Caroline F. Downes & Ashley R. Harrison
Welcome to our first ever Educational Series Blog Post!!!
We have learned so much over the past few years and we want to expand your jewelry perspective with super cool facts about our process, metal, gemstones, wax carving and more... Stay tuned for more posts!!
Educational Series Blog Post - Intro to Lost Wax Casting
Not all jewelry is created equally. Some is hand fabricated, some is printed, some is hand carved out of wax and then cast. Here at CFD, our specialty is hand carved wax-with a little fabrication thrown in. The lost wax casting technique is over 5,000 years old, dating back to Israel in 4500-3500BC when bronze objects and sculptures were cast using this method! While this method has a fascinating and rich history, it has only been slightly modified and perfected over the years, with many handmade fine jewelry designers still using it daily as a means of production. We love this method for it’s organic and unique properties. We hand carve every piece of wax, so it will never be as precise as something 3-D printed. This hand-carving technique allows us to virtually create anything. Can't find a wedding band that fits around your antique heirloom engagement ring? We can literally carve one out that will!
It all starts with a chunk of hard carving wax (blue, green, purple, yellow), which we then hand carve, or melt whatever pattern or texture we desire. Once we have a decent amount of wax items carved and ready for casting, we connect thin rods of wax to each piece, creating a bunch of “tree branches,” with our rings and other hand carved items acting as the “leaves.” We then connect all the tree branches to a center “trunk” of wax, to create a finished wax tree. The tree is then enclosed within a metal cylindrical cask, and filled with investment which is very similar to plaster. Once the investment is hardened, the base of the cask is removed, allowing an escape hatch for the wax to flow out of, once melted. We then place all of our casks in a burnout kiln, for an all day process of melting, and steaming the wax out. Each wax item and wax rod we used earlier has melted away, creating the perfect channel for molten metal to pass through. Once the wax is completely melted out of the plaster, we are then left with a perfect empty cavity of our piece! Hence the name, “lost-wax casting.”
Once the casks are ready for casting, we prepare our casting machine! A very simple device, the centrifugal casting machine is simply powered by a wind-up arm and spring, that uses counter-weights to send the casks flying in a circle. We prepare our gold or silver, by melting it in a crucible with a torch. When the metal is molten, we release the spring-loaded arm, spinning and forcing the metal into our mold.
These pieces still have a long journey head of them until they're wearable art-but now you know the first steps we take to create your CFD Jewelry!!
Lost Wax Casting
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