We all know tools are expensive. And we all know to check different suppliers to see which has the best price before we buy. But you can also search creatively for the tools you need from non jewellery tool stores!
And for wax carving, you can even look creatively for tools outside of the official wax carving tools! As long as the tool is sharp and you’re willing to experiment, anything can become a wax carving tool!
The first place I looked for carving tools was a craft store. I went in to get a stanley knife, but walked all the isles to see what else I could find and possibly use. I only got the stanley knife that first time, but later bought my first set of carving tools from a craft store as well.
I’m not even sure what the carving tools are for originally, wood carving or lino cutting probably. But they have sharp blades (and even different angles in the set!), so of course they work for wax carving as well!
I still go into craft stores from time to time, to see what kind of tools they have that I could possibly use. Will a paper hole punch work on sheet wax? Should I just use a push pin for detailing? Can I use a crochet hook for anything?
Sometimes it’s just fun to put your imagination to work on how you can adapt any of the tools for wax carving!
Of course you can find wax carving tools in a place that sells tools!
I’ve gotten spiral saw blades, files and a mitre box and saw from my local hardware store.
But there’s so much more available! Measuring equipment like callipers and set squares, sharp carving tools like chisels, and all kinds of bits for your pendant/micro motor!
In general, all the tools are a bit rougher than the jewellery tools you’re used to. But for wax that’s actually really nice. We love a rough file to quickly remove wax! And the tools that really are too rough can give your wax some very cool textures.
Lidl is a supermarket chain in Europe. Besides regular supermarket items, they also sell a weekly changing selection of random things. And the random things always include tools!
My 1000% favourite tool find from Lidl were my calipers. They are the exact same ones that jewellery tool suppliers sell, and I got them for ⅓ of the price at Lidl. My latest find was a set of wood carving tools. All blades are sharp and have different shapes and angles. Perfect!
The only downside to Lidl is that it’s not very reliable because the selection changes every week. And if they sell out of something early, it’s sold out. The tools do always come back again, so keep an eye out. And next time you find yourself in Lidl, have a look in the random aisle, you might find a good carving tool!
Did you know that dentists use a lot of the same tools that you use for wax carving?
My favourite wax carving tool is a dental cement spatula!
Micromotors, drill bits and burrs, heating pen systems, carving tools, all of these are used by dentists as well!
Strike up a conversation with your dentist next time you’re there and find out where they get their tools!
I’m sure most of us do our tool shopping online. Online you can get creative with your search terms!
Let's take a wax heating pen as example. You can look for: wax heating pen, heating pen, wax carving pen, carving pen, electric wax carver, wax modeling pen, wax modeling machine, soldering iron, usb soldering iron. And there are probably more search terms I didn’t even think of.
All these search terms give you different options for different price points. Some of the options are designed for jewellery specific wax carving. Other options are designed for other things, but can be used for wax carving as well. Search around and you’ll find something for your budget.
The above are my favourite places to look for tools, but that doesn't mean there aren't more great places to look for them! I’ve seen jewellery makers on Instagram use the widest variety of random things as carving tools: a fork, excellent for detailing work in soft wax. Manicure sets from a drugstore, sharp and good for detailing. Sewing needles, good for engraving style details.
Anything is a wax carving tool if you’re willing to get creative and try!
Comment below and let me know what your favourite non-tool tool is!