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You want to use both hand files and needle files on wax. Hand files to do the majority of the filing and needle files for all the details and clean up. You can use wax files, or the same files you use on your metal pieces.
Wax files are coarser than metal files. It makes filing quicker and easier. Especially when you have to file large areas.
Wax files leave a coarser surface finish. Which can be a nice texture for your final piece of jewellery.
But if you want a cleaner look for your wax pieces, you have to finish filing with a regular metal file.
Regular files work perfectly on wax as well. It takes a little longer, but you get a cleaner looking finish on your wax.
But using my metal files on wax will make them blunt! Sure. Eventually. But so does filing metal. Files get blunt when you use them! Use your files on wax and then clean them before you use them on metal again.
And if you really want to keep wax and metal tools separate, you can always get a second set of metal files for your wax.
The first thing you do when you start a new project is file the surface clean. It might sound like a useless extra step. This wax comes straight from the factory, what’s wrong with it?
But if you take 5 minutes to prepare your wax before you start, it makes everything that comes after this easier.
Marking is easier and better visible on a clean surface.
Measuring is more accurate from a clean surface.
Glue, beeswax and tape holds better on a clean surface for when you want to transfer a pattern or mark around a stone.
So take those 5 minutes before you start and file your surface clean.
This includes filing the surface of your ring tube after it’s been used! File the surface flat before you pierce your next ring. You now have a true side to take your measurements from.
It’s easy to use a hand file when you file something big. But you also want to use a hand file on small pieces.
Filing with a hand file is so much quicker than with a needle file. You cover more surface area with each file stroke. And you can put more pressure on a hand file.
Yes, it’s scary to put that big hand file anywhere near your tiny piece of wax. But sometimes you have to be brave!
Your small wax is safe with your big file, as long as you...
Have you ever broken a piece right at the point you are filing it? I have! Wax is more fragile than metal, so it can use all the extra support when you’re filing it. Place a finger right below the part you’re filing. Your finger can absorb the pressure of the file and push back against it. With this extra support, the wax is less likely to break.
When you file a ring, place your index finger inside the ring for support.
When you file something that sticks out, support it with your thumb.
Or any other finger, depending on how you hold it.
Whatever you file, find a way to support it as much as you can.
Of course wax can still break, but you reduce those chances by supporting your wax. With support covered, you also want to make sure that you...
Have you ever filed a place you weren’t supposed to file? Me too! The best way to prevent that from happening is by protecting the part you don’t want to file. The best way to do that? Cover it with your thumb!
Your thumb has some padding and can take the file bumping into it.
And if you want to get real close, run the side of the file that has no teeth against your thumb. You can file right next to the part you don’t want to file this way.
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