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Orange wax

Orange is the most elusive wax color out there. It’s only sold in a few places. And it’s only available in a few different shapes (no ring tubes!).

So what’s it like to work with orange wax?

A snowflake/flower shaped pendant with a round garnet in the centre and a chunky ring with a wave pattern on the side

For the wax color comparison series, I make some pieces with each wax color. I use all the common tools and techniques and describe how easy/difficult they were. Keep reading along and find the wax that best suits your making style.

Curious about the other colors? Read about green wax, purple wax, turquoise wax, gold wax, Wolf gold wax and blue wax.

Piercing

I used a regular saw blade for this. With a wax blade, all colors would end up with the same verdict: quick and easy. Besides, you want to use a regular blade for precision work.

Orange wax dust from piercing

Thick pieces (ring tube etc): the first few piercing strokes are good and the wax dust clumps together. But as soon as you get a little deeper in the wax it becomes difficult fast. Progress is slow. And you only get the finest powder like dust.

Thin pieces: piercing thin pieces is a lot quicker and easier. The only problem is that the fine dust obscures your lines constantly. Piercing accurately to the line takes some time, just because you have to wipe away the dust the entire time.

Hand files

Big sections (side of a ring etc): filing big sections is so so slow. It’s hard to see progress. You only get a small amount of very fine dust for every file stroke. With some patience and determination you will eventually get that flat surface.

Super fine orange dust from filing

The fine dust stays on top of your file and you can wipe it away with just your hand.

Small sections: filing small sections is a lot quicker and easier. You see progress with every file stroke.

The wax dust stays on top of the file without getting in between the teeth.

Hand file with orange wax dust on top

You can easily brush it off with your hand.

Hand file cleaned from orange dust

Needle files

Needle files work great on orange wax. You can file the wax into any shape you want, without too much effort. If you don’t put a lot of pressure on your file, you can get a pretty clean surface finish with just files alone.

The wax does clog your needle files.

Needle file clogged with orange wax

Brushing the file with your hand gets rid of a lot of the wax, and you can use a toothbrush or your fingernail to get rid of the last bits that are stuck.

Needle file cleaned from orange dust

Carving tools

Carving tools work great on orange wax as well. You can easily refine your shape and add details with them. You can make good curves and get flat surfaces with them as well.

Back view of the snowflake shaped pendant

Melting

Repairing: melted wax transfers really easily. Both from liquid onto a wax pen and from wax pen to a different piece of wax.

Orange piece of wax with granulation

You can get a good blob onto a break.

Orange piece of wax with blob

And it files away without a problem

Orange piece of wax with the blobs filed back

Remelting scraps: scraps melt down quickly and evenly. You end up with a nice workable piece of wax again.

Round piece of newly melted orange wax.

Burring

Burring is absolutely perfect. The burr stays on the surface of the wax. This way you have complete control over where you remove wax from and how much.

Orange ring with a wave pattern burred into the edge

Marking

Marking is ok. I needed to use a little more pressure than usual to get a good deep line. The wax dust clings to the edges of your mark.

Orange wax with pattern marked on it with loads of dust still on the edges

But you can remove this completely with a toothbrush.

Orange wax with pattern marked on it

The color of the wax makes the lines a bit difficult to see. You need to hold the wax at just the right angle to see your lines perfectly while you’re working, otherwise it's more of a suggestion.

Orange wax with pattern marked on it, but the wax color and angle against the light make the pattern difficult to see

Stanley knife

A stanley knife doesn’t work too well on orange wax. If you slice into the wax straight it’s fine. You only cut where you want it to cut.

Orange piece of wax with stanley knife in it

But if you go into the wax at even the slightest angle, the wax crumbles away from the stanley knife. There is no control over what wax you remove.

orange piece of wax with stanley knife in it and wax crumbling away from the cut

Misc

When you’re piercing a thin piece the wax gets a little warm!

Verdict

There is a reason orange wax is mostly used for machines and not hand carving. The big work is very very slow in orange wax. But once you get to the fun part of wax carving, orange wax is pretty good.

Comment below and tell me your experience working with orange wax!