Purple wax

Purple is a slightly lesser known wax color. It’s still widely used and available in all the different shapes and sizes. So what’s it like to work with purple wax?

A spiky sunburst pendant with a round garnet stone and a slim dome ring with granulation and burr holes

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.

You can go here and read about green 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.

Purple wax dust from piercing

Thick pieces (ring tube etc): piercing thick pieces is hard, especially at the start. You won’t go deep into the wax with your first few piercing strokes and you only produce fine dust. Once you get a little deeper, the wax starts to clump together and piercing becomes a bit easier.

Thin pieces: piercing thin pieces is a lot easier. There’s no initial resistance and you can pierce quickly from the start. The wax dust does obscure your lines, but it brushes off easily. You can accurately pierce to the line.

Hand files

Big sections (side of a ring etc): filing big sections is hard. It’s not that the wax feels hard, but more that it takes a long time. You only get super fine dust and it takes a while to get a flat smooth surface.

Super fine purple dust from filing

Upside? The fine dust doesn’t clog your file at all.

Small sections: filing small sections is so much easier and quicker! You actually see progress with each file stroke. The wax is still pretty dusty. It kinda clogs your file, but not really. The dust doesn’t get stuck between the teeth of your file, it just lies on top. You can just brush it from your file with your hand.

Hand file with purple wax dust on top

Needle files

Needle files work well on purple wax. The wax files easily without clogging your files. You see the results of what you’re doing quickly.

Needle file with barely any dust and the sunburst pendant I filed with it

Really, the wax doesn’t clog your files. This is what my file looked like after filing all the indents.

The initial file stroke can feel a little hard when you’re filing a curve. But once you have the start, it’s easy to continue filing the curve.

Purple wax ring with the start of a court shape filed into it

If you slip with your file, it’ll leave a mark in the wax. File carefully!

Purple wax ring with a small mark from a needle file

Carving tools

Same as with the needle files, the carving tools work well. The initial carving is a little hard, but refining your shape and adding details is easier. Sharp corners or curves, it’s all easily doable with carving tools.

Melting

Repairing: melted wax doesn’t easily transfer from the wax pen to the wax piece. It wants to stay where it’s warm. It gets a bit stringy when you remove the wax pen as well.

Purple wax ring with granulation. The granulation has thin wax threads attached

You need to play around with the heat settings. When you find the perfect setting the melted wax transfers easier.

Purple wax ring with blobs of wax over a break

When you have a good blob on your wax piece, you can file it down without a problem.

SPurple wax ring with the blobs filed back

Remelting scraps: scraps melt down quickly. If you melt mostly dust, it gets a lot of air bubbles inside the wax.

Round piece of newly melted purple wax. It has a lot of visible air bubbles inside

Add some solid scraps to it and the wax melts more evenly without so many air bubbles.

Burring

Burring is perfectly smooth. There is no real resistance and the burr quickly goes into the wax. Without digging! It’s all very smooth and controlled.

Purple ring with burr marks. One of the burr marks has wax dust clinging to the edge

The wax dust does cling to the edges a bit. This is easily resolved with more burring or removing it with your fingers.

Marking

Purple ring with spiky sunburst patterned marked on it. You can see the wax dust still in the marks

Marking isn’t great. You can't mark very deep and the wax dust clings to the edges of the mark, making it difficult to see where the line is exactly. Cleaning your piece after marking removes some of the dust, but a good amount stays inside the marks.

Purple ring with spiky sunburst patterned marked on it photographed in the shade so the marks are hard to see

The dark color of the wax makes it even more difficult to see your marks.

Stanley knife

A stanley knife works great on purple wax. You can remove thin slivers and cut out small sections.

Purple ring with stanley knife in it

The wax slices cleanly and only where you want. The break doesn't continue in the wax away from the blade.

Close up of purple ring with the mark the stanley knife left

Can you even see the cut?

Misc

I already mentioned it, but this wax doesn’t clog your files at all. At most, it lies on top of your file. It doesn’t get stuck between the teeth. You can shake the dust away or brush it off with your hand.

Verdict

The initial big work (piercing the ring tube, filing the ring parallel, etc) takes some time. But once you get to the fun part of wax carving, everything works great!

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