Wax carving advent calendar now available!Wax carving advent calendar now available!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you slip with your file, it’ll leave a mark in the wax. File carefully!
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.
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.
You need to play around with the heat settings. When you find the perfect setting the melted wax transfers easier.
When you have a good blob on your wax piece, you can file it down without a problem.
Remelting scraps: scraps melt down quickly. If you melt mostly dust, it gets a lot of air bubbles inside the wax.
Add some solid scraps to it and the wax melts more evenly without so many air bubbles.
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.
The wax dust does cling to the edges a bit. This is easily resolved with more burring or removing it with your fingers.
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.
The dark color of the wax makes it even more difficult to see your marks.
A stanley knife works great on purple wax. You can remove thin slivers and cut out small sections.
The wax slices cleanly and only where you want. The break doesn't continue in the wax away from the blade.
Can you even see the cut?
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.
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!