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The Absolute Basic

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What's the absolute basic toolkit you need for waxcarving? This question popped up on a jeweller's social media forum recently. Lots of people contributed their views, some we agreed with, some not so much.

Here is our answer. It's not the definitive list, there really isn't one. It's just our opinion, based on our experience over many years, both as practitioners and tutors.

            6 tips

If you're a practicing jeweller or goldsmith, you will have some tools that will function. Undoubtedly a piercing saw frame, hand/needle files, emery paper etc, so we'll take that as read.


We'll also assume that you are a novice and may not want to invest much money on something that may not turn out to be useful to you.

All these tools are in our other blog posts or the shop, so we won't go to any length describing their use, as we've already covered this elsewhere.


Absolute essentials:


Scraping tools. We recommend our own modified scalpel tips for sale here on the website, the product of many, many years of refining. You'll need a handle to go with them, there's a lot available online at very reasonable prices, check our recommendations in the shop before choosing if you don't want to buy from us. Many jewellers suppliers sell sets of dental tools that are also very reasonably priced, but not as fit for purpose.


Sawblades. Wax will clog your ordinary piercing saw blades, you'll need something coarser. Spiral wax saw blades are your best option for primary cutting. If you have a coping saw already, this also works very well. A coping saw blade with the ends snapped off to fit your piercing saw is another option and pretty much lasts forever. For more refined sawing, Skip-a-tooth sawblades are best.


Wax-file. The double ended half round wax-file is a great investment. For filing large amounts of wax away quickly. It can be quite refined too, when used with appropriate care. If you're not going to invest in a ring-sizer, it's useful for sizing rings. For more refined filing your regular files should work fine.


Ring-sizer: For sizing rings, easily available online. If you're unsure, buy from a reputable jewellery supplier. However the wax file will function in place of this if you don't want to invest just yet.



Wax. Obviously you'll need some of this too. For a beginner, use blue. It's what we start all our students with. The most versatile shape for ring tube is the U shape, you can file any ring out of this, even if you have to do some extra filing, the same cannot be said for the other shapes. A box of mixed slices is a good to start with too. The slices do have a rough surface so will need some preparation before use.



That's it, you're good to go at the most basic level. We'll put up a next level of tool acquisition in the near future.



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  1. Russell Lownsbrough

    Hi Jason If the surface of the wax has saw lines on it you will need to smooth it. This can be done by scraping, filing or sanding. See our book for further information.

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  2. Jason Elms

    Thank you so much for posting this. Is there a special process for preparing the surface of the blue wax?

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