July 19, 2019 at 6:22 pm #5515
I have been trying for YEARS to be able to use dop wax when faceting. I use the green wax when I’m cabbing and it works just fine. But I’ve tried both the green wax as well as stick shellac for faceting. My stones constantly pop off. I’ve been using super glue. I find getting the glue off is a pain in the butt. I also don’t like having to wait overnight after I transfer for the pavilion cuts.
Does anyone have any tips on how I can get reliable functionality using wax? If it matters, I use brass dop sticks and my machine is a Facetron.
Thanks in advance!July 20, 2019 at 4:22 am #5516
Green wax is for cabbing and has a lower melt temperature, use a good brown faceting wax like Leeco from Graves or other suppliers. Diamond dop is another good one. Clean your dopstick and stone with alchohol and if your stone isnt heat sensitive warm it up as well. I use an alchohol lamp and dont usually have any issues. When I transfer I put some oil from the side of my nose on my finger and lightly oil the pavillion and stick the stone momentarily into the warm wax and make an impression and then let it cool. Next I clean the stone and impression with alchohol and then super glue stone into that impression. Always ask if unsure. Find a local faceter if you can. I’m in California foothills.July 22, 2019 at 9:08 am #5520
Thank you. I’ll try that. I do have brown stick shellac wax. I’ll buy a different brown wax like the one you recommended.
I’d love to find a local faceter to learn from. Everything I know is self taught. I am certain I have some bad habits. I’m in Virginia. Unfortunately, I am a long haul from California.July 23, 2019 at 11:59 pm #5526
Must be someone near you with this large group, have you sought out local gem clubs that may have a faceter? Feel free to email with any questions. email@example.comAugust 5, 2019 at 7:33 pm #5537
I talked to a club faceter a while back. I ended up ordering the Leeco brown wax. Gonna see how it is when it arrives. I’ve been working this almandine garnet oval with my Graves stick shellac instead of super glue. The stone popped off my dop right after I finished the preform! Not such a big deal, but then it popped off again when I started on my 1200 lap. Dang stone just keeps getting smaller and smaller. I am just going to pause all faceting until this Leeco wax gets here lol.
What do you use to heat your wax? I tried an alcohol lamp, but was met with minimal success. Then I used my silver soldering torch, which seems to get too hot and burns the wax.August 5, 2019 at 8:02 pm #5538
I use an alcohol lamp. Make sure your stone and dop stick are cleaned with denatured alcohol first. I hear up the dopstick till it starts to melt the wax and then melt more wax into the cone or flat and place some around the outside of the dopstick. I then warm the stone ( if not heat sensitive) and keep the wax warm and then place them together. Lots of good videos out there to watch. Email me and I can send you a link to a video that might help. firstname.lastname@example.orgAugust 5, 2019 at 10:10 pm #5539
Virginia Faceters out there? This person has a Facetron but could use a little local assistance.August 21, 2019 at 10:55 pm #5575
I use a Bernzomatic mini torch (butane refillable kind) to melt a generous amount of black dop wax onto a flat dop (I cut the pavillion first). Of course everything needs to be super clean with alcohol. It definitely helps to have a flat spot on the stone to stick to the dop but not entirely neccesary. You can use an old tranfer jig to complete the process – keeping the stone still with a vee or flat dop on the other side, I gently heat the stone and the wax covered dop until the wax really starts to flow. I bring the wax-covered flat dop down onto the stone and then I get more aggressive with heat on the stone itself – hot enough that the wax melts onto the surface. The whole thing feels a lot like soldering gold. You know it’s good when it flows right. Then let it alone to cool.
There are A TON of caveats, and practice with that method will reduce burns, mishaps, and bad bonds somewhat, but a lot can go wrong with this method and you should be aware of the risks. It’s not precise (lower yields), it’s not for sensitive stones, and to get enough wax to support the stone usually means that you need to clean it up with a razor blade and you still end up chopping wax on the girdle facets BUT if you want to start cutting in 10 minutes or less, it can work. Coarse grits at high speeds can knock anything off, so be slow and gentle when beginning a new facet.
Last tip: if a wax to wax transfer ever works, it’s a miracle. I gave up on it years ago. Super glue makes me nervous on the transfer so I always make a wax “cushion” on my cone/vee dop and epoxy over the wax then let the transfer sit overnight. I know guys in the big leagues who would say that getting good with super glue is the only way to go but I’m rarely in a hurry after the transfer so epoxy works great for me.August 21, 2019 at 11:14 pm #5576
oh, and just keep the torch far away and keep it moving to prevent boiling/burning the wax. It’s a lot like retipping diamond prongs with the stone still in place. Heat slowly and keep it moving, then back off slowly and avoild rapid cooling (that’s when they’ll crack on you). Beware: heating stones will change the color on a lot of natural varieties. If there’s a chance of color change, go heat free.
I’ve also found that a small bit of boiling isn’t a dealbreaker; if you get the final bond nice and liquidy on a hot stone, any bubbles float away from the stone.
And please don’t try this on your rare, valuable rough! A lot can go wrong.August 24, 2019 at 3:22 am #5578
Gave up on wax long ago. Loctite 404. must be 404. Expensive but worth every penny…August 28, 2019 at 3:05 am #5580
Thank you all for the recommendations. I tried my butane torch, but found I kept burning the wax. I hadn’t considered super gluing the wax on the transfer. That might be something to try. I’ve been getting better with wax, but sometimes I’m still finding my stone popping off after the transfer.
And yes, cutting wax on the girdle facets has been a constant problem… My attempts to clean the wax with a razor knife have resulted in dislodging my stones.September 4, 2019 at 9:36 pm #5592
I have never used wax, got a lesson from Roger Dyer at a annual Mid-West Faceters Guild but still never attempted. I have been using Zap CA and epoxy, I don’t loose stones. In the transfer I have t let the glue set for a day, otherwise it will come off when removing the dop to cut the crown. I do use a 35 watt soldering iron to remove my glue, burn it off. I have used the iron for soft releases the next day that can take hours until the dop falls off, I use a cloths pin to help heat sink the stone so the heat does not get to my freshly doped pavilion.September 4, 2019 at 10:03 pm #5594
Roger used three different waxes, all different melting temps. He started out with the soft and transferred to the hard. The reason I believe was to get the stone warm enough for a proper transfer. He used rubber gloves, new dops, alcohol lamp and his transfer jig when applying the wax. And he cleaned his stone with denatured alcohol. He cut two beautiful garnets in two days.September 4, 2019 at 10:31 pm #5596
I use black dop wax, like dis: https://kingsleynorth.com/black-facet-wa.html
I usually use an alcohol lamp (good because not only will it not superheat your wax to boiling or burning, but it also won’t superheat your stone). If I can heat the stone, I will. If not, I’ll coat it with shellac. What shellac, you say? The kind you get by dissolving your black wax in denatured alcohol, that’s what! I just keep an old pill bottle next to my faceting station (in my living room lol), and throw any odd bits of wax in there, like post-transfer wax that gets flicked off with your fingernail. I add enough alcohol to dissolve the shellac in the wax. You’ll also have solids at the bottom from any actual “wax” that doesn’t dissolve. If those solids bother you, feel free to filter or decant your shellac solution off the top.
Lately I’ve been playing with using a lapidary dop pot, especially for transfers (I use the hybrid wax + superglue method for transfers). I just stick the dop in the pot with the wax and get a blob on there when everything’s good and warm. Then I make an impression in the wax with the pavilion of the stone, add a drop or two of superglue, press the pavilion back in, and let it sit for a spell. Remember: if you can still smell the superglue, the solvents haven’t evaporated, thus your glue hasn’t cured yet.March 7, 2020 at 4:37 am #6243
The key to using wax is to have your stone at a temp that it will melt wax.I use a potpourri warmer to heat my stone slowly with a small piece of wax on it. When the wax melts its ready. Obviously if the stone is heat sensitive you may rethink this option.
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