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elaine clapper

Removing Unwanted Wax Resist

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I am working with Laguna B mix stoneware, bisque firing at cone 04 and glaze firing at cone 5.   I use Columbus Clay wax resist on the bottoms of each piece and often in resist design between layers of glaze. Sometimes I will get wax resist on an unintended area of bisque ware and want to remove it.  I ususally just put that piece back in the kiln with my next bisque firing at cone 04 and the wax burns off.  Any other suggestions to remove the unwanted wax? At what temperature does the wax burn off?  If I had several pieces could I fire them at cone 022?  or even lower? I ask because, (in a brainless moment) I waxed the bottoms of several pieces before signing them with underglaze as a usually do.  

 

 

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Small areas of unintended resist can sometimes be sanded off depending on the piece.  For these pieces could you maybe scratch through the wax and then apply underglaze on the scratches.  This works so nicely when the clay is still moist, I have no idea if it would work once the piece is bone dry.  Maybe rehydrate the entire piece slightly?  Just brainstorming here....

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I have tried a half dozen different methods of removing wax, and the only one that I have ever been satisfied with is burning it off in the kiln. Every other method has left a noticeable spot. Wax will start burning off at around 500F degrees, but I would go up to 800F or more to be sure.

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you can always sign the bottom with a sharpie after the piece is finished and glazed.  if you have a self cleaning oven it goes to about 800 degrees. never tried it, though.

 

this is another advantage, (to me) of single firing.  i can carefully lift off hot wax with a knife edge and lightly sponge the spot if needed.

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I can usualy get the wax off by scraping with the edge of a metal rib, you know the one that come in every beginner kit.  Make sure you scrape deep enough to get all the wax which will mean you are digging some of teh clay body away as well.  I have never burnt it off, but I am sure that is a good route as well, just costs for time and $$.

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Have you tried heating the resist with a hot air gun or a propane torch? I haven't tried it, but it seems it would work. Maybe setting it on top of a hot wood stove?

 

I like the idea of using my self-clean oven, the oven would get clean, too, and how often do I remember to actually do that?

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I have tried using a simple candle lighter, to burn off the resist.  Doesn't really work, and leaves soot behind.

 

Like Neil, the only surefire way I've found is to just refire them in a bisque, or other such low firing.

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I have sanded it and finished buy rubbing with another bisqued piece which embedes the dust with some luck-I have tourced it off but you need to be carefull as you can crack a piece with uneven heating-a hot kiln will burn it off or for 100% sure fire re-bisque.

I have also groud it off on a bench grinder thaen sanded but you can mess your work up.Rubbing Alcohol will also cut most waxes.

Mark

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