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Questions about using wax resist


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#1 Puzzlebox Art Studio

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 04:32 AM

Sorry to ask another wax question, I see another from just a few days ago but decided it didn't match quite enough to tag on.

1) I manage a small art studio in small-town Thailand where we also make batik. The wax we use for batik has varying proportions of paraffin mixed in. Could we use this for wax resist on bisqueware, rather than making a separate wax resist? I saw one "recipe" online for a homemade wax resist that was basically just paraffin and turpentine melted together. Is there any reason for this, rather than just straight beeswax or beeswax + paraffin? Is turpentine necessary? The wax seems thin enough when melted. Oh, and for batik we use it when smoking-hot melted, but I got the impression that this is bad for bisqueware. Why?

2) If only some pieces in the kiln are using wax resist and others are not, is there any unintended side effect? Like, I dunno, smoke damage or other "deposits" on the non-waxed pieces? I think we count as medium to medium-high fire here. Not reduction. We normally do detailed underglaze painting on the bisqueware and fire at 1150 C, then add clear glaze, fire 3rd time at 1240 C. Maybe there is no such thing as damage from the wax burning off other pieces, I just have no idea and want to protect the super-detailed painting on the other pieces.

3) When I have used wax resist myself in the past at other studios, I just painted it on and left it as that. This was with reduction fire, though. Today I saw a few references online to scraping wax off before firing (bisque, not green). When I tried to modify my Google search to purposefully find more results about scraping off the wax, I couldn't. So...um, is that just crazy and unnecessary? It seems nearly impossible to scrape off a wax layer without taking off the glaze layer underneath. But it made me wonder about reasons for removing most of the wax.

#2 Benzine

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 08:12 AM

Sorry to ask another wax question, I see another from just a few days ago but decided it didn't match quite enough to tag on.

1) I manage a small art studio in small-town Thailand where we also make batik. The wax we use for batik has varying proportions of paraffin mixed in. Could we use this for wax resist on bisqueware, rather than making a separate wax resist? I saw one "recipe" online for a homemade wax resist that was basically just paraffin and turpentine melted together. Is there any reason for this, rather than just straight beeswax or beeswax + paraffin? Is turpentine necessary? The wax seems thin enough when melted. Oh, and for batik we use it when smoking-hot melted, but I got the impression that this is bad for bisqueware. Why?

2) If only some pieces in the kiln are using wax resist and others are not, is there any unintended side effect? Like, I dunno, smoke damage or other "deposits" on the non-waxed pieces? I think we count as medium to medium-high fire here. Not reduction. We normally do detailed underglaze painting on the bisqueware and fire at 1150 C, then add clear glaze, fire 3rd time at 1240 C. Maybe there is no such thing as damage from the wax burning off other pieces, I just have no idea and want to protect the super-detailed painting on the other pieces.

3) When I have used wax resist myself in the past at other studios, I just painted it on and left it as that. This was with reduction fire, though. Today I saw a few references online to scraping wax off before firing (bisque, not green). When I tried to modify my Google search to purposefully find more results about scraping off the wax, I couldn't. So...um, is that just crazy and unnecessary? It seems nearly impossible to scrape off a wax layer without taking off the glaze layer underneath. But it made me wonder about reasons for removing most of the wax.


I'm guessing, you are referring to the topic I started? You could have asked in that thread, as your question is in the same vein of questioning. No one is too strict on here, about staying on the EXACT topic subject matter, as long as you don't go on a completely unrelated tangent.....Like I've been known to do....


Anyway, on to your questions:

1. I don't see why you couldn't just use the same wax. When my Father did ceramics in college, they had to melt their wax before use, as opposed to the always liquid brush on wax, many use now. So basically, what my Father did, would be what you would be doing. In terms of what kind of wax you use, I really don't think it matters. I've heard of ceramicists using all types of things, not just wax, for resist. I've only used wax and latex, the latter is supposed to be peeled off before firing....I'm not sure what would happen if you didn't do that.

2.&3. I fire pieces with wax, with un-waxed pieces, all the time, in an electric kiln. The wax starts to burn off, fairly early in the firing, so the "smoke" doesn't even have a chance to effect the glaze, as it's maturing. So there is no reason, to scrape off the glaze. As I mentioned above, latex resist is the only one, that I've see, where you have to remove it prior to firing.

In addition, depending on the size of your work, I'm thinking small, based on your other post regarding pendants, you could always try paper resists. It's cheap, and easy. But for small details, it wouldn't be ideal.
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#3 Iforgot

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 08:15 AM

The turpentine is not necessary. Beeswax, paraffin, beeswax + paraffin it all works. wax in the kiln will not cause adverse effects on non- waxed pots. The reason for this is that wax completely burns out at around 800 degrees, before the glaze begins to develop at all. However, too much wax resist fired in an electric kiln is very bad for the kiln, but unless you are dipping and filling every pot with wax resist you don't have to worry about anything. Also, you do not need to scrape the wax off.



Good Luck!

Darrel
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#4 Benzine

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 08:54 AM

The turpentine is not necessary. Beeswax, paraffin, beeswax + paraffin it all works. wax in the kiln will not cause adverse effects on non- waxed pots. The reason for this is that wax completely burns out at around 800 degrees, before the glaze begins to develop at all. However, too much wax resist fired in an electric kiln is very bad for the kiln, but unless you are dipping and filling every pot with wax resist you don't have to worry about anything. Also, you do not need to scrape the wax off.



Good Luck!

Darrel


Isn't there some debate, over whether or not, the burnt off wax, effects the elements at all?
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#5 neilestrick

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 10:55 AM

Isn't there some debate, over whether or not, the burnt off wax, effects the elements at all?


Only if you want to start that debate.Posted Image

Anything burning out in the kiln will affect the element life. But wax doesn't create enough carbon to matter.
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#6 Puzzlebox Art Studio

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:03 PM

Thanks, really appreciated! It was my first visit to this forum so it was a little hard to tell whether not people care how close the replies hew to the topic.

As for the size of the pieces, it's for functional wares, not for the pendants. But they'd be fired WITH the pendants, which have painstaking paintings on them so I just wanted to be safe. Doing the first test run tomorrow on a few plates & bowls, alongside some of the most detailed pendants we've produced yet and I just don't want screw them up. Feeling reassured now!

#7 oldlady

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 01:07 PM

the "danger" in using wax is to the potter, not the pots. the smell is a fume and should not be breathed in. i use hot wax all the time on the bottoms of flat pieces and do not do it inside the building. i do it outside near a window with a fan blowing out and over the electric pan of wax. melting it at 325 and taking the temp down to use it. the wax is usually old candles from thrift shops. people half melt a candle and then give it away at thrift shops. i have an arrangement with one to save the ugly and damaged candles for me. i pay $1 a box for them.

since you use hot wax for your batik, i would imagine you can do fabulous work on pottery.
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#8 Puzzlebox Art Studio

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 11:02 PM

Thanks for the info, good to know it's just the fumes that are the issue. We work entirely outdoors so I had never really noticed the fumes before. Hoping to get some tests done today.

#9 Puzzlebox Art Studio

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 11:41 PM

Trying it now, not great results. Although the wax seems thin, it's just because it's so hot. Turpentine helped. But it seems our glazes--rarely used, since we use underglaze and clear glaze the most--are just too thick for multiple dippings. Do most of you mix thinner glazes just for the purpose of using for wax resist designs? Many that I saw online seemed to have been dipped 3 to 4 times.

#10 missholly

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 08:16 PM

ive used crayons before. its not a solid line, but weird little scribbles come out kinda neet!
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