Big Pine, CA Mountains  


A Photo Tour of the Jewelry Making Process



The Lost Wax Casting Method

 
 





Lost Wax Casting Method Overview


1)  Make wax model.

2) Pour plaster over model.

3)  Plaster hardens.

4) Put plaster into kiln to burn out wax, leaving an impression.

5)  Metal is heated to a liquid.

6)  Liquid metal is shot into impression left by wax via a centrifuge.

7) Finishing.




Sandy Sanderson's Jewelry Bench

 

A look at Sandy's jewelry bench and some of his tools.

 
   

1) Nearly all of Sandy's jewelry is made using the Lost Wax Casting Process.

 

After designing your jewelry, Sandy makes a model out of wax. 

 

Here, he's attaching two ring waxes to the "sprue base" which is made of a durable rubber.

Sandy wax rings  
      

2) The metal flask fits into the sprue base and plaster will be poured over the waxes.

Lost Wax Casting  
        

3)  Order of operations is important .  As this process moves on, it becomes more time sensitive, so he weighs the metals at this point, so they're ready when needed.

Weighing metal  
       

4)  Pouring the plaster into the flask...

Sandy Sanderson Plaster  
 

5)  The air bubbles created during the plaster mixing must be released or
they'll leave pockets that the metal may flow into.  Not good...

Jewelry Vacuum    
     

6)  So now, the plaster sits in the flask for about an hour and hardens. 

(Sandy's bud John Adams drew the gnome.)

Jewelry Glossing Off  
             

7)  When the plaster has hardened,  the flask is put into the kiln, upside down first, so that the wax will melt out.   They're taken up to different temperatures, and for different amounts of time depending on the metals. 

14kt yellow gold as an example:  Over a 4-8 hour period, the kiln is taken up to 1300 F, then cooled to 800 F.

 

Sandy also puts crucibles, small containers the metal is melted in, into the kiln so that they'll be sufficiently hot to allow easy metal melting.  The jewelry flasks are in the back of the kiln.

Jewelry Kiln  
   

8)  The crucible holds the metal and is being liquified by the torch. 

As you can see, the crucible sits tightly against the flask which holds the negative impression made by the burned out wax models.

The centrifuge arm has been wound tightly, and when the metal is completely liquified, Sandy will pull a pin that releases this arm. 

The whole arm will spin quickly - about 40 revolutions - forcing the liquid metal into the flask.

The whole house shakes during this step!

 


Jewelry Centrifuge
 
           

9)  The whole flask, containing the plaster and metal jewelry items is then quenched in a bucket of cold water.

 

This also rumbles the whole house!

Jewelry Casting Finished      

10)  Now Sandy brushes off the plaster that still clings to the metal.

This will begin  one of the most time consuming steps of the process:  finishing.

You can see here how dull the white gold looks.  It must be sanded and polished to achieve the look and feel of white gold that you're accustomed to seeing.

He also paints in the black background used in many of his pieces after this point and adds extra details with stamps and other jewelry tools.

Cast Jewelry
             

A finished piece.

The additional elements are then welded on or set separately - like the yellow gold full moon and diamond here and Sandy adds more detail to the mountains with hand tools.

 

THE END

 

Custom Half Dome Ring  
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