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Wax cut-offs

The following instructions for remelting wax cut-offs are from one of our forum members. If you would like to see alternative ideas and methods for reusing wax cut-offs, check out the full post on our forum for members. Membership is free!

If anyone wants to try this, here are some observations. I know some are obvious but it may help if you do this in a rush at the end of a full day.

  • Wax: Kemdent Anutex dental modelling wax (about 250g of fairly clean off-cuts, any plaster remnants were scraped off)

  • Tray: with a 16cm x 25cm tray I got 3 trays worth of new wax strips with about 2mm thickness. Make sure your lab tray is smooth and the surface is levelled.

  • Lining: you could re-use the paper that separates the wax strips in the box to line your lab tray or baking paper. Although, baking paper may crinkle when wax gets poured onto it, and you lose the straight surface needed to make detailed moulds (you can still use the other side though but it can be greasy). So, I tried one batch without any lining and even if removal was a little trickier, it worked well with my tray once the wax hardened fully. I may try this on a matt silicone sheet next time for a less glossy wax strip.

  • Melting: took a while but works in both, water bath (about 15-20 minutes over simmering water) and microwave (about 15-20 minutes at 600W)

  • Pouring: the wax can be sieved if needed but I skipped that as my wax pieces were fine (and the wax would not be in direct contact with the object anyway in our case). That way loss of wax was avoided, plus no need to clean too much equipment afterwards.

  • Curing: The wax hardened really quickly, within about 15min it kept its shape but I let it cool completely before removing it from the moulds. Like the new sheets, they keep their shape really well and soften after gentle heating with a hairdryer, and there is no funny oil film or anything going on (as of yet)

Source: Julia Wagner 

Do you have any questions about this tip or would like to share your experience and adapted version of it? Please let us know in the comments below.

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Sustainability in Conservation is an online network providing resources and information about environmentally responsible practices  in art conservation and related fields. Within a practice that produces so much waste, we hope to inspire collaboration and awareness to make cultural heritage a more sustainable profession. 

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