Re: Silicone bronze casting and chasing safety.


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Posted by bruce paul fink on November 22, 1999 at 21:04:36:

In Reply to: Re: Silicone bronze casting and chasing safety. posted by Mark Parmenter on November 22, 1999 at 20:46:38:

Mark... that's a scary but very thought provoking post about wax and fire. Glad you got through that.

For added safety I always fill a cow trough with water outside the studio to jump into if needed.

Sounds absurd maybe,

have Never needed it,

intend to keep doing it just as a redundant habit.

In addition I have a couple of buckets filled with dry to damp sand to throw on something.

Same habit, and have never thrown it.

It is kind of like my auto insurance in which I have never had a real accident but estimate having driven nearly a million miles. Still stay cautious though and to some I'm "a good driver"...

to others "a driver with a lot of luck"...

and to the insurance company philosophy "an accident overdue and ready to happen".

As far as wax melting, one of the safest pots I have found is the old electric "Crock Pot" that was made for cooking beans over the period of the whole day. Slow to heat up but very safe and thermostatically controlled. Has such a low wattage element

that it can not get the wax overly hot. Bet you never heard of a bean reaching it's flash point? I mean in other than the college dormitory?

One of my most used favorites is the old electric Roasting Ovens than have a separate water reservoir beneath in the main heating pan, a double boiler as such, a second roaster pan has the wax. For extended times I use old antifreeze in the lower pot instead of water as that will leave off a smell if it gets too low from evaporation. A good warning system. These are still available for approx. $85.00 but I find them for approx. $4.00 at the Salvation Army store. (Really, got 3 on the shelf waiting for the other one to give in right now.) These will also maintain a level of both solid and liquid waxes in the same pot.

But my most used is the much feared gas fired OR electric element beneath a large stainless steel commercial cooking bucket. The kind used for Kup-A-Kitsun-Undone or 'soup for lunch' barracks style. It holds about 130 lb.. of wax and the burner is about 28 inches below the surface. A light is attached to the line so you always know when the thing is turned on. No overheating allowed.

Some of these come with a second jacket lining of water (or where originally used with steam heat as the heat source)

and are available at restaurant surplus outlets.

If you are not familiar with these you are missing the best commercial yard sale of goods around. Check the Yellow Pages.

Restaurants go under all the time and their used or outdated properties end up there and can be in absolutely great condition for cheapo resale.

And the best is to use 2 to 3 pots at a time, all with different temperatures, so you have the full range of wax working types and consistencies to choose from as the piece progresses.

PLEASE do note here that I am referring to melting waxes in a quantity that is fairly large to some standards. Seldom have less than 50 lb. in a container (unless it is the Crock Pot that only holds about 10). Smaller quantities can reach a flash point very

fast and the danger lurks high there.

Good luck.

PS. I also hang several bristle paint brushes into the wax pots from side wire frame hangers. If the wax ever gets too hot it will let you know by the bristles dissolving.

Then you are really playing it too close.


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