Tuesday, July 16, 2013
During the week, I've also been busy carving crayons. Above is a picture of my work station, a big piece of butcher paper on the ground. Unfortunately, my desk is too cluttered to work on. I mainly use three instruments. One is a paintbrush to brush wax shavings off of the crayon and my fingers. The other two are dental instruments for carving the wax.
I mainly use the one with the blade like tip. Each end is offset by 90 degrees. I use it to shave off large areas of wax with the heel of the blade. Or I can use it softly to round off edges or smooth areas. I can also do more fine work by using just the tip. The other instrument I use for gouging out troughs and indentations that will have a rounded bottom. Also sometimes it can reach areas better than the first instrument. For anyone curious, in dentistry these instruments are used for filling cavities. For example after drilling out the cavity, you would put in an excess amount of silver filling material and then use instruments like these to carve the filling and restore the natural tooth shape. So while carving a crayon is tough, it's easier than carving a filling in someone else's mouth.
While I've been working, I've actually broken two crayons so far. They were in areas where the carving was narrow. I also think holding the crayons in my hands for so long warms up the wax and makes it more liable to break. Despite that, I was able to fix them. I said I carved wax teeth in dental school so I have some extra tools at my disposal. For the crayons, I'm carving away wax from a big bulk. For the teeth, I built up the wax instead and then carved it down. I have an electronic device with a heated tip that can melt wax away or pick up drops of wax to apply onto whatever I'm working on. So I can theoretically fix any mistakes I make as long as I have an outside source of wax. For most of the crayons, I cut off the tips and saved them just in case. The downside is that the wax I apply is not as strong as the original wax and could break off. I have to melt a large area of the carving to make sure the new wax mixes well with the old. To fix the breakages, I melted a hole into the center of the crayon at the break and then placed a small section of a paperclip into that. Once cooled, I melted another hole into the other piece of crayon and placed that onto the clip. Once I had the two pieces aligned correctly, I melted all the wax around the fracture and applied more wax. Like a candle, some of the wax burns away so more wax is always necessary. It seemed to do the job. You can't see the break and the paperclip should ensure it doesn't break there in the future.