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The Infamous Wax #5


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If you do much mini sculpting or reading about mini sculpting, you've probably come across references to the infamous Wax #5 tool, a wax carver sold in the Uk that a number of the GW sculptors were fond of.

 

I've bought many wax carvers over the years, and there was one that I got from Ars Dental that was by far my favorite of all my purchased tools - it was called a "Zahle 514", and I bought it based on a recommendation from Gene Van Horne. I recently lost this tool, and went to Ars-Dental to order a replacement. Unfortunately, they had removed the tool from their catalog.

 

I have bought a bunch of various wax carvers -- Zahles, Hylins, and Lecrons -- trying to find a suitable replacement for that tool, with absolutely no luck. So, I asked the folks at ars-dental if they knew where I could get one, and within ten minutes (at 10:00 at night!), they had looked up exactly which tool I was looking for based on the description I gave them, had added it back to their online catalog, and scanned a picture from an older printed catalog and e-mailed it to me, all so that I could order the tool and be sure I was getting exactly the one I was looking for.

 

Because I like this tool so much, and because I got such great service from the company, I thought I'd give them a plug. The tool is available here:

 

http://www.ars-dental.com/welcome/wax_carvers2.htm

 

It's the Zahle 514, and I probably do 70-80% of my sculpting with it.

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Can you post that picture they sent you? It doesn't seem like they have updated the photo on the page next to the link. I might like to order some of these. The price is very reasonable!

 

They use different catalog numbers in the printed version than the online version, so here's the translation:

 

786-991 = Zahle 2

786-992 = Zahle 3

786-993 = Zahle 514

 

If you wanted one of the others that are there, just drop a line to [email protected] and they'll tell you where to find it online. In this picture, the spoon end of the Zahles all look the same, but they are not. The 514 has the best spoon end of the three. The Zahle 3 is more like a Hylin blade and it has a very pronounced curve on the spoon end that I don't care for. The Zahle 2 is okay and I can use it in a pinch, but I don't like it as much as the 514.

 

zahleskl8.jpg

 

The Hylin-Le Cron (786-997) looks an awful lot like the tool that Games Workshop is selling. Most Le Crons have a bulb-like spoon, rather than the flat spoon found on the GW tool. If the GW tool can in a version about half the size it does, I'd probably like it, but a standard size Le Cron is just too large to be much good on miniatures.

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I just wanted to thank you for this information. After reading some tutorials and trying to use the absolutely AWFUL GW sculpting tool, I set myself to finding these fabled tools. I have been searching all over, and only through your post was I finally enlightened as to where to get them. Again, I can't thank you enough for this info!

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I have been told that the Tiranti Wax 5 is their Dental Tool SG

 

http://www.tiranti.co.uk/product_picture.a...pic=1149_SG.jpg

 

This one from Widget Supply looked very similar so I bought one and another with a similar design from them.

 

http://www.widgetsupply.com/page/WS/PROD/d...rver/DEMT14-64B

 

They all look alot alike to me and even the Widget tool is of decent quality.

 

Thanks for the link to ars

Edited by thrush65
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Meh. To me sculptors discussing tools instead of the actual sculpting is like scuba divers discussing equipment detail instead of the actual diving experience.

In both cases equipment is certainly a necessary evil but my interest stops at that.

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Meh. To me sculptors discussing tools instead of the actual sculpting is like scuba divers discussing equipment detail instead of the actual diving experience.

In both cases equipment is certainly a necessary evil but my interest stops at that.

 

ill have to agree with bodhi its not the tool its the hands and the imagination. IG88 sculpted with a knife that looks like rambo's giant knife i have no idea how he uses it lol. Don't look too far into tools and tutorials, unwrap some putty mix it up and start pushing it around. I almost think your better off using bad tools to start cause if you gain skill by using those then once you swap over in theory it would be a lot easier.

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As a novice putty-pusher, I respectfully disagree. I mean, really, you wouldn't expect a new painter to make their own brushes or mix their own paints, would you? I've been the long way around, wasting a bunch of time pushing paint with cheap synthetics and sables, reviving thick, old paints, reading tutorials and taking classes, trying to figure out why my painting didn't improve. When I got better tools -- paint and brushes -- I could stop fighting the shortcomings of the tools and focus on the techniques. Big improvement.

 

So, as I knock around with various putties and mixes, I'd rather focus on the shortcomings of my techniques than the tools. Life's too short for crappy tools.

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I appreciate Jeff passing on the info regarding a good company that sells a very sought after sculpting tool. Many sculptors that I know have a Tiranti Wax 5 type tool in their kit but I have never heard anyone claim that it is the endall tool or a replacement for skill and practice. Like a good Kolinsky brush it doesn't do the work for you.

 

My recommendation to painters and would be sculptors is to buy the best equipment they can afford. Using good equipment removes that variable from consideration and allows you to concentrate on technique. Why work at a disadvantage with crappy tools? It often leads to frustration and quiting.

 

Magnifiers are a tool of the trade as well. Why is it okay to ask about them when "it's the hands and the imagination" that count?

 

If I replied negatively to all the topics that do not interest me they would have to create a Super Godlike category. If it doesn't interest you just pass on it and don't waste forum space.

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Hm, that Zahle 514 looks interesting. I mostly pick up a tool because part of it has a shape I don't currently have in my collection. For almost 80% of my work I just use the pick end rather than the spoon, but there's just some things that really require the right shape of tool to accomplish. For a long time I just used a hobby knife and a generic plastic clay-sculpting tool that I now keep around for mixing paint and scraping my pallette. Then I got Matt Gubser's sculpting kit so I'd have some real tools around, but I find myself stilll using the same techniques as before, and thinking of them in terms of : this one simple pick end is my main tool, this spoon is the eyesocket-maker, this one is for scales, the handle of this one has a good pattern on it for giving a chainmail look when I roll it over the putty, etc.... Having a variety of good quality tools around simply means that I tend to have the right tool for the job at hand more often. Sure, I could get the same results with a toothpick, and did for many years, but the professionally made sculpting tools have a sharper point than the toothpick and fit my hand better. Good tools don't impart skill, they allow more efficient use of it. For me, having good tools just means I don't have to stop in the middle of sculpting and go make a tool to accomplish what I want.

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If I replied negatively to all the topics that do not interest me they would have to create a Super Godlike category. If it doesn't interest you just pass on it and don't waste forum space.

 

Awfully sorry if I came out that way.

What I meant was that "waiting for the right tools" can be a hindrance to just get out there and DO it. And it can serve as an excuse not to get started. Really it's just pushing putty around. Most of us push some type of clay around allready in kindergarten. Then for some insane reason over half of us stop. I think waiting for the right tool and the right material and the right tutorial and whatnot is one reason for this. Another crook is COMPARISON. Don't do it. It's YOUR sculpt you're working on. Compare with yourself (even if I try my best to avoid even that by simply throwing or giving old stuff away) not with some sculptor who has twentyfive years experience. Not saying you shouldn't have those as a goal you wish to attain but don't COMPARE yourself with them. Those two are different things.

 

So what I mean is: Sure buy the best tools you can afford but don't use the fact that you only have a toothpick at home as an excuse not to start NOW!

Doesn't have to look good in the beginning. Do A LOT (With whatever you have at hand in materials and tools) and forward is really the only way it will go! (in the beginning, after a while you'll start moving backwards occasionally but that's a later problem and has with the whole "learning curve" thingy to do. All learning occasionally takes you backwards once the learning has advanced a bit. Goes for any subject matter really)

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