Saturday, December 26, 2009

Richard McDermott Miller. Figure Sculpture In Wax and Plaster. Book review.

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Armed with a borders gift card from xmas, thanks Singhs, got this book that I had my eye on. Old book (1971) but is new to me. Great review of basic techniques in sculpting wax and lost wax casting. The book is aimed toward at home hobby sculpting and casting. The biggest highlight for me is the emphasis on material selection and handling. Especially for plaster. High density of quality photos showing each step of the process.
Figure Sculpture in Wax and Plaster $11.96 new on Amazon.

Quickly found a few things that will improve my process.
  • steam burnout of the wax.
  • using nails for blind vents (as shown on right)
  • better process for mixing plaster
Highly recommend this book. As far as i can tell is the best book for beginning to work with wax sculpture and lost wax casting. A good buy for DIY lost wax casters.

The results of my attempts to follow this book


  1. Great to see this book! I have some books in the works on this subject, hope to be completed soon.

    I have found what works great too for direct wax is to rough the shape out in white styrofoam (like packing stytrofoam found in boxes when shipping) not the hard dense carving styrofoam, then paint wax over the piece (every now & then cut a "V" and pull the wax back to see how thick it is, then press back), build wax up to about 1/4" to 3/8" thick, sculpt the wax, then take Acetone and chemically melt out the styrofoam (test the styrofoam first to be sure it's the kind that will dissolve), and you will have a large direct wax with a hollow core ready to do the Shellspen lost-wax ceramic shell method of bronze casting. See our New Direct Wax kits at:

    Keep making great sculpture!

  2. I like the wax on foam plan. I have done some of each lost foam and lost wax casting but never mixed the two. I guess it would be ideal for making larger pieces where you do not want to use so much wax. Then of course you need a way to melt sufficient metal.

    I was looking at your investment product and I was wondering how it is different from simply using plaster as I have been doing.


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