Ramblin' Dan's Workshop

The Sanctum of Fine Art and Invention

Tiny Paws

My (adult) daughter told me that she thought a small pendant of a dog paw print would attract interest with her dog and cat pet owner friends. She really wanted one for herself too. She told me it shouldn't be too large as she preferred jewelery that wasn't to auspicious.

I exchanged a few drawings with her. She like the ones whee the outline or border was the shape of the print. I took on the challenge of keeping it small.

I think I kinda overdid the small factor, but what turned out was interesting. It also helped me develope a few techniques I haven't used, multi item tree and very small carvings. The result is a small charm rather than a pendant. I am going to attach a number of them to a necklace chain as a complete necklace. In my daughter's case, two dog and two cat prints representing the four animals in her care. That leaves 20 more "paws" for other application or future necklaces.

There are the smallest successful lost wax castings I have made to date. 

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This is what I designed in Aspire 3D CAD, The left paw print is a dog. The pad shape and toenails are anatomically correct. So is the cat print as the cat retracts its claws and pads are different.  This is the carving wax I use. It was cut with a Taig micro CNC mill using a milling bit that is 0.005" in diameter at the tip. Much smaller than I could ever carve by hand, and repeat this many times.
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The green "leaves" are the charms. My smaller flasks require I build the tree in this fashion. Mixing the colors and different kinds of wax are no problem for LWC The tree is in the flask which is then filled with plaster-like investment material. It flows like pancake batter. It sets up hard in a few hours then is fired in a kiln up 1350 degrees. The wax is totally vaporized and "lost". Kiln time is about 12 hours.
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This is solid silver, created by pouring molten silver into the space left from the wax master. It's almost black when released from the mold, this is after an acid "pickle" bath. I almost didn't melt enough silver for this cast, but it was a perfect casting. The charms have been cleaned and are ready for use. There is a little more work in making all of these as in making a larger piece.The casting was so good only the sprue clean-up and polishing was required.
My daughter has two dogs and two cats. Left to right it is DCDC  

This was a fun project and I will not hesitate to work this small again if I have the need. Pushing new skills are what makes this so fun and interesting.

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