Custom Christmas Rock Star Buckle!

I've shown this process on my blog before, but the feed back I get from people is always so great, so here I go again. This is how I carve a block of wax into a custom made belt buckle. This particular buckle was given as a Christmas gift to one of the members of a great local band here in Vancouver, BC, The Washboard Union. I started by cutting a slab of wax from a large wax block using a special wax blade on my jewellers saw. Using a cheap file and rasp that I bought years ago at Canadian Tire I then flatten and smooth the slab until I deem it ready for the template. I've re-sized the bands logo on my computer and printed it out to be the exact dimension that I need for the buckle. This to me is by far the hardest step as I'm much better at carving wax or hitting metal with a hammer than I ever will be at using a computer. The very fact that I'm uploading blog posts sometimes boggles my mind! Once I've taped the printed template in place I begin the painstaking process of transferring the image onto the wax, this is done by poking little holes through the image and into the wax using a sharpened scribe. I often have to do this step in a couple sittings due to hand cramping. Once completed, I remove the paper template and begin connecting the dots. The next step involves pulling out a bunch of old dental tools, each one specially modified so that it can reach here, or scrape away wax there, where another one just might not do the job. Again, a few sittings were required to completely remove all the wax from the unwanted negative spaces. If an error occurs I also have an electronic wax pen that can re-add wax where it is needed, allowing me another chance to get it right. I then begin on the finishing details, laying out the back, adding little wax skulls for findings. Modifying them to make a hook to hold the belt. Adding a custom inscription, shaping the edges and adding a border, etc.. etc.. When I'm completely satisfied with my wax it then gets encased in investment material which is sort of like a high tech concrete. It's then put in a kiln, so that all the wax melts away, leaving a perfect void inside the investment in the exact shape of my carving. Using science and the wonders of centrifugal force, molten metal, in this case jewellers bronze is injected into the void. Once cooled, the investment can be broken away revealing our bronze buckle. There is still a great deal of sawing, filing, sanding and polishing that needs to take place before it resembles the buckle shown here in the picture, but this in essence is the process of creating a Custom Christmas Rock Star Buckle!