Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Damar Resin and Heat Guns

I add 1.6 oz of damar resin to 1 lb filtered white beeswax and heat it in the crock pot for my encaustic medium. Since my wax had some crazy funk floating around in it yesterday (I think I grabbed a gesso brush on accident and now gesso bits are in my wax), I decided to mix in fresh beeswax and resin and when I pour it all out and let it cool, the particles of resin and gesso funk will fall to the bottom and I can scrape them off the cooled blocks of wax and remelt. See here for more detailed post. This time I crushed the resin, which initially resembled rock salt. If you don't mortar and pestle your resin it will literally add hours to your melting time. Make sure you are in a well ventilated area and wearing your respirator. The crushed resin is very floaty stuff and you don't want it in your lungs.

I had a friend ask me about heat guns yesterday so I wanted to comment on what I've found to work. I have a Wagner Heat Gun HT1000 Dual Temperature, 750 and 1000 degrees F. This has worked just fine for fusing wax layers and adhering papers. I also have a quilting iron that I use on occasion if I'm having a problem with air bubbles under the paper. I read once that Jasper John used an iron, like a clothes iron, and I've heard folks use blow torches. Maybe the $100+ heat guns sold at art supply stores are totally worth it, I don't know. My $25 version has worked fine.

I have a graphic design job to work on this evening and it'll probably roll into tomorrow, so I may not be able to get back in the studio until tomorrow afternoon. But by then I'll have a ton of clean wax ready and waiting.

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