Gravestone Rubbing Wax
Gravestone rubbing wax is one of the most important pieces of equipment that you will need for the hobby of gravestone rubbing. There are many different kinds of wax available in stores today and understanding the different types, how they can be used and what they are useful for is something that will help you improve your hobby by giving you the best tools for the job. The hobby of gravestone rubbing is heavily dependent on gravestone rubbing wax, considering that it is the main item that will help you get the impression you need.
Without gravestone rubbing wax or understanding how it works, why it is used and so on, it is very difficult to go ahead in the hobby. So here's a look at this unique and exciting part of gravestone rubbing that's all about the wax!
What is Gravestone Rubbing Wax
The first thing to understand here is that gravestone rubbing wax is a normal wax. It can be used to make candles and usually, the contents of the wax are not as important as the effect it has. It is generally available in a cupcake shaped piece while some manufacturers also sell it in the form of big crayons. The crayons of gravestone rubbing wax are obviously much simpler to hold and control although this comes down mainly to personal preference.
The next thing that comes to your mind is the "why". Why should we use gravestone rubbing wax in the form of a candle, or a cupcake, when there are so many other things that we can use. The reasons are many - first and foremost, you need to remember the medium on which you are going to take an impression of the gravestone.
If you are planning to take the impression on paper, then you need something really soft that doesn't tear the paper while rubbing it on. Then, you also need to ensure that the paper doesn't allow the material to soak through and go under it, therefore using something like ink or paint might not be appropriate. Also, if you are using a cloth to get the impression, then you will need to find a way to ensure that the colour is spread evenly on the cloth, thereby creating a stable impression.
Gravestone rubbing wax gives you all of this and more, as long as the variety you pick is free of contamination. You need to ensure that there isn't any problem with regards to the quality of the wax, especially when you are picking a hard or soft variety. You will need to worry about the hardness of the gravestone rubbing wax when you are working on more fragile gravestones. If you are unsure about what you are likely to encounter, then go for the softer variety for a wider range of use.
Making Gravestone Rubbing Wax
Now, the best part about gravestone rubbing wax is that you don't need to go to a store and buy it all the time. You can make some decent wax at home by simply combining a few simple ingredients that are cheaper to buy and more easily available in the market.
The first thing you need to remember is that gravestone rubbing wax is closer to brass or metal polishing wax than it is to candle-wax. However, it still retains many of the properties of candle-making wax, such as the ability to form an opaque layer on an object when coated with it, unlike a metal polishing wax that is transparent.
You start by putting a lot of transparent metal-polishing wax or brass wax into a container. Make a Bain-Marie by placing that container over boiling water such that the bottom of the container is about an inch or so above the water. Start heating the water and let it come to a boil. The steam from the boiling water will melt the wax and make sure that it happens gently, without catching fire.
Then, once all the wax is in liquid format, stir in a colour. You can buy wax colour dyes from any hobby store and depending on the instructions, you can start adding it in by the drop or as per the label. Add it in and start stirring it around to make sure the colour completely settles in. When you have the colour you desire, you can take the container off the heat. Line some containers, in who's shape you want the wax to be, with some butter paper and pour the wax slowly into it, halfway.
After you pour the wax halfway into the final containers, just put a towel on the counter or work bench and slowly tap the bottom of the container on the towel - this will allow the gravestone rubbing wax to settle down and also take out any air pockets that might have formed. Then, fill up the rest of the wax until the top and store away in a cool place. The wax will solidify at room temperature and you are, then, ready to use it as your very own gravestone rubbing wax.