Something folks who don’t work with metal clay often ask is, “Why not just cast it?” They ask this is genuine puzzlement. This was part of the sentiment expressed on Orchid recently in thread on BronzClay that I posted about in the Why BronzClay? just a little below this one.

So let’s talk about Why not wax? Why not cast it? Here are some pros and cons of lost wax casting vs. working with metal clay.

Lost Wax Casting


  • can easily make many copies of one original, in any metal
  • wax is very inexpensive, costs less than metal clay


  • wax carving seems to have a longer learning curve than metal clay
  • lost wax casting is a very technical skill that may not appeal to every artist
  • investment plaster contains silica, a health risk
  • equipment is expensive

Metal Clay


  • shorter learning curve than metalsmithing or wax work
  • uses simple, affordable tools
  • can be worked in a number of ways — as fresh clay, leather hard, after firing
  • is simple to fire, no investment needed


  • requires a kiln, the most expensive tool needed
  • is more expensive than wax
  • each original takes just as long to make as the last, not really a production method
  • is so fun and addictive that you’ll need to keep buying it  ;  )

What do you think?

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