Clay, Application to Refinement


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The wire tool in its various shapes and sizes is extremely useful when intricate detailing is involved. As the name suggests, the tool is made from wire therefore minimal pressure is used to remove clay from the model.


Its primary use is on interior clay models where blending of radii or refinement of delicate form is needed.


Selection of wire tools used in automotive sculpting.

Exploded view of wire tool loops and wooden body with brass ferrules.

The illustration to the left is an exploded view of the various components that make up a typical wire tool.


1. The body, which is normally turned out of wood.


2. The ferrule, this caps the end of the body. It prevents the wood from splitting out if excess pressure is applied.


3. The wire, this makes up the various shapes.

Various shapes for wire tool loops.

As the illustration shows the wires can be bent to various angles, be it with a radius or a sharp intersection.


The wire thickness for the size of the wires shown should be 0.060", 1/16" or 1 1/2mm in diameter. This will provide sufficient strength when shaping the clay.

When making the smaller wires, wire thickness should be reduce to accommodate the tight bends. The wire thickness would be 0.040", 3/64" or 1.0mm in diameter.

Clay wire tool loops.

Various shapes for wire tool loops.

As you can see from the illustration left, the wire thickness goes up in size as the wires get larger.


Wire size should be 0.080", 5/64 or 2.0mm in diameter.


The type of wire used is a piano or music wire which is available from any hobby store that deals in model aircraft.


Most of the supplies for making the wire tools are available there, such as, music wire, 5 minute epoxy and brass tube for making the ferrules. Only the wood for making the body is missing and that is available from any Home Depot or D.I.Y. center.

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