Volume 50, Issue 6 (November 2005)
An Ideal Material for the Preparation of Known Toolmark Test Impressions
Traditionally, toolmark test exemplars are produced by applying a tool's working surface to a piece of soft metal such as lead. Soft, pliable metals are primarily used for this purpose because they will replicate the microscopic grooves present on a tool's working surface without damaging the tool. In this paper the authors present an alternative material for the preparation of test toolmarks. Jewelry modeling or carving waxes are utilized in this study. These waxes are designed for the jewelry modeling industry to create very fine, highly detailed wax models of jewelry pieces that will be cast in various metals utilizing the lost wax casting method. Jeweler's waxes have been found to be ideal for preparing test toolmarks from exemplar tools. The test tool's working surface is applied to a piece of the appropriate wax in a manner consistent with the tool's design. The replicas obtained are exact, highly detailed, 1:1, negative impressions of the exemplar tools working surface, have a long shelf-life, and are suitable for use in toolmark examination and comparison cases.