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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ink Nouveau #25: J. Herbin Sealing Wax

I made this video introducing J. Herbin Supple Wax a while ago, but I just realized that I never posted it on Ink Nouveau!!! Crazy me....since I made the video, I have also started carrying the J. Herbin Pearlescent waxes, so I included them in the post, too.



J. Herbin started out making sealing wax in France 340 years ago under the rule of Louis XIV. Back then sealing wax was a security measure. Brittle wax was used to seal a letter closed, so that when you received a letter, if the wax was broken you knew someone had tampered with your mail!

These days sealing wax is really just a novelty, and because the modern mail system is harsh on letters, brittle wax rarely will arrive to your recipient in the condition it left you! That's where 'supple wax' comes in. Supple wax is a flexible wax that can practically bend in half without breaking at all. It holds up great in the modern mail system, and is the predominant type of sealing wax used today.

J. Herbin has 10 colors of 'Supple Wax': Silver, Gold, Copper, Midnight Blue, Forrest Green, Ivory, Parme (Lavender), Burgundy, Red, and Pink. They come in a 4-pack and list for $15 a pack. J. Herbin advertises that you get 7 seals per stick, but I've found I get between 20-30 seals, check out my video. I sell the wax seal stick in 4-packs for $14.25, as well as samples (individual sticks) for $4.00 each. The Gold, Silver, and Copper colors have a bit of shine to them, and the other colors are solid. All of the supple wax sticks have great adhesion to paper and take wonderful, crisp impressions from seals.

J. Herbin also has traditional (brittle) wax sticks called Pearlescent waxes. These are 5 colors to the wax line that are super shiny and sparkly. They are not particularly flexible, so will be best off if used for delicately packed or hand-delivered items. They come in a 4-pack identical in size and shape to the supple wax sticks, and list for $17 per pack. I sell these Pearlescent sticks in 4-packs for $16.00, and sampler (individual) sticks for $4.50 each. They come in Red, Orange, Ivory, Green, and Blue.

This is simply continuing my obsession with wax seals.....I started doing them shortly before my first post on wax seals in April. Since then I would estimate I've done around 700 seals, and I love each one the same as the first one I did! They're a blast to do and I hope you enjoy them even half as much as I do.






Link to YouTube for iPhones and full-screen viewing.

5 comments:

  1. Great post. I'm looking forward to ordering some and playing with them. What a great way to individualize your correspondence. I've always loved the notes I get from you. Thanks, Brian.

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  2. Great post. I'm looking forward to ordering some and playing with them. What a great way to individualize your correspondence. I've always loved the notes I get from you. Thanks, Brian.

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  3. Not sure whether you're still looking at the comments for this old post, but our high school has a computer-controlled lathe that I've gotten a chance to play around with, and turning a seal handle on it seems like a good idea. What I am wondering is what size of threaded rod would be required to get this to fit a J. Herbin brass seal? Would such threaded rods be available from a local hardware store?

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  4. That sounds like a fun project! The threaded rod that the J. Herbin seals accept is #10-32. I'm pretty certain you could find this at any hardware store. I'd recommend using stainless steel or brass rod if you can find them, they'll hold up well over time.

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  5. Have your handmade handles every been listed on the website? They're truly beautiful!

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