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Intermediate Reduction

Intermediate Reduction.  An intermediate step between model and die, necessary when the ratio or reduction from the model or pattern to the required size die is greater than the capacity of the engraving machine. The intermediate reduction is often cut in beeswax or paraffin (called a wax reduction); from the wax a plaster cast is made, and from the plaster cast an acceptable size dieshell is made, and then the correct size die is cut. This allows touchup to take place in the plaster (or even the wax). The Royal Canadian Mint cuts intermediate reductions in brass, so it can place this immediately back on the die-engraving machine to cut the proper size die or hub.

The limit of most diecutting machines is ten-to-one; thus a 12-inch model could not be reduced to cut a one-inch die. However, a three-to-one reduction would produce a 4-inch intermediate reduction in wax from the 12-inch pattern, and of course, this could easily produce the one-inch die. This does not take into consideration the artistic perspective of such a reduction; such an extreme reduction might not produce a satisfactory design; height of relief is also of concern and any necessary touchup is done in the wax or plaster stage before the final dieshell is made.


CH54 {1983} Haxby, p 11-12.

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


Roger W. Burdette, Editor

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