Peter McBride        Antique and Old Tools 

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Engraving tools and how they are used.

click on the images for a larger picture

This gold and amethyst brooch I made is about 62mm across. ( 2 1/2 inch)

brooch.jpg (75548 bytes)


Draw or print the design onto paper, then use 5 minute epoxy to stick it to the metal. Drill the holes and use a jewellers saw to pierce out the design. To get the over and under effect mark our the work with red, blue and black permanent markers. Black for outline, red lines under, blue lines over is my code so I don't get lost. (cut away the red)

Gravers are sharpened like for wood, but at about 35 - 45 deg. depending on the metal.

For silver about 35 deg. Use a "V" shape tilted on its side to follow the line, then with a flat graver take many shallow cuts into that line, making it appear to go under.

Don't use brass to practice on, it is too hard and brittle. Start with fully annealed copper, you will be surprised how easily it is cut.


eng_1.jpg (188365 bytes) These are the engraving, and diamond setting tools on my bench. There are a variety of handle lengths so that as the tool is shortened by sharpening it is transferred to a longer handle.
eng_2.jpg (114425 bytes) A scrap of silver stuck to a stick with shellac. 

I put the flakes in a tobacco tin and with a soft bushy flame melt / soften them, dipping an 6 - 7 inch dowel say 1 - 1 1/4" diam into it to coat the end. Try not to burn it then warm the plate and place it on with tweezers, warm it more and it will stick when cool.

Locate the top of the shellac stick in a "V" peg screwed to a bench top. The key is to be able to twist the work and the push the graver at the same time. The "V" notch works well.

Warm it with the torch to get it off...heat and lift...then soak in warm metho to remove the residue of the shellac.

Note the length the tool projects from the thumb.

eng_3.jpg (115714 bytes) Cutting using a graver with the work pushed up hard against the work peg on the bench.
eng_4.jpg (135991 bytes)
eng_5.jpg (89170 bytes) More views of the grip used.

These three pictures show how the graver is held.


eng_6.jpg (97698 bytes)
eng_7.jpg (91439 bytes)
engravers ball vice.JPG (187479 bytes) The engravers ball and some gravers.
engravingtoolsb.jpg (182042 bytes) The engravers ball with the fixtures for the vice, and a home made ring clamp on a ball.


engravingtoolsc.jpg (125308 bytes) A piece of gold clamped in the vice.

Copyright Peter McBride 2004