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Classifying gravers


#1

Hi,

I finally got around to sorting my gravers. I could easily sort them
by the shape of thier cutting footprint.


But how do I sort them by size?

Art of Engraving was no real help here. They only specified
arbitrary size numbers.

So, I test drove my graver collection which came to me from that
retired jeweler. I attached a piece of thin hobby aluminum to the
bottom of a pizza box. That way, per Leonid’s suggestion, my left
hand could stay shielded by the box wall while my right hand tried to
find a feel I could live with for each engraver.

Getting the angle right probably varies between assorted factors such
as how you hold the graver, whether you are heading north rather than
west, the type of material you are test graving, your own strength,
and of course the graver itself.

So instead of relying on a traditional numbering system for size, I
simply measured the chip being formed with my digital calipers, and
that way I could rely on the metric system instead.

Obviously the former jeweler liked florentines a lot, because he had
a full range in various widths: 1.0, 2.25, 2.5, and 4 millimeter
respectively.

I have ovals in .35,.4,.5, and .6 millmeter. I have a single knife
able to cut.2 millimeter wide. For rounds I had .3 and .4 millimeter.

I had two square gravers, in widths 1.4 and 2.0 millimeter.

And, I have a Florentine graver modified to draw 3 straight paralel
lines!

I guess I need smaller ones if I am going to engrave letters on
rings, though. Some kind soul gave me a range of graver blanks and my
next step will be to figure out how to create them properly.

Andrew Jonathan Fine


#2
So, I test drove my graver collection which came to me from that
retired jeweler. I attached a piece of thin hobby aluminum to the
bottom of a pizza box. That way, per Leonid's suggestion, my left
hand could stay shielded by the box wall while my right hand tried
to find a feel I could live with for each engraver. 

You misunderstood me. Your left hand must be shielded in the
beginning, but it also must be flexible. A good shield can be made by
taking a garden glove and cutting everything off except thumb,
forefinger, and area between. Sew a patch of full grain leather to
between area and you good to go. That arrangement assumes that your
thumbs are always in locked position pressing against each other. If
such, in case of an accident graver can only go to the area
protected by patch.

You only need a shield when you are using engraving ball. For
diamond setting your left hand is bellow the pin, so it is well out
of the way.

About your gravers assortment. Lubricate your florentine gravers and
put them aside. You won’t need them for a while. I would advise to do
the same to the rest of them except one square graver. It is the
best to start with. Polish it, hone it, like your life depends on it.
And only when you get it to such condition start with straight lines;
after couple of weeks add curved lines; and only after cuts are
effortless try some lettering.

Learn to relax while engraving; learn to enjoy the process of
cutting. Under no circumstance you should fight with the graver. If
it does not cut easy, stop and find out why! Properly prepared
graver will cut with ease.

Leonid Surpin
Studioarete.com


#3

Depends on how many gravers of each shape you have.

Why not take a board, say 12in square, drill holes every 2 in, ie 6
across and 6 down.

Have each shape in one row, starting with say the smallest to the
biggest.

Repeat down the board.

Label each graver with its type and size and place in each row.

Easy really,
Job done.

Use a graver, put it back and choose another…

Repeat till all graving is done.


#4

Andrew,

Getting gravers sharpened properly also includes variables as having
them fitted to the length of your hand, the kind of metal you are
cutting, and the “what works best for you” factor. Each engravers
tools are prepared for their own unique combination of factors,
there are basic rules as outlined in “The Art of Engraving”, but
that is only the foundation of the skill set that is used.

Lettering inside rings is very tricky, takes quite a bit of practice
to execute well. It would be easier to use small stamps before the
rings are bent round, and with deep impressions (done against steel
to keep the impression on the outside minimal) and careful clean up,
I think you get better results.

You would need to find someone to help you with learning how to
properly sharpen and use your gravers. Learning on your own is an
endurance test in frustration.

Kindly intended,
Melissa Veres, engraver


#5

Hi Melissa,

Even were I to attempt to learn to engrave by myself (not that there
are any instructors around), I was not intending to engrave on the
inside of the ring.

I had thought either to do it around the rim, or along one of the
sides.

The most basic Hebrew cursive script is actually based on just a few
simple strokes. I quickly determined that even my smallest gravers
were too large for such delicate work.

Today, I decided to convert some old miniature files into line and
curve punches. I’m getting a lot better results that way.

The bride and groom for whom I am making their rings (.999 fine
silver) are fully aware that I am only an amateur. They don’t really
care just how far the quality of what I make is from a professional
or chain jeweler, because they cannot afford anything else but me. I’m
doing this for free in exchange for them being my test subjects for
all of the processes I am engaging in, so I can build confidence.

These rings are not meant to be worn daily. At most, only to church.
They have titanium bands they had purchased for ordinary, daily use,
and they had a private family wedding a few months ago. these rings
are for the public one.

Sometimes, necessity can be a real mother.

Andrew Jonathan Fine


#6

I second that learning on your own is an endurance test in
frustration and I would add time waster.

Best to find someone who can show you the ropes.

Rebekah


#7

Hi,

I live in Northern Idaho. Is there anyone in Spokane or Missoula
willing to tutor me in graving for a few hours? Maybe other things
off too?

Thanks,
Andrew Jonathan Fine


#8
I live in Northern Idaho. Is there anyone in Spokane or Missoula
willing to tutor me in graving for a few hours? 

Sounds like to me Andrew, that what you really need at this point is
to watch over somebody’s shoulder while they engrave. Look for hand
engraving videos on YouTube. There’s a bunch of 'em. Some are good,
some are not.

You’ll be able to see the difference. In either case, many of your
questions will be answered right before your eyes.

Dave Phelps


#9

Hi Alberic, Leonid:

I’ve been reading your replies. I am attaching a diagram I have draw
which describes my current understanding of the parts of the graver.

I drew it using Paint and stored it as a JPEG to attach to this note.
One could also simply write on a sheet of paper and use a document
scanner to scan it as a JPEG to attach to a reply.

I need to know if I am correct, or if not, where I need to change it,
so I can better understand what I am supposed to do. I know I need to
understand my terms correctly before I can discuss matters further.

Thanks,
Andrew Jonathan Fine


#10

Hi Andrew,

What you label the face is what most people would assume you meant
by face. Your “rake” is what most people would call the heel.

The only reason I called the front face the rake was because I had a
memory that you were working from James Meek’s “The Art of
Engraving”. That’s what he called it, so I was sticking with what I
thought you were looking at. For jewelers, he’s wrong. Stick with
what you’ve got on your drawing.

Regards,
Brian Meek


#11
I need to know if I am correct, or if not, where I need to change
it 

Your diagram is fine. Make face angle 45 degrees and heel angle 7
degrees.

That is for flat items. Check graver sharpness on your thumb nail.
Graver must stick at the lightest touch. Keep in mind that we are
talking about lettering graver.

Other gravers have different requirements. For stone setting
gravers, heel angle is very much unusual, except in some pave setting
situations.

Face angle is adjusted to accommodate different metals and/or point
durability issues. If point breaks often it could mean face angle to
shallow, or graver is not correctly tempered, or too much force is
used, or any combination of the above.

Control issues like graver digs or slips are addressed via heel
angle. To appreciate complexity involve in troubleshooting consider
the following:

Common beginner mistake is over-polishing and thereby dulling graver
point.

While all other factors can be perfect, dull point would require
more force and that in turn will cause point breakage. Changing
sharpening angles would only lead to more problems.

What is required is to be very precise in graver handling and in
every case of trouble to understand the root cause of it. Some call
it frustrating. I call it “developing appreciation for the intricacy
of cutting”.

Leonid Surpin
Studioarete.com


#12
I called the front face the rake was because I had a memory that
you were working from James Meek's 

There’s something else about your picture that I thought others
might mention, Andrew. You drew your graver with the top edge ground
down into the point, which is proper. The thing is, in your drawing
you have an arc that goes down and then comes back up, leaving a
kind of bulbous tip. You want that line to go right ondown towards
the tip. My freshly ground flat gravers have a face that’slike 2mm
high by the width of the tool. It keeps grinding to a minimum when
sharpening and also a LOT easier to keep it truly flat. I could be
that it’s just your drawing skills, but it should be said.


#13

Now that I understand the basic terms:

Is the tip, to be sharpened and subject to breakage, at the
intersection of the face and the heel, the front intersection? Or is
the critically sharp area supposed to be the intersection between the
heel and the bottom of the graver?

Thanks,
Andrew Jonathan Fine


#14
Is the tip, to be sharpened and subject to breakage, at the
intersection of the face and the heel, the front intersection? Or
is the critically sharp area supposed to be the intersection
between the heel and the bottom of the graver? 

Proper name for bottom of graver is belly. While heel shape, length,
and transition into belly are all very important, critical if you
will; it is premature to discuss it at this stage. By the same token,
graver face configuration, point (a vertex defined by face and two
planes of the heel), and cutting edges (edge formed by face and
heel), - all is very important and can have different configuration,
discussion of which is again premature. It does no good to venture
into technical jungle of graver cutting at this point.

Start with vanilla parameters of 45 degrees face and 7 degrees heel.
Everything must be perfectly flat and polished, with cutting edge and
point retaining maximum sharpness. Heel should be 2mm long
approximately. Since the first exercise is cutting straight lines,
length of heel is not critical. That is all.

It is important to keep things simple at the beginning. There are a
lot of refinements and variations in cutting configuration of
graver’s planes. At this point, they should not exist. In term of
mathematics, you are learning multiplication table. Any discussion of
Calculus would be counter-productive.

Leonid Surpin
Studioarete.com


#15

Hi Andrew,

The sharp end is the intersection of the face and the heel (if there
is one–there isn’t always.). The angle between the heel (if
present) and the lower face of the graver is always very obtuse, so
sharpness isn’t an issue there.

Typically you’ll loose the points on skinny gravers like knife or
ongilette (point), or lozenge gravers. Big wide chisels like flat
gravers, or round (half round really) gravers are better supported,
so they don’t break as easily. But you can break anything if you
work at it hard enough.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Brian


#16

Hi Andrew, you are a hero. Why?

You have shown why Orchid is so brilliant.

You post a newbie question and get master craftsmen and craftswomen
posting answers.

AND YOU DO THE HARD YARDS, TO USE A SPORT ANALOGY.

How fortunate are we that the likes of Leonid and Alberic and all
the rest take the time to further the craft.

Sounds like you live in the sticks, as we say in Oz, yet you can
learn from Orchid.

I doubt you realise that your progress is encouraging for all of us.

Jewellery making is a never ending road of satisfaction and
frustration, enjoy your journey and NEVER be satisfied with the last
piece you made. You will always then strive to be better.

I said to my teacher, "So jewellers are are like the Daoist master
calligrapher who says

’ One day I will get it right.’ "

“YES” HE SAID. “NOW TAKE THAT PIECE APART AND MAKE IT PROPERLY.”

IMHO Orchid is responsible for making higher quality jewellery by
more people than ever before.

Thanx be to Orchid, I learn from ever post.

Richard
Xtines Jewels