Engraving problem

Hi all

I’ve been practicing and having good results learning from books how
to engrave on small plates and rings, Basically scroll design and
decoration like bright cut andI have two questions. One is related
to the difficulty of using a straight graver on a large surface
area( too parallel)specially when I use an onglette graver which
belly cannot be modifiedby grinding as a flat or square graverto
lift the angle of cut and avoid the holding pins of the engraving
block which sometimes interfere with the cutting course of the
graver on the plate or object to be engraved, I know I can use a
flat graver and grind the belly and obtain a good angle of cutto
solve this problem butI have found the Onglette graververy
comfortable to usewhen engraving fine lines. I was wondering if you
master engravers out there have a good recommendation for this
problem, perhaps the use of the perfect secret graver like a
modified squaregraver bent by heat and retempered or could an
onglette be heat bent to avoid being to parallelto the plate when

Second question. I’ve just spoiled my diamond flywheel, It doesn’t
cut no more and I don’t want to have it resharpened . Is there any
way to imitate the cuts of the diamond flywheel with some kind of
graver? Any advice will be appreciated.


Hello , You can fake diamond cut by using a bur 45 , 70 or 90
degree depending on the look you want . Lower the bur to your
surface making a stationary cut , dress the cut with a shaped
silicon wheel to fit then polish well with shaped felt bur . You
can get a look 80% or so as bright as diamond cut , works OK on
repair work .

Mark Clodius
Clodius&Co. Jewelers

Hi Marco, About your onglette graver… you can polish a ‘set’ on
onglettes. I do it all the time, both on my spitstick scorpers for
setting and my onglette gravers for cutting fine lines. Perhaps I’ve
misunderstood your statement “…when I use an onglette graver which
belly cannot be modified…”, but it is quite easy to adjust the
belly of the onglette to a ‘set’ of whatever angle you wish. I angle
all my ‘sets’ by hand and eye. I don’t use the jigs for holding the
gravers and never have; being trained to do this by hand and eye
because it is much quicker and more flexible given the vagaries of
the work at hand.

The average ‘set’ is an angle of around 3 to 5 degrees for flat work
and it is simply a matter of holding the onglette blade at that angle
on the whet-stone and rolling the blade as you grind to match the
slight curve of the heel or belly. I finish off the ‘set’ on
onglettes with my emery buff to smooth out the curve and remove any
flat spots, then finish to a polish with 5 micron diamond lapping
film. I am currently using four sizes of onglettes from a small size
2 up to a broad size 12 and I have polished angled sets on all of
them according to what is needed.

I often re-cut the ‘set’ angle to accomodate the work. For example,
I recently had to engrave in the bottom of a steeply concave silver
dish and had to readjust my ‘set’ to around 30 degrees just so I
could get the onglette in there. It felt strange to use the graver at
such an angle, but the engraving turned out OK.

About the pins on your engraving block… I too found that the
standard pins got in the way of the graver, so I’ve made up a variety
of different length pins out of appropriately sized brass rod, to
ensure that the pins don’t project beyond the upper surface of the
plate thickness. I can file the pins into different shapes to suit
different jobs. Hope this helps. Rex Steele Merten

Hey Mark thank you for your advice. that’s a good idea!What size
those shaped silicon wheels and felt burs should be? Maybe I
misunderstood. would you be so kind to be more specific about the
process?Does the shape of the bur have to be dress and polish? or the
executed cut of the bur over the metal surface? Marco

Several people have asked me to expand on the fake diamond cut
procedure , Like many of the things I have learned it came out of
"bench play" do not ever hesitate to goof around with scrap and see
the different ways you can make your tools & processes work . Take a
bur , any shape , and lower it while spinning to your metal surface ,
do not move it around , just make a cut in one place . Look at the
mark or cut it made , it will reflect light in a manner consistant
with the reverse of the burs shape . If you are using a hart or 45
bur you will have a shape similar to a narrow diamond flywheel , if
you use a 90 degree bur it will be similar to a wider shape diamond
cut . Because you are using a bur instead of a polished diamond the
cut you made will be somewhat rough . I will take a silicone [ rubber
] abrasive wheel and shape the edge of that wheel to match the
shape and size of the cut I made and then lower it to that cut in the
same position as it was originally cut in order to smooth out the
roughness . Then you can polish that now smoothed out cut using a
small felt wheel shaped in a similar way , or use a worn out bristle
wheel with some Zam or fabulustre , you want to avoid overpolishing
as you will loose the “crisp” look that would be desired to emulate
the diamond cut. As I said before Play - Practice - Goof around you
will learn to do amazing things and maybe something that no one else
has seen ! Other than material [physical] saftey issues , there
really is no right or wrong way if it is an effect controlable by you
and you can repeate it and you like it [ and better if some one would
like to buy it!!!]


Mark Clodius
Clodius&Co. Jewelers