My aunt in Upstate New York has expressed an interrest in learning to engrave.
I think she has alot of talent, and could possibly prove good at it. Would any
one of you know of some books, classes in the area (Utica), and basic tools she
would need right off the bat.
When I was introduced to engraving as an apprentice, I just
started with 3 gravers: a point No 4, a bevel No 3 and a flat No
7. First I had to engrave straight lines with the point into a
plexiglass square (2") to learn not to go to deeply ("burying"
the graver), then it was the same into copper (you can get
copper cheaply from a roofer). Next were wave lines with the
bevel graver, leaning it to one side or the other to vary line
thickness, then circles, then tremolo cut, last step was a
simple monograph. From there I had to go by myself, exercise
being the magic word as in most aspects of our trade.
Another useful tool is an engravers ball with a triangle made of
wooden slats as a seat, and a shellac stick (square piece of
wood). For the ball, you could use a pitch ball and fasten a top
with a kind of horizontal vice to it (I got mine secondhand; new
ones are a bit on the expensive side), to clamp the shellac
Well, a grinder and a hard Arkansas stone for forming and
sharpening, some sanding sticks (self made, wrap sandpaper
tightly around a slat, grit up to 2000) for polishing the
bottom of the gravers. And some kind of heat source to melt the
The very tip of the point and bevel gravers should be made into
a small upward curve on the oilstone to facilitate engraving
curves. The point here is not to get en edge that widens towards
the handle and to keep the graver symmetrical, which is
difficult for a beginner.
BTW a Vienna, Austria, group of engravers only used on graver
for all work, simply a square section steel rod put on edge
(similar bottom as a bevel graver, only a slightly smaller
Hope this is of some use for you and your aunt, Markus