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[Favorite tips] graver sharpener


#1

Hello all! Sharpening gravers is’nt that easy. We stone setters
and engravers take it in stride. Many of us have plunked down
the near $300 for a power driven diamond disc. Several
manufacturer’s, you can see these machines in most jewelry
catalogs.

You can make your own; I did! For under $100. Having used one
for quite a while and my expartner wanted to keep it when we
went separate ways. I was determined to make one. First stop a
thrift store. Looked at 45 rpm record players; no torque. I was
afraid of that! As I was leaving, the canopeners caught my eye.
Now they have torque! At $3 I took it to a machinist and for $24
dollars he gear pulled the gizmo off. He then threaded a part
(where the teeth were) supplied a nut and that was it. I
puchased a 600 grit diamond lap and have been using my
automated graver sharpener for eight years. Incidently the guts
on the $300 ones’, sound suspiciously similar to my can opener
motor! Keep a sprayer (water) and lubricate the 5" disc at each
use. I’m on my second disc from running the first one dry.
Another jeweler told me to use some diamond spray; probably
should. If you need to contact for more info @ tpdooley@aol.com.


#2

Wet? I took an engraving class at GRS, Inc., and they had us
using the wheels dry and said not to lubricate. I’ve been using
my 600 grit dry for years and its still going strong. What’s up?


#3

Great idea. I have my eye on one of those sharpeners. How did
you solve the problem of holding the graver at the same angle
that those jigs do? I have thought that maybe wire could be
soldered on a plate at the prefered angles and the plate could
swing freely on rod perpendicular to the wheel. I will have to
go to the second hand store in the morning. Thanks, Ron


#4

I just compelete d class by a master stone setter with 55 years
of stone setting experience, Shep Waldman of Denver.

He taught us to use a sharpening stone, some wintergreen oil and
an optivisor (so we could see what we were doing), hold the
graver at a 43 degree angle and a few strokes and it is sharp.

Shep taught us to be sharpening our gravers (constantly).

I watched him set (pave style) from a 1/2 point Cubic zirconia
(yes, 1/2 point, not 1/2 carat) on up to a 3.2 ct diamond, also
usign hand tools and his hand sharpening technique. And it took
him about 3 minutes per stone.

Incidentally he teaches at the Naja school in Denver.

Mark Zirinsky, Denver, Colorado USA


#5

water is a better lube for diamond disks because it carries heat
away better, and in lapidary use it prevents soaking oils in to
porous stones. But a slow speed grinding operation like the
graver sharpeners don’t need effective heat dissipation, they
just need good cutting lubricant so friction doesn’t tear the
diamonds out of the nickle matrix. You can use an ordinarly
light machine oil on your diamond disk, and it will nicely
preserve the disk. Clean it off now and then, but you don’t need
to redo it all the time. it doesn’t take a great deal of oil to
lubricate the disk. Much easier than using water, and since the
disks are steel under the nickle plated layer, using oil also
keeps em from rusting on ya.

The diamond spray is a different product. Use it with a ceramic
polishing lap. This lap has no abrasive itself. The abrasive is
in the spray. It’s both a diamond abrasive and a
carrier/lubricant at once. Use just a little, say 14,000 or
50,000 grit, on the ceramic lap, and your gravers will come out
with a high polish. This is especially good if your using
carbide gravers to bright cut platinum. Steel gravers won’t give
you a bright cut on platinum. A correctly sharpened and polished
carbide one will give you a super high polished mirror bright cut
on platinum or gold alike… (GRS can sell you both the graver
blanks and the ceramic lap, if you don’t find other sources for
a small one.)

Peter Rowe


#6

Hello tp,

A cheaper version can be made by using a real copper penny on a
spindle in your flexshaft. The penny is filed to remove the image
and then charged with a Vaseline diamond mix. No water and easy
to recharge. $5 worth of diamonds will last for months. You might
also want to try lipstick or hard floor wax as a diamond
binder/lube. For cutting a graver tip use 600 diamond. 325 works
faster but it will throw off easier so you go through it more
quickly. Follow up with a 3000 or 8000 grit polish. 14000 if you
are really fussy, yeah you have to use another penny. A high
polish will keep an edge longer and cut easier and leave a highly
polished cut line in the work. A simple wooden jig and clamp to
hold the graver with a groove for the handpiece can be made to
get accurate flat sharp cutting faces at the correct angles.
Another use for these micro-laps is for repairing damaged
coloured stones, 14000 diamond on copper will polish almost
anything that isn’t too badly damaged. great for rolling a knife
edge girdle into a settable one. I suggest 8000 for that. No good
for diamonds of course.

Assuming the jewellers position? On the floor looking for lost
stones a laser pointer can be positioned for the beam to just
touch the floor surface and the area can be swept like radar the
stone shows up quite dramatically even 2 pointers. A black
light/UV can also be used to find diamonds, sometimes, yup you
turn the lights off and find them in the dark.

\ () || | /
\ /
\ /
@Anthony_Lloyd-Rees
http://www.opalsinthebag.com
ICQ# 15173706


#7

Peter hello!

Thanks for the added info. I’m pleased to find carbide more
suitable for platinum; I can try that. When I’ve talked with GRS
before their offerings of the cobalt and carbide were limited to
just a couple or three shapes. I have and use a gravermax,but I
still use hand method for most of my bright cut and pave’. Have
you a source for traditional style gravers in these improved
steels?

I have an extra suitable can opener motor that I was going to
set up with a fine diamond lap; the ceramic lap sounds better.I
have a xxx fine ruby stone that I use for fine work. It’s a
stretch from 600 grit. What diamond spray do you use or
suggest?

The oil is a great tip. I haven’t experienced any rust but
oil sounds like a potential improvement. I’m glad you didn’t
suggest wintergreen. I grew up with that stuff; tired of the
smell. I guess it smokes early as a warning but its pungent
smell has lost me as a fan. Some european craftsmen I apprenticed
with made their own. When they immigrated they devised many ways
of doing with what you have so to speak. Their recipe called for
1/2 parts automatic transmission fluid and white gas. I made
some years ago, probably time to make another batch.

While your post wasn’t meant as a graver clinic, I’m compelled
to add for the benefit of all, a few lines about gravers. When
you set them up sand and smooth the immediate areas that will cut
the metal. Then use crocus paper and lap them(except flats) on
your polisher with some black tripoli (yes there are compounds we
can polish steel with) and then pass them on the tripoli buff for
a high polish.Whatever you sharpen on, at whatever your chosen
angle,( my angle is approx. 60 degrees) always sharpen with the
face at or about 45 degrees to the face. Take a loupe and look at
the sharpened face. Are the lines running paralell with the
cutting edge? The fine lines should not be. They should be as
below for a flat graver. If you think this is unnecessary then
you should take two gravers and do a test, you’ll see! In
discussion with a talented hand engraver I mentioned this to him.
He assumed that most stone setters alreadyknew this! Try it, it
really smooths out the chatter.
, like this
IIIIIIII not like this

Bye,
Tim


#8

Hi Tim, Could you please explain how you are sharpening that
graver. I don’t understand what you mean when you say sharpen the
face with the face.

Thanks, Peter Slone


#9

Hey all you graver masters! Does anyone want to still use the old
Taylor style graver handles? After GIA stopped distributing them
we had them made by the same wood worker in CA. They tripled the
price so we have them made locally here in Mpls. They are now
distributed by Stebgo Metals. They now carry them and keep
stock. Their # is 651-451-8888.

All the best,
TR the teacher


#10

This is incredibly basic I know, but I used to have a lot of
trouble getting a proper edge on a graver by hand until Blaine
Lewis gave me this tip for holding them…

Hold the graver down near the tip with your thumb and
forefinger, then get your pinky smack dab in the middle of the
back of the handle. Then just draw the graver towards yourself
across the sharpening stone, holding it steadily at the angle you
want. Helps much if your eyes are on about the same level. This
grip makes things much easier. I use a little credit card sized
diamond grit sharpener plate. Works well and takes up hardly any
bench space (available from Frei and Borel. You can also get it
at Woodworker’s Warehouse if you’ve got one in your area. They
also carry nice things like diamond bits and cut off wheels, and
lots of other small tools for the shop at prices that often are
below trade suppliers.)

have fun!

Jane

Jane Armstrong/@Jane_Armstrong


#11
   Thanks for the added info. I'm pleased to find carbide more
suitable for platinum; I can try that. When I've talked with
GRS before their offerings of the cobalt and carbide were
limited to just a couple or three shapes. 

All I’ve ever bought from them, in Carbide, and perhaps all they
carry, is 1/8 inch square. From that, flat and diamond point
shapes are simple. for other shapes, you need to do some more
grinding. But since Carbide gravers (and note, this is tungston
carbide. it’s NOT a steel, and diamond tools are the only
practical materials for grinding or sharpening or polishing the
stuff) need a sturdier cutting angle than do steel tools (because
the carbide is quite brittle, a sharper cutting angle will chip
off), just a 10 or 15 degree or so belly angle makes it possible
to grind almost any face shape you might want onto that square
stock.

   I have and use a gravermax,but I still use hand method for
most of my bright cut and pave'. Have you a source for
traditional style gravers in these improved steels? 

As noted above, Tungston Carbide is not available as premade
graver shapes. Generally what you are buying is the stock tool
and die people would make various cutters out of. Round and
square stock. You grind at a slight angle into one end of it to
form a face shape as you desire, thus also building in the
beginnings of a belly on the graver. Face angles should then
also be about 70 degrees or so. The cutting angle at the cutting
edge will be only a little less than a right angle. But Carbide
takes an edge that will allow this to give you wonderful bright
cuts. GRS sells a video on the use of their sharpening fixture
that also discusses the way to grind these tools from this
square stock.

   I have an extra suitable can opener motor that I was going
to set up with a fine diamond lap; the ceramic lap sounds
better.I have a xxx fine ruby stone that I use for fine work.
It's a stretch from 600 grit. What diamond spray do you use or
suggest?	 

Use a 600 grit diamond for final shaping. You could use
coarser, if you have it, for roughing in, but it’s not needed.
You need the ceramic lap with diamond compound to polish carbide.
A ruby stone, used with diamond compound, would also work. But
the carbide is harder than the ruby stone itself, so you have to
have that diamond compound. 14 thousand will put a decent
bright polish on a graver. You can use 50 thousand if you like.
Very slightly better polish, but slower, and maybe not worth the
additional slight degree of brightness.

   The oil is a great tip. I haven't experienced any rust but
oil sounds like a potential improvement. I'm glad you didn't
suggest wintergreen. 

wintergreen is a good cutting lube for when your graver is
cutting the silver or gold etc. It’s not such a good cutting
lube for when you are actually grinding or polishing the graver
itself.

   While your post wasn't meant as a graver clinic, I'm
compelled to add for the benefit of all, a few lines about
gravers. When you set them up sand and smooth the immediate
areas that will cut the metal. Then use crocus paper and lap
them(except flats) on your polisher with some black tripoli 

To each his own, I guess. When the folks at GIA, in their
setting class, taught us to sharpen a bright cut steel graver,
after sharpening on a stone, we were taught to use a piece of 4/0
polishing paper on a smooth surface like glass. With that, we’d
take one stroke absolutely parallel to the cutting edge, so these
finest of scratches ran exactly parallel to the cutting edge.
Actually, it was two strokes, One in each direction, so you’d
reach both outside edges of the cutting edge, and you’d do this
to both top and bottom (belly and face) of the graver. More than
those four careful strokes, and you start to round over the
cutting angles, and your graver stops being so razer sharp.
This has also, in my experience, been the problem with using
various tripolies and rouges. The cutting edge LOOKS brighter,
but the graver isn’t actually as sharp, as the edge gets honed
rounder. The key is that if the fine scratches run exactly in
the same direction as the cutting edge, then the scratches don’t
ever actually intersect the edge. If they do, such as if you
stroke it either “off” or “onto” the cutting edge, then
microscopically, the edge now looks like a sawtooth, as the
scratches cross the sharp edge. That gives you a duller cut.
I’ve found, with steel gravers, that the brightest cut I could
get was with a graver carefully done this way. The fine ruby
stones, used the same way, give you a wickedly sharp and clean
cutting edge, but not as bright. So I use the ruby stones, then
finish lightly as above with the 4/0 paper.

But for carbide, none of this works. You MUST use the diamond
compound, and the size of this grit is so small, that it no
longer so much affects the final finish whether or not you go
across the edge or parallel to it. Going across the edge
eliminates the very slight tendancy to round the edge over than
you might get if you’ve got too much compound on the wheel, so
with the carbide gravers, I generally polish with the direction
of the wheel stroking “off” the cutting edge.

Hope this helps.

Peter Rowe


#12

Hello Ron! Hopefully you’ve found a motor you can work with by
now.Sorry for the delay. I honestly can’t keep up with the
volume on this forum! I’m learning so much I will continue
however! The handle assists can be purchased separately from GRS
or Foredom to name two. You could then add a table surface much
like a router table surrounds a router. When I had the graver
handle apparatus I could only position the device in one small
area and squealing was sometimes a problem. That being said, in
reality I only used the thing for a week or two. Prefering
instead to hold the graver at the angle I wanted by eye! The
angle I was using at that time was approximately 65 degrees on
all my gravers. I’m sure if I checked them now I would be within
5 or 10 degrees. My point is if you use gravers enough (everyday
myself) you will evolve to a a fairly exacting angle that works
for you. I found the assist holder deelybob to cumbersome and
time consuming. I suppose engravers may need it for more exact
sharpening but not this stonesetter. By the way the canopeners
that mount “undercabinet” are the type I’ve found most useful.

	Good luck
									
	Tim

#13

I just wanted to add my two cents about graver sharpening. I do
engraving as well as stone setting. I use hand gravers as well as
a Magna-Graver that I hope to replace with a Gravermax or
Gravermate someday.

A couple of years ago I purchased a GRS dual-angle sharpening
fixture. I had used their standard fixture a few years before and
found it limiting. This new fixture is much better than the old
one. The dual-angle fixture allows for rotation of the graver
along its axes (as well as adgusting the incline) making it able
to sharpen belly angles any graver.

If you are making your own graver sharpener and want precise
angles for engraving. I would recommend this tool or something
like it that will allow for the dual-angle sharpening. The use of
a fixture like this makes those custom carbide gravers easy.

Timothy A. Hansen

TAH Handcrafted Jewelry
Upland, California
http://home.earthlink.net/~tahhandcraft/index.htm


#14

To all you graver masters, We here in the northland are mostly
students of Ray Grobe, a master goldsmith / jeweler /
platinumsmith who was the regions top master from 1940 to about
1968 (still with us too). Ray introduced us to diamond setting
using an odd shaped graver handle. He had them hand made for all
of his students and was very generous with instruction and
knowledge. He said the handles were northern European in their
origin. After he retired the availability of these handles
disappeared until GIA started to sell them calling them the
Taylor Style graver handle. A while back GIA discontinued selling
them. They allowed me to have them made from the same California
woodcutter so we had our graver handles back. Now reorder time
comes and they triple the price. Phooey on you says I. We found a
woodworker here in Minneapolis who make them for us and they are
now distributed by Stebgo Metals. So If any of you remember the
old Taylor style graver handles and miss them the number to call
is 651-451-8888. Tell them you heard of them by the internet.
Great people. Best regards, TR the Teacher