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Getting started with engraving


im looking to give engraving a try for the first time can anyone
guide me to the most basic stuff i can buy just to get started, i
dont realy want to go and buy everything all at once just incase i
dont like it or dont get on with it, any basic info on even how to do
it would be a great help. i have seen vidoes of skilman setting stone
useing gravers and basicaly i want to use them mostly for that and
for fine letters etc.

some of the gravers i have see are different shapes which i guess
makes a difference for certain things also gravers that are striaght
or curved which is better for a first timer.

i always listen to the advice i am given from fellow members so with
that i would just like to say to each and everyone of you who has
helped me along the way i thank you and respect each and every one
of you

i know im starting to blabber on but i would also like to say thanks
to Giacomo / skilman for inspiring me to start some new things

many thanks


Have you checked these sites out?

Good luck,

The answer to the perrenial “how do I learn to engrave?” question.
Handengraving forum is Steve Lindsays, and he has two other sites,

Both of which link to the forum, too. Both of those sites - Lindsays
and Sam Alfano’s (igraver) are the mother lode for all things
engraving - tips from old-timers, galleries of exquisite work
(beginners, too), videos, tools - everything. You don’t need much
more than those…

Hello jason,

What kind of engraving do you want to do? There are an infinite
variety of gravers, and ways to sharpen them so you should try to
focus on just what it is that you want to do with them. You do not
need to invest alot if you just want to try using gravers, but you
will need a few basics.

For starters, you will need to get some gravers and handles, a
sharpening stone (coarse and fine), and some 4/0 emery paper for
polishing your tools. Try a round graver, like a 51, which can cut
lines or raise beads. Flat gravers are harder to polish, but are
essential for bright cutting stone setting. Square gravers are the
most difficult to sharpen, but useful for lettering and ornamental
work. Check out the sites Roger mentioned to find on how
to mount the gravers into the handles at the proper length for your
hand. You will also find there on how to sharpen those
gravers. It is really helpful to have some kind of crocker or holder
to aid in the sharpening process, especially when you are starting
out. It will help you to keep the angles of the tool the same each
time you need to renew the tip. You will also need some metal to
practice on. I do jewelry engraving, so I learned on copper plates,
which cut similar to silver, and on brass, which cuts more like 14k

You will also need alot of patience, as it is not easy to teach
yourself, so try to find someone local who can give you some
pointers, or think about taking a class first. Good luck in your

Melissa Veres, engraver has a set of dvds that make learning the
art of hand engraving very clear and easy to follow. A complete
course, serving beginners through advanced engravers, produced by
European taught master engraver Heinar Tamme who condensed his 50+
years of professional engraving experience into these instructional
videos precisely because he wanted to make certain the skill could
still be taught to those interested in exploring the art.

Joseph Bloyd
Owner, JNB Jewelry Studio
Bloomington, IN where the Spring blooms are in full swing!

European taught master engraver Heinar Tamme 

Looks like a pretty nice set, maybe.

I thought I’d post something on this thread that should be
inspirational to us all - it is to me. This is on

  • Steve Lindsay’s site. You just go to poke around in there…

Scroll down a bit, and then look at some of the next pages, too.
Doesn’t get any better… All with simple pointed tools… has a set of dvds?... ?produced by
European taught master engraver Heinar Tamme who condensed his 50+
years of professional engraving experience into these
instructional videos... 

I have a copy of Heinar’s original VHS tapes, that I purchased from
him some years ago, and they are great. Heinar teaches using the old
world tradition which he learned.H e was a multi-talented individual
who did engraving and art here in Port Townsend, WA, for many years.
He engraved my wedding band (deep relief on the order of Tom
Herman’s work) in the early 1980’s but he did not get the press that
so many jeweler’s do now.

He engraved a ring for Pope John Paul, and for Kennedy’s, as well as
many other influential people, and was well known in a circle
of?very famous people. If you want the “old world” training to
become a master engraver, get Heinar’s teaching videos. They are not
fast paced, and are not for entertainment (though I watch them over
and over). They are very thorough and precise, something that is
necessary in engraving, and gives you the flavor of what it must
have been like to work as an apprentice in an old-world jewelry
studio setting.

Heinar escaped from Nazi-held Estonia, his home land, to Sweden
where he became an apprentice engraver. After years of work and
study, he developed a following of influential people who
appreciated his work. He eventually?opened a jewelry shop here in
Townsend, where I felt very lucky to have had him design rings for
me, and even more, I then was able to learn engraving techniques from

I feel very fortunate to have known Heinar and, besides cherishing
my rings that he made, I also feel fortunate to have some "samples"
that he was going to send to the refiner when he retired. They are

Please note that I have no interest in the DVD’s that are being sold
now, and do not know the person selling them. Also, I have not seen
this incarnation of Heirnar’s original tapes.

Kitti deLong, Jewelry Appraiser and want-to-be goldsmith On the
Olympic Peninsula in Washington State where spring has evaded us so

I just checked Ebay with the name “Heinar Tamme” and found one of
his engraving pictures on there. Tells a bit about him with a photo
of the man, too. He sure was talented.

Larry Heyda

One of the most cool things about learning to engrave is that it
takes only a few hours to learn the basic techniques, but you can
spend a lifetime learning and perfecting it. Also, there are few
artistic crafts where so much can be accomplished with so few tools.
You can spend a fortune outfitting an engraving studio, but you can
get started with less that $100 US if you are industrious. You can
also use found materials to practice on, I started with bottle caps
and car parts.

I would highly recommend the sites John posted, as well as a couple
of books.

The Art of Engraving, by James B. Meek

Engraving on Precious Metals by A. Brittain and P. Morton

The Jewelry Engravers Manual by R. Allen Hardy and John J. Bowman.

If you have to prioritize, I would get them in the order I posted
them. The last two are older books, so the tools and language are a
bit dated, but engraving hasn’t changed all that much in a hundred
years. I still refer to them quite often. The first book is a
treatise on the art of engraving much more than the techniques.

Happy cutting!

Hello Everyone,

In response to the recent discussion about engraving and for those
who have not seen my posts about the Heinar Tamme video series here
is a short explanation of the “why and how” that I came to offer the
videos on

As a jeweler interested in adding engraving skills to my abilities, I
had been trying to learn hand engraving from books such as James
Meeks’ The Art of Engraving. In 2004 I found out about Mr. Tamme’s
videos from the Orchid Archives and ordered a set. Within two weeks I
had progressed further than I had during the past 12 months. Because
Mr. Tamme had quit actively selling the videos when he retired, I
spoke with him several months later about making the information
widely available once again. I just could not see this wealth of
knowledge continuing to sit unused in a box on his storeroom shelf!
At 82 years old Mr. Tamme had no interest in doing so himself and
suggested instead that I purchase the rights from him and publish
them myself. Which I have done, transferring the original VHS format
to DVD and adding navigational bookmarks. Other than that media
conversion there are no changes to his videos in terms of content,
after all the whole point is to make his teaching available.

Here is a brief description of the engraving series but much more
on both Mr. Tamme and his videos can be found at:

Everyone I have spoken with who purchased the videos from Mr. Tamme
or now through my website has universally agreed that the quality of
instruction is first rate. Of course it would be because as Heinar
himself told me, his intent was to record the type of training he
received as a master’s apprentice. That training served him well
professionally for the 60+ years he practiced his profession as a
full time hand engraver.

"Authored and produced by Master Engraver Heinar Tamme, the 14 DVDs
draw upon his formal European training and Mr. Tammes decades of
experience, to provide more than 25 hours of “over the shoulder”,
“learn at your own pace” instruction for all engraving levels,
beginners through advanced. Topics range from the three disc
Beginners set: tool identification, tool preparation and sharpening
as well as tool selection and uses along with practice exercises -
to single disc advanced topics:

monograms, engraving jewelery items of all types, ornamental relief
engraving, ring carving, fine print making and many, many others. A
"Masters Master" Mr. Tamme’s commissions have included engravings for
Presidents Gerald Ford and John F. Kennedy, Apollo Astronaut Buzz
Aldren, a papal ring for Pope John Paul II, Queen Elizabeth and
entertainers Anthony Quinn and Sammy Davis Jr. to name just a few.
He also engraved the 80 pound silver Orange Bowl trophy for 18 years.

Best regards to everyone,
Joseph Bloyd
JNB Jewelry Studio
Bloomington, Indiana