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Graver Meister Pneumatic Stone setting

To Lizzieq,

I have used a Graver Max for 18 years now and consider it my most
indispensible tool. I use it for quickly putting down bezels and
flush mounting with the hammer handpiece and I use the multipurpose
hand piece for bright cutting and hand engraving. I prefer to push
the beads over without the help of the machine, it produces too much
vibration to keep small melle in place while you get the beads down
in place. It also has a turbo rotary hand piece that turns at 50,000
rpms but has very little torq. With a small round bur you can do a
very effortless job of carving a stone seat. Just don’t apply much
pressure as this just stops the bur. With a light touch and a sharp
tool the metal just disappears under it.

I am not affiliated with GRS in any way I am just a very big fan of
all the GRS tools including the engraving block and the benchmate.
I did not buy their microscope, I found the same kind of equipment
for sale on Ebay 1/4 the price.

John Wade
Wade Designs

Thanks to both of you, David L. Huffman and Scott Isaacs for this
info on pneumatic stone setting. The advice on sharpening is very
useful. The idea of a Chicago Tool handpiece never entered my mind!
We are so used to only going to the general jewelry suppliers when
sometimes another tool will do the job.

I am not certain of the differences at the bench of the Max and
Meister versions, if any. Certainly, we do not have the room for a
loud compressor. We do have a fairly quiet one used for sandblasting
and it might do if a compressor-less set up is selected.

The problem for me is human: I am very comfortable with the
techniques of bright cut and similar setting with gravers, hammer
setting by hand, etc. The problem is years of wear on these wrists
and the tendons. The effects show on the left wrist and the right has
been through Carpal Tunnel surgery. This is EASE of work balanced
with quality bringing me to the pneumatic tools

One question was proposed by a coworker: Does the item being worked
on need to be locked in a very rigid position, like in the GRS
devices or can it be hand held in a ring clamp? The person
suggested the item must be very rigid for the pneumatics to work
with out problems. I have no clue on this!

Again, I really appreciate the info. These wrists mandate looking
into power assisted work.

Thanks Ganoksin. This service is totally valuable to me.

Blessings and Peace.

Hi Thomas,

Does the item being worked on need to be locked in a very rigid
position, like in the GRS devices or can it be hand held in a ring
clamp?  The person suggested the item must be very rigid for the
pneumatics to work with out problems. 

I’d suggest that the more rigid the piece being worked on can be
help the better, regardless of whether it’s being manipulated by
machine or by hand.

If the piece isn’t rigid, any movement reduces the effectiveness at
the point of contact between the tool & the work. The piece needs to
be stationary for the tool to make an effective mark. Any movement
of the piece is just lost motion. Maybe all that lost motion
contributes to the wear & tear on the wrists, fingers & arms that
causes our aches & pains.


Hi Dave!

BINGO! “lost motion” you just hit the nail on the head, my own
reciprocating hammer does not work too well on or in the soft
leather edged ring clamp. But it does do wonders if the ring is
secured on the metal ring mandrel…you are never too “darn” old too

Continue from:

With back to back engraving workshops I haven’t had time to respond
until now…

Pneumatic tools, whether they be GRS or Lindsay’s are all excellent
choices for anyone who uses gravers on a daily basis. When I
started engraving in 1969, there were no such tools. Later when the
GraverMeister first came out (I own #273) I purchased one - but the
handpieces in those days were very awkward. There was also a
controversy amongst hand engravers back then - as to whether
engraving with these new machines was to be considered “real” hand
engraving. During the first 5 years that I had the machine I rarely
used it, and then only to stipple backgrounds. Since the handpiece
back then was 7" long, it was far from “ergonomic” and no one even
considered them for stone setting. Modern day GRS products have been
much improved - especially recently.

The Lindsay tools have been on the market for a little over 4 years
now. Invented and built by Steve Lindsay, who has made his living
engraving, they worked perfectly for engraving and stone setting
from the very beginning. His tools are capable of up to 30,000
impacts per minute, so even under a microscope you will never see
"chatter" marks. He now has 4 models to choose from. The newest
one, the “Bronze Omega” has just been released. We used the first
one in a Basic Engraving workshop last week. All of the students
were quite impressed. It’s an economy model of his standard tools,
and does not have the adjustable stroke mechanism that is included
on the other models. However, for the beginning engraver or
stonesetter the price is right - around $500 - and it works just
fine. His “Chasing” and “Classic” models are in the same price
range as the GRS product. His best model, which has all of the
controls on the tool itself, was released a few months back. This
"Palm Control" model will cost closer to $3,000, and uses no foot
pedal. It responds to pressure on the handle. In the last two
months it has become my favorite tool on the bench.

The original question as I recall was as to whether these pneumatic
tools would help prevent injury. From my own personal experience of
30+ years - the answer is a resounding YES!

After the first 10 years of engraving and stone setting with hand
gravers and sheer force, I had my first carpal tunnel surgery. Over
the years, because it took me a long time to accept the use of
pneumatic tools exclusively, I have had a total of 4 carpal tunnel
surgeries. 3 on my right hand, 'cause I’m right handed, and one on
the left, 'cause that hand is shoving the engraving block around
all day. I’ve also had 2 elbow release surgeries, and shoulder
surgery… I believe that had these tools existed in their modern
day form - none of this would have been necessary.

The other advantages of pneumatic tools include a 70% cut in the
learning curve, much faster/repeatable results, less bloodshed, and
less time wasted learning new cuss words… ALL graver blanks
can be adapted to fit either Lindsay or GRS handpieces, but I’ve
come to prefer starting with the square blanks that need no back
end grinding, just shape and sharpen, slip 'em in and go.

YOU WILL NOT, however instantly “become” an engraver or stonesetter
by simply purchasing one of these modern day marvels! You still
have to acquire the SKILLS needed to set stones or engrave. Books
and videos have their uses (I know this because I have 18
overflowing bookshelves and over 50 videos:) but there is nothing
as good as taking live instruction. You need to learn the sounds,
and feel what happens in your hand when you make a perfect cut. And
you need that instructor standing over your shoulder to tell you
that you are trying to do it upside down…

Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts School
2207 Lucile Ave.
Stockton, CA 95207 USA
209-477-0550 Workshop/Studio/

How do I find the Lindsey hand engraver?

Ventura, CA

    How do I find the Lindsey hand engraver?


the second URL is the actual tools site. the first is the page on
Steve’s main site (well worth perusing) which has the link to the
second …