What you need to do is bend the graver slightly. This is not quite as
easy as it sounds…
What you do goes something like this:
First find yourself a piece of Ivory soap. Rub the soap over about an
inch and a half of the graver, from the cutting point towards the
handle. Make sure that you get a good coating on the lined face. This
is to protect against firescale.
Now, with a jewelers torch or a propane bottle torch - set at a
medium, “soft” flame - gently heat the last one inch of your graver
tip. It helps to do this the first couple of times in a slightly
darkened room. Move the flame around, heating that last inch evenly,
until it begins to glow dark red.
At the point where you can plainly see the color red - but not
"bright" red, you will need to put the tip at about a 45 degree angle
- against a piece of firebrick or a soldering pad. You must make sure
that the very tip is square to the surface. Look straight down on the
top of the graver as you do this. Do not lean to one side or the
other. Push down on the point carefully… you may have to reheat and
try a second time. You want to get a gentle curve into the graver. I
would guess that most of mine are about 15 degrees. If you push too
hard you will go past this. Better to reheat and have a second go at
it, than bend it too far.
Immediately, quench the graver in water - if you have reached the
proper angle. You will now have to sand the graver on the sides with
320 emery to remove the discoloration. You need bright metal to judge
the color you are going to draw to. (Do not sand the face where your
Reheat the graver, even more gently this time. Maybe use an alcohol
lamp for the first time… Start back about an inch from the tip. You
will see the color begin to change. At first it will be a very light
color, then it will darken and creep towards the tip. Watch this
color creeping toward the tip. When the light straw color makes it
all the way to the tip… wait just a bit longer for the medium straw
color to get to the tip - and QUENCH!
When you have finished, the medium straw color should remain visible
on the flat sides of the graver tip. You can clean the soap residue
out of the lines on the face with a fine brass brush on a mandrel in
a flex shaft machine. Now, resharpen and go to it!
I would highly recommend that you try this first on an old graver or
a piece of tool steel - even round drill stock will work, to get the
"feel" you need to create the gentle curve. Plus you can observe the
color change at least once before you start on your good graver. This
can be done with graver in the handle, but if it seems awkward - pull
the graver out of the handle and hold it in a pair of vise grips.
If I didn’t make this clear enough - ask before you start…
Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts School
704 W. Swain Rd.