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GraverMach is it worth it?


#1

I am considering buying a GraverMach and a Sil-Air compressor from
GRS and I am sort of unsure about the purchase. I do lots of
channel, bezel and bead setting, along with hand engraving detail
down and around the shanks of custom engagement and wedding rings. I
have always used gravers and am very comfortable with them. When
channel setting I use a Badeco hammer handpiece on my flexshaft to
tap down the channels and tighten the stones, But as I approach my
30th year of benchwork, I find I am having a little joint pain (like
every single day). So I am thinking the Gravermach might take a
little of the pressure off my tired self.

My questions are, how does this compare to a Badeco hammer handpiece?
Does it deliver an equivalent amount of power or impact to the piece?
And how did people who were accustomed to using hand gravers find the
change over to the GraverMach? Also what accessories do you
recommend?

Thanks,
Mark


#2

I too have been at the bench for over 30 years: combining the normal
a= ging process with several motorcycle accidents has resulted in
damaged rotator cuffs, torn tendons and bone spurs, severely
impacting my ability (or desire) to do some of the more demanding
pushing motions. I was still doing all this by hand till last year’s
Bench Jewelers conference in Buffalo. There I “played” with the
Graver Max, and was hooked! I also picked up the Meji microscope. The
combination of these two tools has not only taken the strain off of
my shoulder, but the quality of my work has improved exponentially.
Continually I am finding new ways to use the Graver Max, and making
new tools as I see new possibilities. Not only is engraving and bead
raising much easier, but so are all forms of bezel, channel, flush,
gypsy, etc. Some of this was always possible with the flex hammer,
but now I have more control with less vibration, and the quick change
tool holders make all kinds of adaptations possible, and allow very
rapid changes between tools.

Admittedly I can be a bit of a tool addict, but the increase in the
d= etail and quality of the work I have achieved speaks volumes for
these two tools. It has been many years since I have felt this good
about an increase in my abilities. The new tools and networking more
with other bench jewelers have opened my eyes to many new
possibilities.

Hope this helps. Jim


#3

Hello Mark, I have been pushing gold around for 37 years and don’t
waste any more time on the total hand work. GRS realized that too.
Go for it, you will probably either double your out-put or you will
be very relieved of stress. Talk to Josh @ 1.800.835.3519, GRS.

Stephen Wyrick, CMBJ


#4

Mark,

Short and sweet answer. DO IT. You will never look back, sir.

I made the leap in 1993 or 1994 and I have never looked back. I got
mine just to ease the pain and trouble of hand engraving. What I
discovered was that it fit SO many more uses. Channel Setting, Bright
Cutting, Gypsy Setting, Getting backs off of stubborn watches, Wood
Carving and so on. I did it for the same physical reason as you are
contemplating. Cramping and muscle fatigue.

According to what you say that you do currently by hand and with the
rotary hammer and flexshaft you are going to LOVE your new GraverMach
(I started with the GraverMax) You pres the pedal, the tool INSTANTLY
hammers, no lad time waiting for the tool to wind up, like a
flexshaft. You release the pedal, the tool INSTANTLY stops
hammering.I HIGHLY recomend that you order their sharpening hone,
with wheels, sharpening jig etc…
http://www.grstools.com/toolsharpen.html#powerhone

There is much less of “learning the newly sharpened tool” that goes
on. If you sharpen your gravers by hand, each time you sharpen it
again, the potential exists to sharpen it at a steeper or narrower
angle and the you put the tool back to the work, and it works
differently because of the changed angle. The #003-570 Dual Angle
Sharpening Fixture $198 (Complete with post assembly) Solves that
issue.

I also have the BenchMate http://www.grstools.com/benchmate.html and
it stands on its OWN but is a nice compliment to the engraving
system.

I have a few pieces of my work in an album named “Engraving” at
http://madjeweler.smugmug.com but do take a look at the channel
setting, Bright Cutting etc as almost all of it was done using the
GraverMax/GraverMach system. GRS makes a wonderful line of tools and
they re-design them to make sense.

Let me know how you like it and when it will be there!!! I’d be
happy to be a first had advisor as you make the transition.

PS: I don’t work for GRS tools. They make good useful tools of
quality and I am happy to testify to that!

BUT, In case you feel like telling them they should pay me a
commision, I am the MadJeweler of Master’s Jeweler (Still
re-formulating after a nasty divorce)

Keith


#5

The GraverMach can change your life. It will do almost everything
the Badeco can do, and a lot more. It doesn’t impact as hard as the
Badeco at it’s highest setting, but it will get the job done in hard
metal, it just takes longer. Well worth the price.

I would also recommend that you take a look at the Lindsey AirGraver
and Palm Control AirGraver. Having owned and heavily used both the
GRS and Lindsey tools, it is my personal opinion that the Lindsey is
a far superior tool in every respect, but I know there are those that
would disagree. Contact me off-list if you would like specifics.

Steve Lindsey, the creator and marketer of the AirGraver is a
consummate artist and a real gentleman. He will walk you through the
tools and is always available to help you out if you have questions,
without giving you a hard sell. Go to www.airgraver.com for more
details on Steve and his tools. Or do a Google search for
"airgraver".

Standard disclaimer, I have no financial or commercial interest
whatsoever in Lindsey tools, I’m just a very satisfied customer.

Dave


#6

I’ve never used the system so bear that in mind, I have, however,
used the Lindsay AirGraver=99 with foot pedal, but I must also add
that the PalmControl=99 is the route I would take (or will take)
should I invest in mechanical assist for engraving.

http://www.handgravers.com/Features.htm

Don Bell (Nova Scotia, Canada) uses it for engraving his Demascus
Steel knives, but it’s equally a dream at gypsy settings.

The specs for the Silentaire Air Compressor look sexy.

http://www.silentaire.com/silentaire/sil_air.asp

K. David Woolley
Fredericton, NB
Diversiform Metal Art & Jewellery


#7

Keith,

I couldn’t have said it better. Ditto. I have found Josh and Shelley
at Glendo (GRS) to be most helpfull. I bought the gravermach last
year to do chasing and this year took an engraving course and I am
hooked again so much that I bought the adjustable GRS heavy
engraving ball, honing system, Meji microscope and stand. I also have
their benchmate system. Is there anything left that I don’t have? I
hope not I’ve already spent too much. oooohhhh their tools make my
life so much better and less painfull.

jennifer friedman
http://www.jenniferfriedmanstudio.com


#8
as I approach my 30th year of benchwork, I find I am having a
little joint pain (like every single day). So I am thinking the
Gravermach might take a little of the pressure off my tired self.
Hey Mark, 

Go for it! I was taught with hand gravers, and love the engraving
process, Since I bought my Gravermax, my body has taken much less
wear and tear on these precious joints & tendons, and the quality
and speed of my work have both increased! It provides controllable
power, so you control the graver or punch, but without having to also
provide the resistance. The whole process goes much smoother since
your concentration is on watching what you are doing, and the chances
of slipping are virtually eliminated. Stone setting is much easier,
and the gravermax has more variation in power & stroke speed than my
old hammer hand piece. There is a new piece which will also provide a
touch control, so you can continue to use familiar gravers in the
pneumatic hand piece, and have the power response from the push of
your palm as opposed to the foot throttle.

I have had my unit for over 10 years, and haven’t looked back. My
next favorite tool is my micro-motor. There is alot more control
than my flex shaft, and the ability to go in either direction, which
is a handy feature for cutting seats. There is a foot throttle, or
the hand piece can run at a set speeds. I love it’s control for
carving waxes as well.

I have also included regular chiropractic care, and recommend some
kind of stretching or yoga practice to help overcome the long time
spent at the bench everyday. We need to counter balance the way we
sit for so many hours of the day.

Melissa Veres, engraver


#9
I would also recommend that you take a look at the Lindsey
AirGraver and Palm Control AirGraver. Having owned and heavily used
both the GRS and Lindsey tools, it is my personal opinion that the
Lindsey is a far superior tool in every respect, 

Ditto, sorta. I used the older GRS tool only a short while before
pretty much going exclusively to my airgraver. I much prefer the feel
of the tool, as well as it’s precision. It IS, however, more
expensive, a consideration for some. I also know that many are
drooling over Steves palm control. Personally, though, I like the old
foot pedal. Not quite so much like hand engraving, but I was never
all that good with just manual gravers anyway, so I’m not missing
that manual feel, while on the other hand, I’ve spent over 35 years
using my foot on a pedal every day to control flex shaft tools, or
other similar tools, so the foot pedal is second nature anyway.
Steve’s palm controller, though, is truely a beutiful bit of
engineering. Way beyond that funky GRS version that needs it’s own
control box, and has a little trigger button in the handle instead
of just feeling pressure on the whole handle. Tried that thing for a
short while last year and found it downright odd…

Steve Lindsey, the creator and marketer of the AirGraver is a
consummate artist and a real gentleman. 

And much more responsive as a businessman. The few times I’ve needed
service or something with the airgraver, Steve’s been right there
with almost instant support and quick turnaround. An upgrade to the
tool, for example, cost me just postage to Steve. How’s that for
service. I contrast that with GRS. When they thought I wanted to buy
a microscope, I was getting annoying sales calls from some aggressive
sales person. Then, a bit over a year ago, I bought a GRS power hone
from Progress Tools. It was supposed to come with a 600 grit diamond
wheel, but the packers at GRS seem to have left it out. Progress
shipped me the GRS box intact (It had been backordered), so the
mistake wasn’t theirs. But anyway, contacting GRS, all I got was “you
have to talk to Progress tools”. And Progress tools never quite got
back to me either about it, after at least three tries on the phone.
I’ve got other laps from past lapidary work, so it’s not stopping me
from using the tool, and I’ve not got time to spend on it. But…
Sigh. Of course, Progress is maybe more responsible to arrange the
fix than is GRS because they were the direct retailer, but neither
firm stepped up to the plate and made this right when I complained,
and GRS is the firm that really owes me the lap. Doesn’t make me all
that enthousiastic about shopping with either firm again, though I
might still get lured back to Progress… They have a few pretty good
deals going now and then… But GRS? Hmm. Some aggressive customer
service would go a lot further with me than aggressive cold sales
calls.

Peter Rowe


#10

BUY the graver max, you will not regret it and it will most
definitely relive your joint pain ( i know from experience!) and
other pressure and repetitive motion injuries/soreness. I still use
gravers (hand gravers) too but heavily rely on the graver max and/or
the Foredom Allset Master System for cutting perfect channels, seats,
prongs, etc. without any effort every time… I have a Faro hammer
handpiece and can only tell you that compared with the Badeco: I
like that the Faro has NO duplex spring ( they have always seemed
completely unnecessary to me) and that the Faro has an adjustable
impact setting mechanism and for around 100 bucks less the Itallian
Faro does the same job, quality wise as the Swiss made Badeco…
(Progress machine &tool co. seems to have the best prices on both).

rer


#11

Oh gosh, yes, a Gravermach is one piece of equipment I now feel I
can’t live without. Certainly for engraving, but also everyday stone
setting etc. Night and day difference from a hammer handpiece. Ditto
for their own system 3.

I also strongly recommend a bench mounted microscope. With the
combination, you can SEE the metal you are moving. Engraving becomes
like driving a bulldozer, and setting, well, amazing.

The compressor I’m unsure of. I’m considering a Badger Trillion-Air
Silent Compressor as it’s less expensive, potentially quieter and
still delivers the cfm’s.

Usual no affiliations.

Michael Babinski
Foxfire Jewelers


#12

Well…you all sure gave me a lot to think about. I was all ready to
buy the Gravermach but will check into the Lindsay handpieces first.
I already work with the Meiji scope and GRS hone and Benchmate, all I
seem to be missing are the air tools. This is not the first time I
have heard Lindsay air-tools described with a certain reverence that
only a tool lover would understand. Although the Lindsay handpiece is
expensive, it seems to require no air pulse control box (gravemach).
I don’t quite understand how that would work, but it makes it
comparable price wise.

Thanks,
Mark


#13

Yes Jennifer, where’s your laser? After 5 years at a store, using a
laser I moved on to work with a friend who had no laser. After 2
months I couldn’t take it; I felt like I was trying to work without
my left arm, there is so much I can do with the laser that just is
not possible or profitable with the torch (after 30 yrs with the
torch). I figured out a way to buy one on my own. Now I’m in
Heaven(!) when I work: Bright Star laser to the left of my bench,
Meji microscope, Graver Max, Bench Mate and micromotor on my bench.
Got a bit tool crazy last year, admittedly, but after 37 years
working with the basic bench, I deserved an upgrade! Now it’s fun to
take on the challenges again, and the speed and quality of my work
has taken a Quantum jump.


#14

Gotta agree with everything Peter Rowe said…

I have ALL makes and models of power assisted engraving tools in the
classroom for students to try out and “test drive”. I don’t sell
tools. I just teach. (And yes, hand pushed and hammer & chisel
instruction is also taught here, though less and less each year…)

Over the past 8 years of teaching hand engraving and stone setting,
95 percent of my new students who don’t already own a power assisted
engraving system and are looking to buy - after trying all brands -
choose one of the Lindsays.

I have been using them exclusively on my own bench since he first
made them available, and I tested one. Steve Lindsay is a
professional engraver, and you deal directly with the man who
invented and makes each tool he sells. No elevator music, no
secretaries, no salespeople. No sales calls afterwards. Just high
quality products and absolutely amazing service.

His inventions, patents, and the products that have come from them
have been light years ahead of the competition. Now that there are
tools that are better for what I do for a living, I definitely choose
those.

I have been engraving professionally for 38 years. 10 years hand
pushed, 20 years with GRS tools, and for the past 8 years with
Lindsay tools.

Some of the things I like best:

No clunky complicated control boxes that need electricity, no spring
on the piston, no “tuning” to do, stroke control is on the handpiece,
higher strokes per minute, no need to buy $4 collets for each and
every graver in order to have a true “quick change”, much lower air
consumption, much MUCH more portable in all models (PalmControl can
run off a small CO2 cartridge), no slippery handpieces,
interchangeable piston weights, ease of upgrading, etc., etc,. etc.

Prices between equal Lindsay and GRS systems are similar, but what
you get for your money - in my opinion - is a far better tool with
Lindsay.

Lindsays patented graver point sharpening geometry has increased my
studios productivity by 30 percent since we switched to it, and now
he has come out with a new “foolproof” manual sharpening fixture that
anyone can use - anywhere.

Take a look and decide for yourself. Usual disclaimer goes here…

Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts School
jewelryartschool.com


#15

After talking with Steve Lindsay today about his AirGraver I think
I’m going to go with the Lindsay Classic AirGraver over the GRS
Gravermach. Although I think they are very comparable and the GRS
system is a time tested and popular set up, there were a few things
that swayed me to Lindsay. One is that the Lindsay design is a
little bit more simple, it eliminates the air pulse control box from
the system. I like the idea that it is piston driven rather than
springs. I like that I can switch the stock piston for a heavier
piston when doing work that requires more force. And I like that
when you have questions you can talk to the guy who developed it
(that’s a big one).

All that said, I’m sure I would be very happy with the GRS system as
I am a very big fan of their products. I really do appreciate all of
the great input you fine people took the time to share. No doubt a
number of readers other than myself benefited from your generosity.

Mark


#16

Hi Mark,

I am considering buying a GraverMach and a Sil-Air compressor from
GRS and I am sort of unsure about the purchase. 

If your really interested in power graving and use it for setting.
Have a look at the wed sites of GRS and Lindsay that are in the
engraving section of the Industrial section of Orchid.

You can have a look at some engrave and diamond setters web sites
also. Talk to ya later,

Jim


#17

Hi Mark

I am considering buying a GraverMach and a Sil-Air compressor from
GRS and I am sort of unsure about the purchase. I do lots of 

One more thing. You can have a look at my site also. It is also in
the engraving section. I use both systems GRS and Lindsay. They help
a lot with bright cutting, texture, and engraving.

Talk to ya later,
Jim

Jim Zimmerman
Alpine Custom Jewellers & Repair
http://www.handengravingcanada.com


#18

Hi Jim,

Thanks for the reply. It sounded to me like people who use both
prefer the Lindsay over the GRS, so I was leaning that way. They
were using descriptions like “the Lindsay is a work of art”. They
seemed to prefer the piston to the springs. I will use it for bead
and pave’ setting and engraving detailed patterns on gold and
platinum jewelry, not for the beautiful lettering that you do. Which
do you prefer?

Mark
In Wisconsin (nearing 100 inches of snow this winter… and it’s
snowing right now)


#19

Hi Mark,

One is good for one thing and the other is good for the other thing.
I use both and am happy with the results. My sales show it. You can
stop fighting the process and concentrate on the design. The
engraving group as a whole shares quite extensively everything your
going to need to know. Read the archives of the groups. This is the
future of setting.

Jim
Jim Zimmerman
http://www.handengravingcanada.com


#20

Hi Mark,

I will use it for bead and pave' setting and engraving detailed
patterns on gold and platinum jewelry, not for the beautiful
lettering that you do. Which do you prefer? 

One is good for one thing and the other is good for the other thing.
I use both and am happy with the results. My sales show it. You can
stop fighting the process and concentrate on the design. The
engraving group as a whole shares quite extensively everything your
going to need to know. Read the archives of the groups. This is the
future of setting.

Ya, we got a lot of snow also, this winter.

Jim
Jim Zimmerman
http://www.handengravingcanada.com