New GRS Handpiece

Hello Sam Alfano

I viewed the page at the URL you provided and I have a few thoughts
about the new GRS tool. First off, let me say that I have used and
promoted GRS tools for many years, they served my needs well, and I
was convinced that they were the best tools available for engraving
for many years. I now feel that this is no longer the case after
using the Lindsay tool for awhile and I will explain why.

The major difference between the two are the spring that is used in
the GRS models that the Lindsay tools do not have. Since the GRS
tools operate on air pulses that are produced by whichever system you
are using, the spring creates problems because the low end power must
be substantial enough to overcome this spring’s resistance and by
doing so, limits the low end power band because there is a bottom
limit as to where the piston will strike the anvil. Sometimes, as
you know, this is too much force for the cut you want to execute,
especially if you are attempting to execute very fine cuts. In the
past using GRS tools, I simply compensated for this quirk by
reverting to pushing the graver by hand power with no assistance from
the machine, or used a traditional hand graver. I found that if I
didn’t do this and applied the foot control to just enough power to
cause the piston to strike, it resulted in too deep or too heavy of a
cut for my purposes, or I had to try and hold the tool back somewhat
to achieve the lightness of cut I desired. Bleeding some of the air
pressure off as suggested has unsatisfactory results as well. This
was one of the main drawbacks of the design I found. If the spring is
made weaker to compensate for this effect, it hampers the tool’s high
end power because the spring is not of sufficient strength to return
the piston quickly enough to get the full benefit of the strike. I
direct your attention to the following URL, Lindsay’s patent for the
tools, where this is explained in detail under Description of Prior

You will notice that one of the claims of his patent is that his
design overcomes this problem. In simple terms, what this means is
that where the GRS tools require a certain substantial amount of air
pressure to cause the piston to strike, the Lindsay tool does not
require anywhere near this amount because they don’t have to overcome
the resistance of an internal spring. Also, the Lindsay operates on
constant air pressure, not air pulses like the GRS tools and this
means that it has less moving and mechanical parts to fail or to need
cleaning to operate properly, less that can go wrong with the system.
By having no internal spring in the design, the air pressure need
only be sufficient enough to cause the piston to move, and this is
only a very small amount of air pressure indeed, so little that you
can barely sense it by feel. As the Lindsay design returns the piston
due to it’s internal porting and air pressure, no spring is required
and there is also no spring to hamper either the low end or high end
power. The piston’s movement is entirely caused by air pressure in
both directions, on the strike and the return of the piston.

The GRS design is also more limited in that the number of strikes are
proportional to the number of pulses that the apparatus produces. As
you know, this number of strikes or strokes is directly proportional
to the smoothness of the cut you execute, the reason being that each
strike causes the graver to advance and stop until the next strike
occurs when the process is repeated. Each time that this stop occurs
and a new advance starts, the graver leaves a mark in the cut where
it stopped. With the old method of chasing hammers, this was very
much more pronounced and this was one of the main advantages of the
GRS systems over traditional methods. The graver still starts and
stops and leaves the marks, but they are closer together and harder
to distinguish with the power tools, resulting in a smoother looking
cut. This translates into the faster the strikes, the smoother the
cut will turn out. The frequency of strikes in the GRS systems are
limited because the number of pulses reach a point where the pulses
are coming too closely together to allow the piston to return fully
to get the full benefit of the strike, which results in a loss of
power to the tool.

With Lindsay’s tool, the frequency of strikes is dictated by the air
pressure, as the system is a self oscillating one. This allows for a
much greater frequency of strikes without a loss of power and this
frequency of strikes is further adjustable by movement of the anvil
that the piston strikes because this controls the piston’s travel,
call it Dynamic Energy Transfer or whatever you will. It’s the same
thing as a hammer hitting a punch to transfer the force, nothing new
about that. The shorter the distance the piston has to travel to
strike the anvil, the greater the frequency of strikes. By adjusting
this frequency, one can better control the cut being executed and
produce smoother cuts, and by adjusting the air pressure supplied to
the system, you control the force behind each strike. A light, fine
cut would require less pressure than a heavy, deep one, similar to
how a light cut with a chasing hammer would require less force than a
heavy, deep one. This may all be ‘fiddle factor’ to you, Sam, but it
is versatility to me because it allows for greater control of the
tool. No one is disputing your abilities with the GRS equipment, nor
could one even try. Your work speaks for itself, but this doesn’t
change the fact of the design superiority of Lindsay’s tools.

Mr. Glaser’s design is indeed a very good and revolutionary one for
it’s time, but I feel that Lindsay’s new design is a superior one.
Maybe someone who has only used GRS’s design cannot distinguish the
difference because they have never experienced it, or they revert to
pushing the graver by hand as I was doing. To simply deny the
existence of something doesn’t preclude it’s existence.

The simple fact is that Lindsay’s are more precisely adjustable as to
their power and anyone who tries both tools will recognize this
difference, I think. Maybe Steve Lindsay doesn’t have a masters
degree and etc. like Mr. Glaser, but he is a very accomplished
engraver with years of experience engraving and I think that this
more than compensates for it, besides the fact that he has a degree
in Tool and Die, Mold Making, and Mechanical Engineering. Using
these tools day in, day out for years has certainly given him a
certain insight into the mechanics of these tools, and I believe, as
I said, that anyone who tries both tools will recognize his tool’s
superiority. His work with the tools he produces also speaks for
itself, see:

And while I also am not an employee of Lindsay, GRS, or any other
tool company, I also contract for a lot of companies that I claim not
to be an employee of, but the OG (oligarch government) and the Social
Security Administration feel that I am indeed an employee of them if
I accept any payment from these companies, so I would also beg to
differ as to whether you are an employee of GRS or not unless you
donate your time there teaching and promoting at all those shows. :^)

Also there is another major difference in the two tools. With
Lindsay’s tools, they are all hand made, fitted, and tested by the
inventor before being sent out for sale. Steve Lindsay not only puts
the personal touch in his tools, he networks with each buyer after
the sale, personally, to insure that the purchaser is satisfied and
knowledgeable about them. The manuals he provides are also very
precise and detailed and shorten the learning curve as to the tool’s

As an example, I had a particular problem with an engraving job that
I had before I found out about Lindsay’s tool and the GRS tools that
I was using at the time simply would not work due to geometric
limitations or would not work sufficiently. After learning about
Lindsay’s tools, I contacted him and he helped me with my problem
with a new design he was working on and by doing this, he got me out
of a troublesome spot while I could get no response from GRS about it
at all, in spite of the fact that I had done business with them for
over years. To me this says everything because Lindsay is genuinely
interested and concerned that his tools work for the purchaser, which
is saying a lot for this day and time.

My opinion may not be the popular one due to GRS’s proliferation in
the market, but I think that anyone who tries both tools will
recognize the difference. This isn’t intended as a ‘slam’ to GRS- on
the contrary, if GRS comes up with a superior design, or any other
company for that matter, I will use their product as I use only what
I consider the best available. I also own other tools GRS makes and
use them on occasion. GRS makes good production type tools, but I for
one prefer to use a more precise tool for my engraving work and
Lindsay’s tool is the most precise one that there is available. I
didn’t say that it was CHEAP, but then, you won’t find a cheap Rolls
Royce either. :^) You want the best, you have to pay for it, and in
this case it would still be worth it at twice the price. Which
reminds me that I heard a rumor that the price of Lindsay’s tools is
due to go up. :^)

Also, should anyone be interested, there is a BBS for Hand Engravers
@ that several accomplished
engravers are using for the dissemination of about our
craft and also there are quite a few members who are learning the
craft and benefitting from the expertise of them.

Thanks for the opportunity for the discussion of these issues, Sam.

Best Regards,

Ricky Low

Hand Engraver and Jeweler, Houston, Texas USA

Disclaimer* I am not an employee of or otherwise connected with any
tool company mentioned, nor do I receive renumeration in any manner
for my opinion or promotion of products described herein. I speak
strictly as a user of these tools and the opinion expressed is mine
alone and does not reflect the views or opinions of any other person
or entity and this opinion is the result of many years of experience
in the trade using the equipment described. This opinion is freely
given with no malice intended in order that other interested parties
may be helped in some manner and is in no way intended to harm,
damage, disparage or slander any person or entity.