Since I cannot afford to buy gravers to attempt what I want to do, I
though I would have to make some. I know I will need at least a few
for shaping spaces, not necessarily to become an engraver.
These are my initial attempts, as an exercise.
Step 1: Find a screwdriver you are willing to destroy.
These can easily be found for a dime each at yard sales.
Step 2: Use a hacksaw to cut the handle length down to where it can
easily fit inside your hand with thumb extended, just a regular
graver handle. Sand down the resulting rough edges for safer
Step 3: Using a permanent laundry marker, mark where your thumb ends
as you hold the graver.
Step 4: Hold the handle inside a vise. Use a cutoff wheel to mark the
top side in front of the handle with 3 shallow notches, the bottom
side with 2. This will indicate the top and bottom of the tool
respectively during use.
Step 5: Cut off the screwdriver blade, at about an inch beyond the
laundry mark, using the cutoff wheel.
Step 6: Use the stone side of a bench grinder to deburr the cut and
to make the end parallel with the handle.
Step 7: Cut the heel first, 45 degrees give or take with a slight
bend, based on your experience as a graver.
Having none, I judged this a good start. This has been advised to me
on at least one engraving group. This way, you have the proper angle
already before sharpening.
Step 8: Cut a “foot” just behind the heel. That is, given that we
dealing with a screwdriver shaft rather than commercial graver
material, we need to be sure that the pattern on the heel is
responsible for the line being cut.
Step 9: Cut desired shape on the heel, based on standard patterns for
Sharpen the pattern to knife edge, test point with thumbnail so that
the point stays on thumbnail.
Not having a stone handy, I held my graver in a vise and sharpened
the edges with a Dremel chain-saw dressing bit.
That dressing bit keeps them “sharp enough” for a little while.
These are my results on converting screwdrivers into gravers.
These are the tips on the gravers, close up. I made an onglette,
flat, round, lozenge, and knife.
The lozenge was my first attempt. I’m going to try that one again,
I don’t know if these are the largest ones I should make or smaller
to complete the collection. I can always damage more screwdrivers at
10 for a $1.00 USD.
Comments and advice?
Andrew Jonathan Fine