I need some advise on how to properly sharpen my gravers for hand
engraving. Can anyone suggest a book or DVD?
I need some advise on how to properly sharpen my gravers for hand
Yes, Go to the GRS web site, you’ll find all kinds of set ups for
your needs. Try Steve Lindsay’s web page also, he sells templates to
sharpen a number of different shaped gravers. You’ll love his work
it’s some of the best in the country.
Have you already got your gravers? If not, the templates shown on
this site take square graver rod and will replicate the angles time
after time for the shapes that the templates are designed for. These
graver blanks are not solely used in power engraving systems but can
be fitted into traditional handles too.
Otherwise there are a number of books available, many engravers
often refer to “The Art of Engraving” by Meeks. I should warn that
being able to sharpen the gravers to specific angles is a skill that
may take time but having done so will give a sense of achievement.
I need some advise on how to properly sharpen my gravers for hand engraving. Can anyone suggest a book or DVD?
There is a fairly decent tutorial in the Ganoksin Benchtubes:
As far as books go, the Revere book on setting has a decent section
on sharpening gravers, also, The Jewelry Engravers Manual by R. Allen
Hardy and John J. Bowman available from Otto Frei has an extensive
section on sharpening gravers.
You can also download several old manuals off of Google books, I
found the The Art Of Engraving useful:
be taken into account depending upon what you are engraving. For
example, setter creating beads need not worry about cutting a proper
"heel" that a script engraver would require…therefore you may want
to find someone to show you the basics of what you are trying to do.
Yes, Go to the GRS web site, you'll find all kinds of set ups for your needs. Try Steve Lindsay's web page also, he sells templates to sharpen a number of different shaped gravers. You'll love his work it's some of the best in the country.
I am not sure that I agree with the above recommendation. The very
foundation of engraving skill is to know how to sharpen. Using
templates is a shortcut which will guarantee that one will never
acquire such skills.
By a book. A good one is by Hardy “The Jewelry Engravers Manual”.
Sharpening is much more involved process than beginners realize.
Besides, every situation requires a set of angles, which are
personal and somewhat unique to every engraver. So take your time in
acquiring sharpening skill. It is a necessary foundation of
everything that is to follow in your training.
The great thing about modern tools is they allow the new student to
start cutting a design in a lot shorter time, and to repeat an angle
perfectly every time. I learned to engrave the old school way which
took many months in the shaping and sharpening of the gravers. In
the end it’s the results that matter, and not the old path we had to
go down at the time of our learning. Sharpening a graver is no longer
a skill that is seen as a sign of excellence, that skill will become
clearer as the student learns why the angles needed will vary to his
or her own preference. The best hand engraving today in America is
done by air gravers and the speed and quality have been taken to the
highest level with the use of microscopes. Old school is fine for
some things such as bright cutting, but when one wants to move into
engraving knives and guns, the time saving devices will help anyone
to work at a more accurate pace. Books are great when we can
understand the principles behind the explanations, so the best way
to learn anything is a hands on approach with a teacher for the
basics. Engraving is a lot more fun and easier to learn if done in a
Of course the foundation of engraving is to know how to
sharpen… No. 1 is a sharp tool with a certain geometry
depending on the job. It’s all about graver geometry. You can learn
how to sharpen it by hand or use “power assisted” sharpening tools.It
is only two different methods. Using “power assisted” sharpening
tools,fixtures, templates and so on, does not at all mean that you
take any shortcuts. For example the Powerhone and a fixture produces
perfect results everytime. Dead flat surfaces. You can set the angle
you wish, so that you can customize the tool the way you like it.
Leonid, when you talk about “shortcuts” are you trying to tell us
that you can’t get perfectly sharpened gravers when using “power
One thing is true, take your time in acquiring sharpening skill. No
matter what method you prefer. Don’t take any shortcuts. When you
have a perfectly sharpened graver it’s time for cutting metal which
is a new set of skills.
Leonid, when you talk about "shortcuts" are you trying to tell us that you can't get perfectly sharpened gravers when using "power assisted" tools?
Powerhone vs hand.
I recommend beginners to learn how to sharpen by hand, because
sharpening by hand teaches stability. One cannot engrave if one
doesn’t have graver control. Sharpening by hand teaches it in the
most effective way that I know.
For a professional it is a personal choice. I do not have it, and it
does not impair me in any way.
Sharpening a graver is no longer a skill that is seen as a sign of excellence, that skill will become clearer as the student learns why the angles needed will vary to his or her own preference. The best hand engraving today in America is done by air gravers and the speed and quality have been taken to the highest level with the use of microscopes.
From time to time this subject raises it’s head like a proverbial
3-head monster, and every time it reminds me of the Honeymooner’s
episode “Chef of the Future”.
It is too bad that we do not have a museum of useless ideas and
gadgets, or it will be quite obvious how many of these "improvements"
come and go, while the traditional techniques are still with us.
I too do not see how using the power hone or templates to shape
and/or sharpen gravers is cheating, or using short cuts, any more
than using a torch is. Sure, I was trained to use an alcohol lamp and
mouth blowpipe to hard solder, but adapting and using new technology
as it becomes available is not sacrificing quality to take shortcuts.
It is using the best or mostefficient tools available to do the job.
It pays to know HOW to do everything the old fashioned, tried and
true way, before adopting the newest tools, so you have the skill
and knowledge to see the difference in end results if one were to
use the new tool without understanding the goal, but one should not
be forced to continue using the old fashioned methods if they can
achieve the same results with newer technology.
We all learned to make and sharpen gravers by hand at Bowman Tech,
but we re not expected to always have to do so, if we found another
method that worked for us, any more than we were expected to do more
with those alchohol lamps and blow pipes than master the original
techniques, before then moving on to the current tools of the trade.