I am NOT expert or even very experienced engraving metals - but am a
long-lifetime woodworker and metal worker.
That said, whatever tools you end up using, the feel of copper is
very different than the feel of silver. You might learn something if
you practice on copper but the feedback you get through your hands
won’t necessarily translate across to silver. Likewise with other
metals like brass, bronze, etc ad infinitum. They all feel and cut
differently. Like the difference between carving white pine, walnut,
or oak - all different.
Second point - the same metal will feel and cut differently
depending on whether it is annealed or hardened - so that’s just
another thing to which you must pay attention.
On your basic question - using wood tools on metal - probably not a
good idea. Even if the hardness of the tools is similar, the
relatively thin cutting edges of wood-carving tools would make them
almost useless on metal; vulnerable to break or bend when pushed up
against metals which are much harder than wood. So, even if the
hardness and basic shape of the tool is adaptable, you would have to
regrind it to such radically different angles that it would then be
useless as a wood carving tool. So, what you would be doing is
destroying a set of wood carving tools (that is a loss) to make a
set of metal engraving tools. But have you gained any value? Plus
you have had to put in a lot of your time at a task which requires a
lot of expertise, likely ruining the temper along the way. Many
metal engravers, even when they buy off-the-shelf purpose-made
engraving tools then make subtle modifications according to their
experience. But there are no big secrets. Many books and, almost
certainly on Orchid archives, info on types and uses of engraving
tools easily available…
Good luck - Probably you should get some basic engraving tools and
do a little reading at least.
Marty - in the groove