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[Workshop] [CA] Basic hand engraving


#1

Hands on workshop held at SJAS in Stockton, CA from April 4 - 8th.

Covers bench setup, references, suppliers, publications, shaping
sharpening gravers, basic cuts, and putting them all together for
lettering, monograms, floral, and scrollwork. Hand pushed or power
assisted.

ALL makes & models of power assist tools are available for “test
driving.” If there’s time and sufficient interest, a simple bead
setting demonstration will be added.

Cost is $750 Everything supplied including printed notes.

209-477-0550 for more details.

Brian Marshall


#2
ALL makes & models of power assist tools are available for "test
driving." If there's time and sufficient interest, a simple bead
setting demonstration will be added. 

It is alway great news that someone still teaching hand engraving. I
sincerely hope demand for seats would outstrip the supply. I also
hope that everyone attending, would turn down the offer to testdrive
power assist tools, because nothing is as destructive to acquisition
of engraving skills as power assisted gadgets.

To further this goal, I am providing a link to video, which
demonstrates master engraver at work. Those who decide to go power
assisted route, at least should know what they are giving up.

Youtube: Silver Engraving with Ethan Jacczak

While watching, notice how little layout it takes, and the use of
left hand. This is a real treat.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#3

Hi everyone,

Once again I’m amused at Leonid’s remarks about any topic discussed
on this forum. I’ve been hand engraving for twenty years now and when
the power assisted gravers came to the market place I was more than
happy to give them a try. I found the transition was not only great
for my hands, but even better for my wallet. Leonid, some of the best
engravers in the world are using power assisted gravers. One of the
best being Steve Lindsay. The bottom line is the end result, a new
person can take a one week class using power assisted gravers and
learn far more about sharpening and engraving then reading a book and
trying to cut lines on their own in far less time. I suppose you
haven’t allowed yourself to use a flex shaft machine because
polishing by hand is the only pure form of a master. Let’s face it,
machines have helped us to do great work faster, but only time
working at the bench is going to make improvements in quality and
precision.

Amen,
Mark


#4

Hi Leonid,

Ethan Jacczak and I are acquainted, he has visited my home & shop:)
I still do quite a bit of my work in the same way he does. But, for
the same reason - you cannot compete in the real world by polishing
your work with a cloth by hand, I have accommodated whatever
technology was necessary/available to stay competitive in my work.

I assume you own a polishing machine? Perhaps a car - or do you walk
everywhere? (Upgrade to a horse and buggy:) Use electricity to light
your shop or kerosene lanterns?

Blowpipe or fuel gases? (I’ve read your opinion on laser welders:)
All of these older tools and methods will still work, but I haven’t
got the extra time, nor will my average customer appreciate or pay
for that extra time. I too am sad to see some of the old ways pass
into disuse - but I am not a Luddite either… I have bills to pay.

I invite you to come and spend a weekend up here, just “hanging
out”. You will be better informed on the subject by having actually
had ALL of the tools in YOUR hands and spending a few hours comparing
them. Lots has changed in the 42 years I have been engraving…

The tools themselves, methods of holding and fixturing work, graver
geometries, graver alloys, design and transfer methods, inlay and
overlay techniques, working under magification… the list goes on…
You just have to pick and choose amongst the much more numerous
options available to us at this moment in time.

You sir, are writing your posts from a computer - perhaps a bit
conflicted? 'nuff said:)

Brian Marshall


#5
You sir, are writing your posts from a computer - perhaps a bit
conflicted? 'nuff said:) 

Why do people assume that because I prefer to use old methods in my
work, I somehow do not understand technology. The reason I use old
methods, because they are simply better.

Let me try another approach here. Let’s take fine watchmaking. When
each and every part is made individually. Such watches, even when
made by the very best craftsmen, still do not keep time as good as
cheap quartz watch. So we must understand why somebody would spend
several hundred thousands on a watch, which keep time not as good as
10 dollar watch. The answer is, people are fascinated by something
they do not understand. Quartz watch they understand - push a button
and watch is ready. To make watch starting with raw materials is
something else, and they want to have it, and they are willing to pay
for it. The same is true of jewellery, engraving, and etc…

Hundred years ago, most of the watches were made piece by piece. Than
watchmakers started to use technology more and more. Now, it takes
only a few seconds to make a watch in factory environment, but who is
benefited by that. The only watchmakers who still make fine living
are those who make watches exactly like it was done a hundred years
ago. And that is the point.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#6
I've been hand engraving for twenty years now and when the power
assisted gravers came to the market place I was more than happy to
give them a try. I found the transition was not only great for my
hands, but even better for my wallet. 

You see, here is the thing. If you trained to do hand engraving and
than switch to power assist, it is fine. You have the skills, and
machine makes it easier.

If you never engraved before and start using machine right away, you
have no skills, and you will never have them, and that is the
problem. This is not the first argument about engraving, and
everybody comments, "I was trained to do hand engraving, and after
many years, I tried and I like it "Sure, but show me a great
engraver, who never was trained to do it by hand and become great by
using machine from day one.

Another things is the type of engraving which shown on video, is not
even possible with the machine.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#7

Leonid is not conflicted in the least. He is very adamant about
using powered tools for engraving. Basically, as Leonid sees it, if
power is used in any way for any aspect, it’s not engraving.

I respect Leonid’s adherence to the old traditional ways of doing
things, in fact I embrace many of them myself. However I still have
not seen a single line that he himself has engraved. It seems much
more of a case of “do as I say, not as I do”, as Leonid obviously
does not know nearly as much about engraving (or many other issues)
as he portends.

We have had this discussion many times, in fact just about every
time the subject of engraving comes up. I would recommend to anyone
contemplating learning how to engrave to consult with someone that
actually does engraving as opposed to taking as gospel the word of
someone that says they know all about it. The workshop that is the
original subject of this thread sounds to me to be the perfect place
to start. I would also encourage people to try all of the power tools
as well as push gravers and see for yourself what works best for you.

If there is one absolute about what we all do, it is that there are
no absolutes about what is the right way or the wrong way to do
anything. There are only ways that work, and ways that don’t work.
Quite often the ways that work for me will not work for someone else,
and vise versa. None of them are wrong. The proof of what works will
be seen in the finished product.

I will challenge you yet again, Leonid. You can easily do a short
video, your DVD series is clear proof of that. Let’s see some of your
engraving. Don’t just explain, show us how you sharpen a push graver
and engrave with it and then demonstrate why the same can’t be done
with power. Perhaps one of Steve Lindsay’s videos using an AirGraver
can demonstrate that part better than you can. This one might help
make your case

Hand Engraving lettering Brannen gold flute, part 1 of 4

Dave Phelps


#8

As Mark and Brian both say, technology and craftsmanship are not
mutually exclusive. I am not an engraver myself, just using the basic
tools and skills I have acquired for general jewelery work, but I was
acquainted with several students of hand engraving when we were all
students at Bowman Tech in the 70’s.

The hand engraving course was a 6 month course, and some very good
engravers got their training there. I saw large sterling final
project plates engraved in the same kind of detail as the video
Leonid linked to. Many of these students went on to power assisted
engraving, as it both increased their production and it also allowed
them to work in many harder metal, engraving collectible firearms and
knives.

At the bench today, I would be severely handicapped if I had to use
only technology that was common 2 centuries or so back. I can solder
using alcohol and a blow pipe, file and saw exclusively with hand
tools, set using a hand drill and engraving tools exclusively, and do
all polishing and lapping with leather and felt hand buffs, as I did
have to learn to use these tools in training, but what a pain that
would be, and no one would be able to afford my labor.

Once one has the skills to do real craftsmanship, technological
improvements do not necessarily decrease that craftsmanship. IF, tho,
one uses the technology to replace craftsmanship, the negative
results on the products they produce are quite obvious.

Jim


#9
I respect Leonid's adherence to the old traditional ways of doing
things, in fact I embrace many of them myself. However I still
have not seen a single line that he himself has engraved. It seems
much more of a case of "do as I say, not as I do", as Leonid
obviously does not know nearly as much about engraving (or many
other issues) as he portends. 

If you are in jewellery for sometime, you have seen my engraving, may
be not necessarily mine, but people that I trained, but there is some
of mine in the mix. Here are some facts, not opinions. From 1979 to
1986, engraving was 90% of my business. The name of the company was
VVS Jewelers, and I was the only one who did it on large scale. You
are in business, check it out. My shop, 8 engravers, we did on
average 1000 bangles a day, florentine finish, hand cut of course,
and bright cut. You still want to challenge me ? Think very hard.

I will challenge you yet again, Leonid. You can easily do a short
video, your DVD series is clear proof of that. Let's see some of
your engraving. Don't just explain, show us how you sharpen a push
graver and engrave with it and then demonstrate why the same can't
be done with power. Perhaps one of Steve Lindsay's videos using an
AirGraver can demonstrate that part better than you can. This one
might help make your case 

As far as making DVD about engraving, I have been considering it, I
still may do it. Can’t say for sure. Making a DVD is not simple and a
lot of things involved there. We shall see. DVD is a commercial
venture and it has to make sense, I need to study this a bit further.
However, If you place an advance order for 1000 units, I can get one
ready for the market in couple of months. So let me know.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#10

Hi Brian,

Regarding your announcement (I’m shamelessly posting the
announcement again so folks whom may have missed it will see it
HERE)

Hands on workshop held at SJAS in Stockton, CA from April 4 - 8th.
Covers bench setup, references, suppliers, publications, shaping
sharpening gravers, basic cuts, and putting them all together for
lettering, monograms, floral, and scrollwork. Hand pushed or power
assisted. ALL makes & models of power assist tools are available
for "test driving." If there's time and sufficient interest, a
simple bead setting demonstration will be added. Cost is $750
Everything supplied including printed notes. 209-477-0550 for more
details.

I attended your 3-day intensive ‘beginning engraving’ class in
February, 2010. You went out of your way, in my opinion, to give us
all a chance to spend as much time as we possibly could, doing
Hands-On learning in those 3 days - even by allowing us all to come
back in the evening and spend an extra 3 1/2 hours working in the
shop at no charge for the studio time, with you present, guiding us.
THANK YOU!!!

That said, I believe that THIS 5-day series of classes would be the
BEST FORMAT for really absorbing everything that you covered, with
some extra down-time (evenings?) scheduled in-between for
absorption, cogitation and processing! In addition to everything I
grasped about engraving itself, seeing and spending time in your own
shop layout (with all of the other metalworking, jewelry making and
working antique tools) and being able to try out ALL of the tools
(power assist AND OTHERWISE -pretty much everything “out there” in
the marketplace), cannot really be expressed in a sentence or two.
Suffice it to say, I was able to gain a real sense of what engraving
is all about, and additionally got a clear picture of what
"work-flow" in a fully furnished shop/studio layout might entail.
Invaluable!!!

Anyway, for anyone out there toying with the idea of engraving out
of curiosity; for anyone wanting to pursue engraving seriously; for
those ‘sitting on the fence’ wondering whether to commit to this
class, I want to encourage each of you to GO FOR IT! You will not be
disappointed!

Lastly Brian, here is the email I wrote you over a year ago. I
(shamefully) did not post it to this forum then, out of pure
laziness. Anyway, here it is now, dedicated to those whom it might
benefit:

Just wanted to drop a line to say again, thank you for the great
class! I think, to cover all of the important basics must be a
challenge in itself - let alone fitting it into 3 days without
sacraficing vital material and still allowing enough time for
students to get their feet wet - all this, while tailoring
content to individuals' needs and interests. 

Great job!
Thank you!
Kind regards,
Charlie


#11

Had a representative from GRS come out to Australia last year and
ran a few classes on the GRS range.

You couldn’t call his work substandard or “not” engraving, to do so
would be foolish.

Regards Charles A.


#12

Leonid,

I love a good argument as well as the next guy, but you are
completely out of your league - You haven’t the experience, you have
never made a living as a professional engraver, and you have never
held the tools in question in your hand, tried one one out, much
less owned them…

Your statement “Another things is the type of engraving which shown
on video, is not even possible with the machine.” - Is ABSOLUTELY
FALSE! I do it every day, and have for the past 22 years… and I’ve
offered the opportunity to learn it and a dozen other styles to well
over 400 students in the past 12 years.

Yes, I engraved by hand push, just like Ethan for the previous 20
years. (I started in 1969) That cost me 5 carpal tunnel surgeries, 2
elbow release surgeries, and a shoulder surgery. From that factual
experience, I can tell you or anyone else that these newer power
assisted tools will slow down and possible even prevent that kind of
physical damage. The choice is yours to make.

The offer is still open. Come up here and get some experience with
the tools in question. ALL of them. Then, and only then - will you be
qualified to post about them…

Watch me actually match the “impossible” engraving that you refer
to. In fact, I can use both hand and power assisted tools right in
front of your eyes. Then mix the two examples up behind my back and
let’s see you pick out the one that was done by “hand.”

The truth is that both are done by “hand”. I can’t count the times
that people have come up with your argument. I simply stop whatever I
am doing and put the tool down on top of a piece work in front of
them.

Then I politely order the tool to get busy and engrave the piece.

Nothing ever happens… without my hands.

I am very busy actually engraving, and not just speculationg about
it. Tonight I am doing the kind of engraving that is "not possible"
with power asssisted tool - according to you - and I have no more
time to waste with this.

Brian

(By the way, that particular engraving style is called Western Bright
Cut, and it originated here in California with an engraver named
Francis Harry - but of course you knew that, right? He was one of my
teachers…)


#13
Why do people assume that because I prefer to use old methods in
my work, I somehow do not understand technology. The reason I use
old methods, because they are simply better. 

“Old” methods are ALWAYS best, huh?

Where do you find doctors that practice bloodletting these days? I
can tell you that I would not be sitting here writing this post if my
own doctors had depended on that method…

So we know by your general statement then - that your own personal
"designer" clothing has been made from cotton that you picked,
threads that you spun and wove yourself, designed the patterns for,
and then sewed by hand. Because of course that is the “best”? I look
forward to seeing your sartorial skills when we meet. I might be more
interested in the watch you are wearing though. Personally, I haven’t
worn one in 12 years, but for totally unrelated reasons.

And all Orchid members must know by now that you personally go out
and dig or pan your own gold, refine it using alchemy, alloy it with
other metals you’ve mined yourself, pound your metal into sheet,
draw all your own wire, make your all your own solders, mine your own
borax, make your boric acid, solder on coals with a blowpipe, polish
with leather (of course you killed/tanned it yourself?) and handmade
made cloth or felt with compounds you made yourself, and clean up
the final product using handmade hair brushes with soaps that you
made from scratch… EXACTLY like it was done all those years ago?
And you do all this because it’s “better”?

Don’t forget the steel for hammer heads, files, and sawblades - and
of course graver blanks:)

Let’s see now, that should make you the most exclusive and most
expensive goldsmith on the planet, right? Better’n Tiffany, Cartier
and Bulgari even, because they all use a few power assisted
engraving/setting tools these days… yeah, it’s horrifying, but
true.

Living and working like this, under a tree or in a cave somewhere,
I’m beginning to understand how you can afford a really really fancy
computer to post with. All that money you must make…

But where do you find the time to write these posts? In between
mining, smelting, making your own sawblades and weaving underwear
that’s way too tight? :slight_smile:

I will eagerly await your response next month - by smoke signal - of
course, it’ll take some time to relay it up here since “old methods
are simply better.”

Brian Marshall


#14

I suspect Mozart would have been at the head of the line to get one,
if electric pianos and synthesizers had been available in his day.

John in Indiana


#15
love a good argument as well as the next guy, but you are
completely out of your league - You haven't the experience, you
have never made a living as a professional engraver, and you have
never held the tools in question in your hand, tried one one out,
much less owned them... 

I really would love to know what is the basis for your assumptions.

As far as potential medical problems that you seem to imply
resulting from hand engraving, it is sheer nonsense. I am over 60. I
start working when I was 15 years old. I got all my education through
night schooling. I worked as tool and die maker, chaser, engraver,
and presently goldsmith.

I can say I am using gravers for 45 years in one capacity or another.
My wrists are still much stronger than average male 20 years younger.
So, if anything at all, the results have been only positive. For
muscle to stay young, it needs exercise.

However, I do need to address another issue. When I posted about that
learning with power assisted graver is detrimental to acquiring real
engraving skills, all response so far did not contradicted to what I
said. Instead of arguing the issue, you, and some others, are trying
to attack me.

If you believe in what you are selling, than stand up and defend it.
Make you case intelligently and coherently, if you can. If all you
can do is to attack a messenger, it does not bode well for your side
of the argument.

Eleanor Roosevelt said “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds
discuss events; small minds discuss people”. I certainly hope that
this discussing does not reflect who you are.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#16
Where do you find doctors that practice bloodletting these days? I
can tell you that I would not be sitting here writing this post if
my own doctors had depended on that method... 

No amount of taking out of context, no amount of ad hominem, no
amount of red herring is going to to win the argument. As I said in
another post, if you have a case, than make it. So far a I have not
seen any of it.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#17
You couldn't call his work substandard or "not" engraving, to do
so would be foolish. 

In order to judge the quality of something, one must know what the
standards are. I am quite sure that a factory representative can put
together a good show. Remember that while attending magician’s
performance, public is always impressed. It is only other magicians
in attendance, who can see through the trickery.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#18

My apologies Leonid… I was already cranky, and that got a little
out of hand.

If you push enough buttons, someone is gonna fire back. You’re still
on the forum, so you must have learned to duck by now:)

It was mostly tongue in cheek, but using a computer to communicate
with might’ve tipped me over the edge.

My offer stands. Come up here and see my side of the argument in
person.

And thanks for the kind words Charlie. Hope you are using what you
learned. Send me some images? Or stop by when you are headed south?

Brian


#19

This is an update in regards to this thread.

We, me and Brian, exchanged few emails and decided that we can
continue this discussion face to face, sometime in the future.
Emails, as good as they are, sometimes can mis-represent the actual
demeanor, and it will more constructive to suspend this subject for
the time been.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#20

Space is available in a 3 day Basic Engraving Workshop over the
Labor Day weekend - Sept… 1, 2, 3.

Cost is $480, ALL tools available to try out, all materials
supplied, 28 pages of notes included.

Contact for more info.
Brian Marshall
209-477-0550
Stockton, CA, USA
Jewelryartschool.com