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I have been starting to buy supplies to start my workshop. I was wondering what you guys use to engrave metal. Would a dremel work? I Know I could do some of the work with file. But what about when a file wont work?

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Metal is engraved using small "chisels" called "Gravers." They are commercially available, and also (I'm told) quite easy to make.

 

I am far from an expert on this subject, but had an oppertunity to meet Ford Hallam a while back and he showed me some of the tools I woul be needing to do engraving the traditional Japanese style. I am about to forge out some of them and will post the results. As far as I could work out, there are two basic types: Those that you use with a hammer (A range of very small hammers) and those you use only with your hands.

 

Regards

Wayne

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Thats one way of doing it and you can buy recipricating engravers from a few bucks up to over a thousand bucks do a search on engravers a dremel is a rotory tool and tends to skid all over the place I have seen them for around $35 usd hand held elec variable speed and 2 impact settings if i can find the link again i will post it for you

 

cheers tell

 

here is just one i found http://www.amazon.com/Dremel-Variable-Spee...r/dp/B000GHV1Q4

Edited by tell

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It depends greatly on what type of engraving you want to do. I'd love one of those mega-expensive air gravers, but I do it the old-fashioned way with chasing hammers, gravers, and push gravers. I make my own gravers from 1/8" music wire (1095), so it's cheap. Here's some of what you can do with one 1/8" square graver and one 120° push graver:

 

Finished_lock_detail.jpg

 

engraved_hawk.jpg

 

and here's a pic of me engraving runes on a hammerhead with the square graver and a 1-inch chasing hammer:

 

Alan_20L_20engraving_20closeup.jpg

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Very nice work i love old muskets.

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Alan,

 

how do you do the HT on 1095 for gravers?

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Alan,

 

how do you do the HT on 1095 for gravers?

 

Grind the point, normalize a few times using a propane torch (1/8" stock heats fast!), harden, polish the end, and use the torch to just barely draw a temper on the cutting end by heating the middle of the shaft until the tip barely begins to show the first trace of light straw color.

 

The whole tool is about 3 inches long.

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thank's I need to make a new set of gravers.

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Alan, I have a couple of questions for you, if I may. What shapes are the working ends of the gravers? Are they pointed at all or are you just using the corner of a square end? Also, it looks in your picture like you're using it on a very shallow angle, is this just the picture, or is this really how it is used? Does the angle depend on what you're trying to achieve? I'm trying to wrap my head around how some of the different marks are created and not having a heck of a lot of luck, maybe I should just make a couple of different shapes and see what they do.

 

Last question: how exactly does the striker plate on a flint lock work (you seem to be the guy to ask)? I was reading the thread on flint strikers and some of the associated links, and they seem to say it's tricky to get good sparks sometimes. This made me wonder about the shape of flint lock striker plates and how they manage to work reliably, or at least mostly so.

 

BTW, nice work!

 

cheers,

/steve

Edited by Steve R

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Steve, for the square graver you need a slight relief angle under the point to cut. Otherwise you just drive it in until it breaks. The face of the graver can be anywhere from 45 to 60 degrees to the body, depending on what metal you're cutting, and the relief angle on the underside is from 1 to 7 degrees. This forms a heel, or if you make a long one a keel, that helps in cutting straight lines or tight curves depending on how long you make it. There's a whole lot of angles to keep track of until you get the feel for what you're doing.

 

These angles, especially the relief angle, determines how close to the work the struck end of the graver can ride. Find a copy of "The Art of Engraving" by J.B. Meeks for good illustrations of how all these angles work together.

 

As for the frizzen or steel on a flintlock, the struck face is hardened and ground on a slight curve so that the sharp edge of the flint scrapes down the length of it when fired. VERY complicated geometry between the cock (hammer) and the frizzen face, with the force of the flint camming the frizzen upwards against a spring detent while showering sparks into the pan.

 

 

I'd keep on, but the bandaid on my index finger makes it hard to type without hitting two or three keys at once and I'm getting tired of correcting my mistakes... :rolleyes::lol: It was the edge of a belt on the grinder that caused it. Not deep, but annoying just the same. <_<

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Grind the point, normalize a few times using a propane torch (1/8" stock heats fast!), harden, polish the end, and use the torch to just barely draw a temper on the cutting end by heating the middle of the shaft until the tip barely begins to show the first trace of light straw color.

 

The whole tool is about 3 inches long.

 

Or put the tool in an electric oven (small kitchen ones) at the temperature you want for as long as you should.

 

There's plenty of bibliography on western style engraving that you can browse in amazon, just run a search for engraving. For japanese metal work that is a whole different kettle of fish and your best bet (taking into consideration that there are no teachers spread all over the world) is to find a book called Kinko Dento Geiho and see if you can have it translated. Failing that there's Ford Hallam's blog and also Jim Kelso. I received some tuition from Ford but I'm afraid I am not in the position to relay any of it and in any case much of it is based on observation and much practice of the techniques.

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Hey folks, thanks for the info and links. I'd really love to get more info about some of the Japanese style metalwork; thanks for that book title, Hÿllyn. I'll be sure to look it up.

 

Alan - I think I'll leave the flintlocks to you and stick to blades and tools! I can imagine it isn't easy to get right.

 

cheers,

/steve

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It really helps with flintlocks to have a working one beside you to get the parts in the right place. ;)

 

As for the engraving stuff, my methods are very much like Sam Alfano's above, except he has a GRS power system and I have a little hammer. :rolleyes: Same results, just takes longer. :lol: Well, and he's good, and I suck, but we all have to start somewhere, eh? B)

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I actually appreciate your style lots,Alan.i really believe that there exists a certain "appropriatness",between the history behind the object,the location,and the style in which it's executed.So given your choice of period objects,and the fact that their source is your own heritage,and where you're at,i find your stuff extremely "fitting"-something that no amount of slickness at a given skill can ever hold a candle to...But again,that's just my thoughts.

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Oh, yeah, I've heard of him and seen his work. NICE stuff! Thanks for the link, though, I did not have that.

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Alan,,

 

I am curious to know if you made the lock,and other iron parts for the flintlock?

 

anvil

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Alan,,

 

I am curious to know if you made the lock,and other iron parts for the flintlock?

 

anvil

 

I did not make the lock or the barrel, as the customer wasn't willing to pay for that, nor did he trust my forge-welding skills enough for a barrel. :ph34r: I did make all the other iron and silver parts, and some of the brass.

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Do all GRS gravers work on knife steel. Sorry for the stupid question but I'm thinking of buying a starter set and don't want to get the wrong thing. I'm looking at buying them from Rio Grande. Thanks a lot.

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Lolo,

Yes they do... the system three is the least expensive... I used one for a few years.... it doesn't have as fine of adjustments for control that the more expensive ones do but it gets the job done... Note. you need to supply your own compressor with the system three... I used a little cheap pancake compressor and it worked fine....I found it most important to get a sharpening fixture from them to enable getting the geometry of the gravers correct..

 

Dick

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Lolo,

Yes they do... the system three is the least expensive... I used one for a few years.... it doesn't have as fine of adjustments for control that the more expensive ones do but it gets the job done... Note. you need to supply your own compressor with the system three... I used a little cheap pancake compressor and it worked fine....I found it most important to get a sharpening fixture from them to enable getting the geometry of the gravers correct..

 

Dick

If I wanted to try to save money, could I buy the hand piece and gravers and use a pre-existing regulator and needle valve for throttle? Thanks

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Lolo,

 

I don't remember if you can buy all the parts separately ...usually they sell "Kits" cheaper than if you buy all the parts one at a time... I think a regulator for it was in the range of $30 from a different vendor .. you'll have to add up the parts if they do sell them separately to see how it comes out...

 

Dick

 

I just looked in my catalog and I don't see the parts listed separately... you could call or e-mail them to see if they do.

 

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