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Can someone show me some pics or diagrams for the geomety of the cutting points on various gravers? I have asked around but the professional gravers general response is " well you wont get anything done unless you buy a $500 dollar air graver made from super X tool steel , and fork over another 10 grand for me to teach you how to use it" All i want to do is try to learn enough engraving to do borders on lockplates and hammers for muzzleoaders.

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Blake, if you want to learn simple hammer-chasing it's very difficult to teach yourself. Books, like J.B. Meeks' "The Art of Engraving" will show you the point geometries, but a few minutes of personal instruction will save you a few years of effort.


Sam Alfano's website is good as well, I use many of his techniques. Sam Alfano's site


I learned how to do exactly what you're asking from a fellow named John Schippers in a class taught at Conner Prairie, just outside Indianapolis. It's not cheap, $495 for the class alone, but that sure beats anywhere else, even including the airfare from HI.


Here's the link: http://www.connerprairie.org/Plan-Your-Vis...g-Workshop.aspx


I'm glad they finally got it online, for the first 19 years they pretended it didn't exist because it was politically incorrect to teach people how to make guns and knives... :rolleyes:<_< It's the best money and time you will EVER spend on learning a non-forging skill.


Here's an example of what I learned to do after this five-day class:










This was all done with one hammer-driven graver, two push gravers, and a 1" face chasing hammer, using an optivisor (#5 lens) for magnification, in an ordinary vise. No air gravers, no microscopes, no engraving ball, no sharpening jigs, no diamond lap wheels, or any of that other stuff you supposedly HAVE to have. I started out with commercial HSS gravers, but now I make my own out of 1/8" music wire, which is basically 1095.


Admittedly, if you want to do truly fine engraving on bolsters and so on all that stuff really helps, but if an uncoordinated idiot such as myself can be taught how to do what I did in those pictures, anyone can do it. Really! But don't screw around, just spend the money and take the class. You'll never regret it for a second.

Edited by Alan Longmire
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Steve Lindsay has a graver sharpening system that works well for his patented point. His site is as amazing as his engraving and he has a wonderful forum on engraving as well Check it out Steve Lindsay Engraving



Oh my god, Steve's work is spectacular.

Let not the swords of good and free men be reforged into plowshares, but may they rest in a place of honor; ready, well oiled and God willing unused. For if the price of peace becomes licking the boots of tyrants, then "To Arms!" I say, and may the fortunes of war smile upon patriots

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  • 1 month later...

I've made all my gravers out of old drill rod/bits and other "tool" steels. Old allen wrenches work well. I prefer to anneal them, shape with a file and then do a quicky heat treat. You can use a grinder but filing makes a nicer tool. Face of most gravers are 45 degrees. From there you can make the tool a flat, V (or square, the term engravers use) or a round. It's really simple. Review the post over on the engraving forum to get better details. True, Steve's gravers are the best but engravers of old would have sold their grandmother for the scrap steel we overlook. If you have a Brownells catalog they have pictures of gravers you can use for a guide.


My first graver was a round made from a broken drill bit mounted in a block of scrap wood. I still uses it, mostly as a wiggle graver.


Details like the heel and getting a really sharp tool just takes practice.


Hope that helps. It takes longer to teach yourself but it can be done. If you can make a knife a graver should be simple.



Edited by JP Anderson

John P. Anderson

Havre, Montana

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You can buy gravers for $7 or $8 each from GRS or from jewelry catologs. Go to the engraving sights listed an read all you can. Do search's on graver sharpening. Yes they all have fixtures and such for sharpening gravers, but you don't really need them. They do make it easier, and you will get repeatable results with them, but you can do them by hand on stones. Read up on the point geometry, and about the heel on the gravers. This is very important. With out the heel you will really have a hard time. Before all these power hones came out and the sharpening fixtures and templates it was all done by hand. Get the art of engraving by James Meek. It shows you how to do it by hand, and a lot of other good stuff. You don't need all that high tech stuff. However if you really get the itch later to really start engraving full time, then you can go nuts and spend thousands of dollars for tools. But for what you want to do, get a couple of square gravers, a sharpening stone and Meeks book and you should be good to go.


Tony G

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I found the thread.....

Go to the carving path site

under the metal working subject heading...

go to the third page and under Gravers, lets discuss gravers here


in that thread Jim posted some nice step by step pics of sharpenning a graver...


Alan ...." you lernt good "



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