Jim Kelso Posted February 2, 2014 Share Posted February 2, 2014 (edited) Any student of engraving will quickly find that they absolutely must become familiar with point geometry and be able to fashion their own gravers to suit their needs. This applies even to the most elementary exploration as it is nearly impossible to find ready-made tools except for some fairly sophisticated ones. It may appear, when looking at the plethora of information available on the web, that one needs a vast array of gravers or chisels to get anywhere, or that one needs expensive, precision, power driven hones and jigs to produce a functional graver or chisel. Neither of these is true, especially for a simple exploration of line engraving, to see if it appeals to you. The most important and necessary component to have is, as mentioned above, a working knowledge of tool geometry to produce the tool of your needs. Form, indeed, follows function. I cut my engraving teeth by learning to engrave firearms using James Meek's seminal book, The Art Of Engraving. This book has an excellent introduction to graver geometry. Initially I followed Meek's suggestion of using the Crocker graver sharpener along with his stone holding fixture that keeps your bench stones in a fixed relationship to the Crocker. These days, compared to the current crop of sharpening equipage, the Crocker looks positively Flintstonian, but it works well and is cheap. I would recommend the Crocker as a way for a beginner to get a working knowledge of point geometry , or the outfit that Tom recommends in his tutorial http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=24166&hl= After some years of using the Crocker I visited Leonard Francolini, Colt engraver extraordinaire, who shared with me his style of point geometry which I found instantly appealing. Below are photos of how to go about getting it. I use this shape, with variations, for about 80% of my engraving line work, using it in palm-push tools, with a hammer and with the Airgraver, as needs be. It is a fundamentally different geometry than the faceted points obtained by the use of jigs and fixtures. Do not miss seeing Leonard's work and his excellent tutorials HERE I found that I could form this type of tool by eye without the use of any jig. Almost any kind of grinder from a bench grinder to a rotary shaft could be used to form the point. Stones to polish the edge. Of course, as time goes on, you add a variety of specialty chisels depending on your needs, but so much can be done with the simplest of tools. Also, I don't want to imply that I have anything against the use of power hones, jigs etc., but I would not want anyone to be discouraged from trying engraving because they thought it was necessary to have them and perhaps could not afford them. In my mind the only difference between a graver and a chisel is size, and this info applies regardless of size and is for a line cutting graver(I'll use the terms interchangeably). For simplicity, starting out, I would recommend using hardened high-speed steel(HSS). This allows you to get a very hard and tough tool without having to learn heat-treating right out of the gate. I use either 3/32 or 1/8 round HSS drill rod. Square rod can be used also but the photos here show round. This First I'll show how I shape a round rod to make a line graver. Round rod is something easily available to most of us. This point can also be adapted to square stock and tapered tagane. I'm going to show this using a wood dowel as it will photograph easily showing the planes without reflection. This is a general use shape and can be varied, especially the width of the face angle and the sweep of the heel. I do all this shaping without the use of jigs, although I did use them at first and some will find them helpful, I'm sure. Doing most of my engraving in non-ferrous, my gravers stay sharp a long time. This first shot shows the face angled at about 55 degrees(could be 45-60). Please feel free to jump in with any questions. Edited February 3, 2014 by Jim Kelso My website and INSTAGRAM Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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