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First inlay - a single line...


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3 hours ago, tsterling said:

That looks a lot better! I think you’ve got the essentials of the technique, now you just need to perfect it with a few more kilometers of practice. I’m betting you’ve reached a threshold point...you’ve broken the code and will now continue to rapidly improve.

 

Keep up the good work!

 

Tom

Thanks, couldn't have done it without you all!

 

One thing that bothers me though, is that as I cut a line; the burr in front of the graver obstructs my view of where the tip if the graver is. As a result allot of the time I operate more or less on gut feeling alone - keeping my focus ahead of the graver - trusting that the actual tip is where it should be.

 

Unless I do this - I'm flipp'in out chips every 4-5 mm, which I can't see being very efficient.

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20 hours ago, Alveprins said:

One thing that bothers me though, is that as I cut a line; the burr in front of the graver obstructs my view of where the tip if the graver is. As a result allot of the time I operate more or less on gut feeling alone - keeping my focus ahead of the graver - trusting that the actual tip is where it should be.

A couple of questions here:

 

Presumably you’re using a microscope? If so, what magnification are you using?

Try taking a picture of a partial cut (chip attached) through the microscope with your phone camera, posed just as you would normally cut it. Maybe it will help me diagnose your difficulty.

 

Generally, I tend to look at the side edge of the graver where it touches my pattern line, instead of the point. With a microscope, you have three choices of where to cut a line...inside the line, outside the line, or on the line. Or, if you prefer, left of the line, right of the line, or on the line. Each will make your design look a bit different. For instance, cutting a circle...outside cuts will visually enlarge the circle, inside cuts will reduce the circle, and on the line will be in between. When the chip impedes you, then cut it off and restart your cut. I also don’t tend to watch the graver at the exact point of cut, but am looking a bit farther forward and trusting my skill to guide the graver correctly. In actuality, it’s probably a bit of both anticipating the future and checking/correcting the graver position. It’s that practicing thing to gain skill again. For your penance, add five kilometers to your practice total before you can apply for your skill license...:P

 

I also tend to keep the cut in the upper half of the microscope field of view...that way I’m sort of looking from the side, rather than immediately above the cut. I’ve never asked this question of other engravers, so I don’t know if this is normal or just me... Chip curls getting in the way isn’t something that bothers me very often, until they start to form a complete circle...then I cut them off, and continue on.

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On 10/27/2020 at 5:05 PM, tsterling said:

A couple of questions here:

 

1. Presumably you’re using a microscope? If so, what magnification are you using?

Try taking a picture of a partial cut (chip attached) through the microscope with your phone camera, posed just as you would normally cut it. Maybe it will help me diagnose your difficulty.

 

2. Generally, I tend to look at the side edge of the graver where it touches my pattern line, instead of the point. With a microscope, you have three choices of where to cut a line...inside the line, outside the line, or on the line. Or, if you prefer, left of the line, right of the line, or on the line. Each will make your design look a bit different....

 

3. I also tend to keep the cut in the upper half of the microscope field of view...that way I’m sort of looking from the side, rather than immediately above the cut. I’ve never asked this question of other engravers, so I don’t know if this is normal or just me...

 

1. I haven't been able to afford a microscope yet, so I'm currently using one of those visors with magnification lenses.

 

2. Yeah, I gave that a try today, and it works nicely. ^_^

 

3. Speaking of microscopes... There is no way I am going to be able to afford one of those 2000+ USD scopes with boom at the moment.

But could this be an alternative for me?:

Relife M3T-STL2 Multipurpose Trinocular Boom Stereo Microscope 7-75 Zoom

s-l1600.jpg

 

From what I can gather, seems maximum working distance is 100mm.

 

I have a microscope camera down in the lab, so I can easily move it over to this one as I basically never work in the lab anymore. :)

 

EDIT: Seems perhaps Amscope is the better brand? I see it mentioned on among others, the Engraving Café.

 

 

 

Edited by Alveprins
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100 mm (~4 inches) isn’t enough room to work under. That’s why you hear all the talk about 0.5 power Barlow lenses, which cut the magnification in half but consequently approximately double the working distance. So you’ll need a 0.5x Barlow (auxiliary lens) if that scope will accept one. You’ll also need a good turntable to make the microscope useable.

 

Unfortunately, there’s very little In engraving that isn’t priced in multiple hundreds of dollars. Before long, you’re into real money. Is the EDC movement/market a thing in Norway? Perhaps think about making some small items you can sell and start saving. That’s how I’ve upgraded lots of my equipment. But the bad news is collecting the toys never ends... Remember, he who dies with the most toys, wins!

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35 minutes ago, tsterling said:

100 mm (~4 inches) isn’t enough room to work under. That’s why you hear all the talk about 0.5 power Barlow lenses, which cut the magnification in half but consequently approximately double the working distance. So you’ll need a 0.5x Barlow (auxiliary lens) if that scope will accept one. You’ll also need a good turntable to make the microscope useable.

 

Unfortunately, there’s very little In engraving that isn’t priced in multiple hundreds of dollars. Before long, you’re into real money. Is the EDC movement/market a thing in Norway? Perhaps think about making some small items you can sell and start saving. That’s how I’ve upgraded lots of my equipment. But the bad news is collecting the toys never ends... Remember, he who dies with the most toys, wins!

 

I found an Amscope that has a 200mm working distance, so I think I will go for that. I saw Lindsay over at airgraver.com had tested a setup from Amscope - and reported that it was satisfactory at least for entry people like myself. It will run me about 550 USD + whatever astronomical shipping over the pond to Norway. I think it will do. The package contains 0.5 barlow as well, so...

I'll contact'em and figure out to which degree they can accommodate my needs.

 

I don't think EDC is a thing up here. People usually carry around their wallets, and that's just about it. :) Anyhow, I've moved away from creating high volume low price to low volume high price. Problem is - I have so few hours available to my bladesmithing - I only sell a very few blades a year, and most of the profits goes to paying bills.

 

Anyhow, I am working on a pretty big commission at the moment with a pretty nice budget limit - so whatever investments I make now will turn into profit down the line. But I can't go "all out" and get one of those fancy 2000 USD microscopes, and all GRS or Lindsay set-up with turntable and vise.. :lol: I still need to be economical about it.

 

I'm currently working on background removal on a new practice plate I've made btw.

I did inlay of copper and brass, and I cut borders around inlay, and now doing background removal. I will create a stiple tool for smashing some texture down into the background. Will have pics up tomorrow I recon. Would be glad to get any tips and/or pointers. :D

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I used an Amscope in an engraving class In 2009. It isn’t nearly as nice as a Meiji or Leica, but is adequate and useable.
 

Shame about EDC not having arrived in Norway. Look around for small things that would be popular with armchair Vikings and make those. Start a trend, maybe small seax-style kiridashi with inlaid runes?:rolleyes: Samurai cowboy meets Conan meets Ragnar. Forge weld mild steel handle layer on top of blade steel so you don’t have to worry about inlays after the quench. Something quicker than major projects for a more consistent income stream.

 

Let’s see the background removal...

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11 hours ago, tsterling said:

1. I used an Amscope in an engraving class In 2009. It isn’t nearly as nice as a Meiji or Leica, but is adequate and useable.
 

2. Shame about EDC not having arrived in Norway. Look around for small things that would be popular with armchair Vikings and make those. Start a trend, maybe small seax-style kiridashi with inlaid runes?:rolleyes: Samurai cowboy meets Conan meets Ragnar. Forge weld mild steel handle layer on top of blade steel so you don’t have to worry about inlays after the quench. Something quicker than major projects for a more consistent income stream.

 

3. Let’s see the background removal...

 

1. Adequate is gonna have to do for now I think. :)

 

2. I see alot of the EDC stuff on Instagram. I don't think it would appeal to a Norwegian audience. We have a quite different approach to life in general up here in the north.. :lol:

Anyhow, I prefer to stay on major projects, as these allow me to push my skills and progress as a bladesmith. If I make quick and easy stuff - there is no pushing the limits. ^_^

 

3. Alright, here it goes!:

 

My process:

Inlay Attempt no.3 Collage.jpg

I didn't undercut the grooves on this one as my new inlay gravers are still in transit from the US. I did make "teeth" though, and I was unable to pry the metal back out.

 

Finished practice plate - with all its flaws:

Macro Engraving-01.jpg

 

Macro Engraving-02.jpg

 

Macro Engraving-03.jpg

 

Macro Engraving-04.jpg

 

Macro Engraving-05.jpg

 

I had to pull out my 105mm Macro lens to capture these last images. I wanted to get as much details of my flaws and mistakes as possible.

 

I must say, cutting circles is a whole other ballgame than squares and straight lines. Also, when removing background material, it is extremely easy to touch the bright cut borders of the other objects. Leave enough material to touch up afterwards.

Also - it is very difficult to keep the bright cut edges bright while going over the background with a texturing tool...

 

Sincerely, Alveprins.

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13 minutes ago, Alveprins said:

cutting circles is a whole other ballgame than squares and straight lines

 

Wait until you want to try scrollwork or figural engravings...

 

London hawk right.jpg

 

That one has a sterling silver inlay in addition to the wiggly lines, and nearly killed me to do using only a stationary vise, a #4 square graver, chasing hammer, and #5 optivisor...

 

You are already capable of better than this, I am not bragging.  Just hinting at possible future directions.

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4 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

 

Wait until you want to try scrollwork or figural engravings...

 

That one has a sterling silver inlay in addition to the wiggly lines, and nearly killed me to do using only a stationary vise, a #4 square graver, chasing hammer, and #5 optivisor...

 

You are already capable of better than this, I am not bragging.  Just hinting at possible future directions.

Your wiggly lines are quite impressive, especially hammer and chisel taken into consideration. :) It is far easier and faster when using a pneumatic tool.

Anyhow, I've given it a go at scroll work etc. It is very challenging.

 

This is my collection of attempts and failures so far:

Collection.jpg

 

I created these thick square practice plates from leaf springs, and the idea is to simply machine them down using an end mill when I need a new plate. That way

I can re-use these plates many many times. ^_^

 

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Don’t mistake “quicker” for “quick and easy.” Quick and easy really means lesser craftsmanship. There’s probably a language issue here, I’m referring to smaller projects that you can accomplish in less time. Fine engraving is really about surface area. 10 square centimeters can be engraved faster than 100 square centimeters. You’re craftsmanship should always be the best you can achieve.
 

I consider a major project to be something that takes me more than a few days of engraving time...and I engrave for about 3 hours per engraving day. For example, a hand-sized folding pocket knife with flat metal scales typically takes me 2 weeks to engrave (with only one side engraved, ignoring the side with springs, clips, etc). That doesn’t include any design time... A complex design (100 percent coverage) of a single knife scale will easily take me a month from concept to transfer-ready. Design is the hard part, and I seem to develop most of the concept in bed at 3 AM. An uninterrupted night’s sleep would be nice... Of course, all of these are parallel processes since I’m doing other things at the same time.

 

If you’re also having to create the knife, then the time is increased considerably. Hence, I do about one sole-authorship knife per year, although I’m probably averaging less than that lately. There’s a lot to be said for an income stream in between major projects.

 

It’s difficult to progress in engraving and bladesmithing at the same time. You’re trying to avoid putting lesser engraving on a better knife, or better engraving on a lesser knife. But, it’s the nature of the beast!

 

As for your practice plates, take a look at the 2 on the lower left and compare those with the circular one you just completed! Enormous difference! You’ve come a long way! Keep on cutting... Don’t reuse your practice plates. Steel is cheap, and it’s important for you to be able to look back and see your footprints on the journey!

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2 hours ago, tsterling said:

Don’t mistake “quicker” for “quick and easy.” Quick and easy really means lesser craftsmanship. There’s probably a language issue here, I’m referring to smaller projects that you can accomplish in less time. Fine engraving is really about surface area. 10 square centimeters can be engraved faster than 100 square centimeters. You’re craftsmanship should always be the best you can achieve.
 

I consider a major project to be something that takes me more than a few days of engraving time...and I engrave for about 3 hours per engraving day. For example, a hand-sized folding pocket knife with flat metal scales typically takes me 2 weeks to engrave (with only one side engraved, ignoring the side with springs, clips, etc). That doesn’t include any design time... A complex design (100 percent coverage) of a single knife scale will easily take me a month from concept to transfer-ready. Design is the hard part, and I seem to develop most of the concept in bed at 3 AM. An uninterrupted night’s sleep would be nice... Of course, all of these are parallel processes since I’m doing other things at the same time.

 

If you’re also having to create the knife, then the time is increased considerably. Hence, I do about one sole-authorship knife per year, although I’m probably averaging less than that lately. There’s a lot to be said for an income stream in between major projects.

 

It’s difficult to progress in engraving and bladesmithing at the same time. You’re trying to avoid putting lesser engraving on a better knife, or better engraving on a lesser knife. But, it’s the nature of the beast!

 

As for your practice plates, take a look at the 2 on the lower left and compare those with the circular one you just completed! Enormous difference! You’ve come a long way! Keep on cutting... Don’t reuse your practice plates. Steel is cheap, and it’s important for you to be able to look back and see your footprints on the journey!

 

I understand what you mean. A small project for me would be something like 40 - 45 work hours. My current project however, I've already put 55 hours into forging the blade alone, and now I will do engraving, inlay, heat treat, and polish. I expect to spend the next 4 months working on it.

 

But I agree it is a good idea to do lesser projects at the same time, enabling quicker cash flow.

 

I simply cant bring myself to do anything but sole authorship. It is what I base my name and reputation on. I do the blade, the handle, the sheath. And now I am going to start making wooden boxes for the knives as well, heavily decorated of course. The box alone will probably take as much time as the knife.

 

In regards to the bladesmithing and engraving. At this point in time, I feel that engraving is the next step to bring the overall quality of my work to the next level. I need to increase the detail and refinement of the metal parts of the handle and sheath - and soon metal parts for the boxes. :) So, engraving is now becoming a necessity for me.

 

Actually, in regards to the practice plates. I originally created them for that purpose, to be machined and "erased" for repetitive use. However, after engraving this round disc, I have been thinking of cutting more discs like that, and engrave them on both sides with date and serial number - and collect a large amount of "coins" if you will, which will document my progress. After a few years I ought to have a treasure chest full of these, ranging from the absolute most primitive, to the hopefully exquisite. :lol:

 

Anyhow, yes - I have made improvements since the first plate with basic cuts. But the way ahead of me is long, and I shall have to put many hours into it.

I'll take another step right now - and order myself that microscope. :D I think it will greatly improve my ability to outline inlays at least, and probably with outlining and shading scroll work as well.

 

I think I will do some scrolls next, perhaps combined with inlay - and then some deep relief sculpting. ;) We'll see!

 

Sincerely,

Alveprins.

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Alright, gave it a shot at some scroll-work today.

 

I've got to say, it is a real challenge making crisp lines with all those turns.

I've got some serious heel-drag in the tight spots which I seemingly just cant get rid off.

 

I think I need to go back to the basics and practice some flare cuts etc. to get those right at least, then look into this heel drag issue.

The shading is also very challenging.

Filigree 001B.jpg

 

I will be pestering the people over at engravingforum.com, engraverscafe.com as well as engravers group on Facebook once I really start digging into this.

 

I received my gold inlay graver blanks and templates, so I will be starting to practice inlay with those before I do the actual gold on the blade.

Heck, maybe I'll do some borders in copper and brass on a test plate, with some scroll-work in the middle just for the heck of it... :)

 

Anyhow, I'll keep updating this little thread for whomever is interesting to tag along for the ride, unless moderators think otherwise. As of this point in time, I'm not really "on topic" anymore in regards to the original post. :lol:

It has rather turned into a "engraving journey" post... ^_^

 

Sincerely, Alveprins.

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So it shall be in a few days. B)

Alve:  heel drag in engraving is rather like the slight weld flaws in pattern-weld: annoying but historically accurate!  It adds an authenticity, in other words.  Also it tells you your heel is too long, or you need to tilt the graver a bit. ;)

Seriously though, look at 19th century scrollwork.  Lots of little drag-marks.  Look at 17th and 18th century work. The lack of magnification is obvious.

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1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

So it shall be in a few days. B)

Alve:  heel drag in engraving is rather like the slight weld flaws in pattern-weld: annoying but historically accurate!  It adds an authenticity, in other words.  Also it tells you your heel is too long, or you need to tilt the graver a bit. ;)

Seriously though, look at 19th century scrollwork.  Lots of little drag-marks.  Look at 17th and 18th century work. The lack of magnification is obvious.

 

I do not need any more "authenticity" in my engravings... :lol:

Actually, the heel on this particular graver is kind of insane. I'll use another one with shorter heel. ;)

 

 

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4 hours ago, Alveprins said:

Alright, gave it a shot at some scroll-work today.

 

I've got to say, it is a real challenge making crisp lines with all those turns.

I've got some serious heel-drag in the tight spots which I seemingly just cant get rid off.

 

I think I need to go back to the basics and practice some flare cuts etc. to get those right at least, then look into this heel drag issue.

The shading is also very challenging.

Filigree 001B.jpg

 

I will be pestering the people over at engravingforum.com, engraverscafe.com as well as engravers group on Facebook once I really start digging into this.

 

I received my gold inlay graver blanks and templates, so I will be starting to practice inlay with those before I do the actual gold on the blade.

Heck, maybe I'll do some borders in copper and brass on a test plate, with some scroll-work in the middle just for the heck of it... :)

 

Anyhow, I'll keep updating this little thread for whomever is interesting to tag along for the ride, unless moderators think otherwise. As of this point in time, I'm not really "on topic" anymore in regards to the original post. :lol:

It has rather turned into a "engraving journey" post... ^_^

 

Sincerely, Alveprins.

Sam Alfano has a number of books and videos on engraving,flare cuts came out recently. https://masterengraver.tv/

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  • 2 weeks later...

Alright, so my microscope arrived - and I've downloaded a couple of Sam Alfano's instructional videos, namely Scrollwork from start to finish, as well as how to draw scrolls.. Here are the results.

 

So, first off I had to draw my very first scroll. I followed Sam Alfano closely - watching his video on my computer while drawing.

I ended up with this - my first scroll. (I skipped the beginner scroll and went straight for the intermediate)

Scrollwork Drawing.jpg

 

Now, having watched his "Engraving scrolls" video from start to finish, I threw myself into doing the now classic "toner acetone transfer", and then engraving the backbone, and doing all the other stuff...

Collage 001.jpg

 

Having done this, I decided to give it a try at copper inlay for two of the biggest leafs. I have never done this before in combination with a scroll, but I've seen it done on shotguns, hunting rifles etc. - so I thought I'd give it a go. I used 1mm copper wire for this - dead soft.

Collage 002.jpg

 

and then there was time for shading and finishing the whole thing off...

This is my final result:

Engraving - Finished 02.jpg

 

Allot of mistakes were done, and my shading is absolutely horrendous - but allot of lessons learned from that. I am going to download Alfano's "Advanced Shading" as well - and see if I can get anything out of that.

 

Moving on forward I will be drawing leafs only, and will be doing quite a bit of shading on those. Perhaps I'll do some inlay too - we'll see.

I also need better graver control - but I must say that the new microscope really made a huge difference! :)

 

Anyhow, that's it for tonight! Tomorrow is another day.

 

Chiao guys! :)

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Solid effort! You should feel like your feet are firmly planted and well along on the path. You appear to be able to recognize the problems, which is a MAJOR engraving skill and not easily learned. Recognition is the key to knowing what to work on.

 

Well done! Keep on cutting...

Tom

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/21/2020 at 11:23 AM, Alveprins said:

 

Thanks man, you'll get there.

 

I bought one of those Chinese vices. Only thing I could afford unfortunately.

It is no doubt low quality, but it does the job for now. In time I'd love to have one of those Lindsay or GRS vices, but... still waiting to win the lottery... :P

 

EDIT:

Would love to get one of these : 650 USD.

DSC02251-b_small.jpg

 

If you have access to a small mill and a lathe, that wouldn't be a terribly difficult project.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, I've been doing some inlay on an actual blade this time, and made alot of mistakes..

If anyone is curious as to what a complete failure looks like - look no further! ;) :

Inlay Failure Collage.jpg

 

Anyhow, I finally managed to actually finish the damn thing, and the result can be seen in this separate thread:

 

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