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Old April 28, 2013, 09:46 PM   #1
Mausermolt
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Engraving

Im looking at learning how to start engraving. mostly wood and metal, but maybe apply it onto other things such as glass. what does a good engraving tool cost and how difficult is it to learn this trade? I may have this turn into a money producing venture but for now i want to see if its financially feasible to try as a hobby.

i found this video on youtube that makes it sound easy as pie...but they are also trying to sell ya something.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rb-eVE1Eig
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Old April 28, 2013, 09:59 PM   #2
Bill DeShivs
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That's not really engraving- it's rotary carving.
This is the cheapest powered engraver you will find:
http://www.ngraver.com/
Learning tool control is very important, and using the NGraver shortens the time required.
The first thing you need to be able to do is draw the patterns you want to engrave, then learn tool control.
The cheapest way to do engraving is to buy a few manual gravers and try it.
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Old April 28, 2013, 10:37 PM   #3
Mausermolt
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thanks for the speedy response, from what ive seen is most of the "art" part of it is tracing. you buy the see through paper with the pattern on it and you can carve right through it. im not great at drawing, so the stenciling thing i would probably have to really rely on. but just like shooting, enough practice and you will probably be able to get the hang of it right?
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Old April 28, 2013, 11:55 PM   #4
James K
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Lotsa luck. I have tried engraving/carving a couple of times and the problem is that I am no artist. I can't even follow a drawn line very well. From that perspective, I would say to first learn how to draw using a pencil and paper. Then when you figure out how to make, say, a horse that resembles a horse and not a goat, you can go on to carving wood, beginning with scrap wood. Engraving steel looks simple. I once watched one of the S&W factory engravers work on a revolver, turning out beautiful scroll work while carrying on a couple of conversations and nibbling at a sandwich. But I am not likely to be in that class and I am fairly sure he wasn't either when he started.

Jim
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Old April 29, 2013, 10:09 AM   #5
PetahW
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While an engraving pattern may start, or be outlined, from a tracing, the completed job goes on from that initial step.

Tracing or not, good engravers also need to be artists first, since most engraving should "flow" smoothly in a design pleasing to the eye, and figures should not appear to be made of sticks.

IMO, anyone aspiring to the craft would be well paid to first speak in depth with an accomplished engraver of some kind (jewelery, whatever) about their aspirations, and take some art lessons @ a high school's night classes.




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Old April 29, 2013, 10:44 AM   #6
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I agree with PetahW, an engraver is an artist, and should have good artistic skills. You have probably seen poorly done taxidermy that makes that impressive buck someone shot look like a road-killed spaniel, and you have likely seen poor quality engraving on cheap rings. Neither is very pleasing. Engraving metal is not like paint-the-numbers, it is art, and you need skill in both artistic rendering and in cutting metal. I recently rebuilt an LC Smith that was engraved by someone who had a good idea but no skill. Let's just say it would have been better left alone.
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Old April 29, 2013, 11:24 AM   #7
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i was thinking i would start out on wood. being cheaper and it literally grows on trees i do know someone that engraves belt buckles an horse tack, so i may go chat with her to see what i can destroy

thanks again y'all
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Old April 29, 2013, 02:09 PM   #8
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Talk to your engraver friend, as it seems you have little concept of how engraving is done. She can show you what's involved.
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Old April 29, 2013, 05:46 PM   #9
jaguarxk120
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Pickup a copy of Shooting Sportsman magazine, within those pages you will find pictures of guns engraved by some of the best people ever.

Taking several art classes will help out.

By the way look up Angelo Bee, if you can become as good as him you can quit your day job
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Old April 29, 2013, 07:40 PM   #10
BoogieMan
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This is how non artists engrave: http://www.artcam.com/
I have been a machinist both old school and new school for most of my life. I am pretty familiar with metalworking and how a cutter flows etc.. I would have trouble engraving my name with a stencil. The reason it looks so easy is because the people you have seen do it are so good.
That said. It never hurts to try. I just wouldnt start out on anything of value. Guys I have seen learning will often grab relics from junkyard and work on them. This way its not just flat parts. Dont think about things like broken or old tools (ax heads, hammers, etc..) because they are made of higher carbon steels and difficult to cut. Aluminum may be a good start.
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Old April 30, 2013, 08:05 AM   #11
4V50 Gary
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Sign up for a NRA Summer Gunsmithing School. You get one week of full time engraving taught by a master.
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Old May 1, 2013, 12:22 AM   #12
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What does said NRA class cost? i would love to take a class....but im not available this summer
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Old May 1, 2013, 07:58 AM   #13
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The best engravers, and engraving schools, are in Belgium. They are like taking a college course, and you spend a good while there learning it, from manual hand engraving, to powered engraving. Browning, and others hire from this pool. However, there are some famous engravers in the US, too; Lynton Mckinzie is one, and he has a video course if I remember.

To learn it by ones self, you'll need a pile of practice plates, the gravers, and a sharpener. Then, get you a good magnifier. Later, you can look at an air powered unit.

Study every engraving book you can lay your hands on, including the ones that the jewelers use. There are some books just for the designs too.
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Old May 2, 2013, 01:06 PM   #14
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GRS tools offers engraving classes as does Lindsey engraving.
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Old May 4, 2013, 06:19 AM   #15
Dixie Gunsmithing
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I forgot to mention those, Bill, thanks.

As far as layout, you can copy designs using a laser printer, and transfer them to the work by applying acetone to the paper and rubbing the design onto the polished metal. Also, there used to be some templates available, with scrolls on them, made like architects templates, using the green see-through plastic. The last way, is using a design on paper, and copying it good old carbon paper.

I learned on my own, and was never great at it, so only did a few things for myself. It's so time consuming, that you have to have wealthy customers, willing to pay for a commission, to come out. You're talking about 40 hours plus, for a simple scrolled job. Some commissions can take six to eight months, according to their complexity, like gold inlay, etc.
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Old May 4, 2013, 08:18 AM   #16
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I once considered learning engraving but I then decided at my age I did not want to invest the time it would take to learn to do it right.

If I was going to invest the time I would consider taking hands on training classes at GRS in Emporia Kansas.
They offer several different levels of hands on classes through out the year.

Here's a website for GRS www.glendo.com or call 1 800 835 3519.
I had talked with a sales representative named Lynda Schreck, however that was a few years back so she may not be there now.
Ask for a class schedule they will send you one.

Best Regards
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Old May 4, 2013, 08:39 AM   #17
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How good are you at drawing? I believe it takes an artist's hand to engrave anything. For example my handwriting is terrible and my stick figures look like they have scurvy. I once tried to use an air powered engraving tool to initial some tools. It was not pretty. Don't dive into it headfirst.
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