View Full Version : Say I wanted to learn how to do engraving...

May 3, 2002, 01:30 AM
Nothing *terribly* fancy.. say a wire inlay in metal.

I've done this kinda thing in wood before, and thought it might be kinda neat to try it in steel... maybe even carry a pattern "Sting" wise from grip to receiver (1911).

What would I need to get tools-wise?

Any reference works I should look at?



PS.. if I wanted an aftermarket finish on a pistol, but with wire inlays.. would I first cut the grooves, then send the pistol off to be finished, and then work the wire into the groove when I got it back?

May 3, 2002, 01:48 AM
I'd buy any available engraving books. I think Brownell's carry a couple. This will give the basics of technique.

Different techniques require finishing of the gun at different times. An engraved gold inlay of a bear, for instance, might require the gun be blued after the inlay is in place, but before it's final shaped and engraved. Another project might have the gun blued first. Depends on what you're doing.

Equipment needed depends entirely on how deep you want to get into it. It can run to the Thousands of bucks, or you can at least experiment with a few gravers, a chasing hammer, and some other odds and ends.

Doing inlay in metal is somewhat different than wood. First a groove or channel is cut where the wire is to go. Then the edges are undercut and the soft wire is hammered into the channel. The metal flows into the undercuts and locks it into place. Then the exposed wire is cleaned up.
Inlays are done the same way and shaped and engraved after hammering in place. Thats how those gold figures are applied to guns. Gold is almost always used since it is soft and mallable, and will flow into the undercuts. Silver is harder and more difficult to work.

May 3, 2002, 09:13 AM
I would recommend that you check for NRA short courses in engraving. Trinidad State JC shows a basic engraving course from May 27 through June 7 of this year. My experience with the NRA short courses at Montgomery Community College has been very positive.

The link below will lead you to various schools that offer short courses.



Alex Johnson
May 3, 2002, 10:51 AM
It may be hard to believe but one of the hardests cuts to make with an engraver is the straight line. Curves tend to be a lot easier to cut. You could start with the hand engraver's but they take a lot of time to master, a somewhat quicker route is to invest in one of the power engravers such as the Ngravers, these will provide better control and give you quicker results, though they still require lots and lots of practice.