Another back/neck pain post.


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I would hope. A well sharpened graver should last 2 or 3 weeks or more in average gun metal/knife bolsters/jewelry
Amazing. When engraving stainless watches and knives I would love to have my gravers stay sharp that long. I use the Lindsay sharpening templates and thought I was a pretty meticulous sharpener. Curious if I am the only one who resharpens so much? How often do some of you others resharpen? 2 or 3 weeks between sharpening certainly is a far cry from what I do.
its been along while since I've engraved a stainless watch of any sort, more than 10 years I guess, but for sure that is hard, and I would expect to have to sharpen at least once to get through that. I did say normal gun metal/bolsters/jewelry


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I did say normal gun metal/bolsters/jewelry
You don't know how valuable that little tidbit is and how many new engravers agonize over developing a sharpening fetish. It's never been stated here to my knowledge. Maybe we can relax a bit now.
Hi Layne

We are all getting older and need to start taking a little more notice of what our bodies are telling us. I am continually being reminded that I’m not twenty years old anymore. Cutting down trees, balancing on ladders, shovelling piles of shingle, wheelbarrows full of wet concrete and bending over to pick things up just ain’t as easy as it used to be :)

I suspect your problem is twofold.

First thing is the sins of your past are catching up with you. Bad posture, injury and age all have an effect on your body. Get that sorted first. I wouldn’t recommend a doctor as most of them are great at diagnosing broken bones or cancer but do not specialise in muscle/bone/posture problems. Go and see a physiotherapist because they specialise in this type of thing. They can identify the exact problem and give you specific exercises to strengthen your back and neck. Any form of surgery should be an extreme last option.

Second your bench setup. It sounds to me as though you are set up as a jewellery bench. Not the ideal situation for engraving a lot. Think about a dedicated engraving bench. Scott has given you good advise about that. Get your body sorted first, then make your scope fit your body, then raise and lower the work with either a drill press stand or the GRS Satellite turntable stand………..You should end up with only having to lean into the microscope. 30mm makes all the difference to neck and back strain. If you are stretching or compressing to look into your scope you have a problem that will only get worse with time.

In the last year I started developing lower back problems because of a lifetime of abuse. Nothing major but just a general discomfort. So I wanted to deal with it before it became a major………..The physiotherapist spent some time on my back over a period of a few weeks. He recommended some exercises that take five minutes morning and evening. He also recommended a wedge shape cushion to force me to sit more upright and have a better posture. Over the last few weeks the combination of these things has seen a marked improvement of my lower back. So I’m learning to take better care of myself :)

Also, take the advise of getting up and moving around to sharpen or have a smoke, pet the dog or whatever. Sitting for hours at a time will not be doing you any favours at all. Regardless of what your trade is.

Whatever is wrong with you can be fixed but you have to take the time out to do it. It’s taken you a lifetime to get to this point …so it’s going to take a few changes to your work routine, ergonomics and time to fix the problem. See the Physiotherapist first and deal to that, then make the bench and work habit changes. Over time it will get better but you have to work at it as there is not one “cure” for any of this :)


PS. As for gravers lasting a week or two without sharpening. I want one of those gravers!!!! :) :)

JJ Roberts

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I have a two vise set up one for standing and one for sitting work at 78 I have some pains in my neck and back I have a Tetter Tip-Up use it ever day gets the kink's out of the my neck and back,get up and move around. J.J.


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I was watching a YouTube video the other day showing an engraver from Cartier working at his bench. Instead of having the scope vertical which requires that you lean into it he had it laid back so he could sit normally. The axis was probably 30 degrees from vertical and it looked quite comfortable. Granted, he was working on a watch dial so there was little if any repositioning necessary. Someone smarter than me needs to come up with something that allows us to sit normally and bring the work to us, not the other way around.