Background relief question

farmer57

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Question for the experienced folks here, in my learning work with very small items (1" and less) - I have been struggling with deeper relieving of the fine (sharp) 'v' ends, especially if these fall at the very end of any kind of a scroll work or similar curved surrounding. I find when 'digging' in at the very end I often damage surrounding 'walls'. There just does not seem to be anywhere for me to work or angle the tool to avoid scuffing other areas.

I made a tiny flat bottom graver and ground both (left and right) sides to make a fine 'v' but this only works with straight 'vees'.

What do you guys find works best in such cases? Do you just deep stipple/remove the very end with a tiny-tipped needle like bit? I work in copper and silver.

Thank you in advance.
Kris.
 

tdelewis

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I guess the answer is you do whatever it takes. I had the same question when I started. If you don't use a rotary tool you just need to grind your own and experiment to find something that works. You might grind part of the graver away just behind the heel to gain clearance so that you don't mark the raised work.
 

JJ Roberts

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Best stay away from a rotary tool,one slip and you'll spend hours fixing the damage if you can.Take your time. J.J.
 

davidshe

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The previous replies are good advice. I will try to pass on some of my own experience as this is an area that I struggled with and I still need to be extremely careful. I do a lot of small deep relief engraving in stainless steel and softer metals as well. When removing background with gravers I generally use my 90 or 105 and also small flats. I also use the rotary but like JJ mentions it can be quite dangerous because it literally melts the metal away. But, after a LOT of practice one can become quite good with it. You need to experiment and learn ways to hold the rotary steady to cut down on the shake that most of us have especially after cutting for awhile. But, you can do just fine without it.

I use a combination of gravers and rotary. One thing that helps me a lot is that when I cut my outlines I tend to cut to the outside of the lines and leave more of the design so that it gives me some extra material to work with when I go back and re-cut the sidewalls. This in itself not only leaves a nicer, truer looking design but also cleans up many of the small dings on the edges when you make the final sidewall clean up passes. Another important thing is that you must turn the vise and not your hand especially when trimming up sidewalls. This is easy to forget in the heat of cutting but truly makes a difference especially on tight scroll work.

Hope this helps a little. :)
 

Marrinan

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I use a very simple method on my background removal in many tough situations but it never fails me. To begin my background removal I begin by using the v-tool (90'105' 110'120) to make second cut fallowing along my outlining cut One or two of these parallel cuts that does provide that margin you require make another outlining cut when these quick cuts remake a crosshatch as usual. You will find it creates small buffer zone for the high speed grinder Expanded crosshatching can save your butt when little else will..Fred
 

farmer57

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Thank you very much guys!
This definitely gives me ideas and things to try. The more I practise the easier it should get (in theory at least). Silver is just so easy to damage.

I really like the idea of cutting much narrower first and then doing final cuts after the relief work - thank you Davidshe!

Marrinan, I am unclear what you mean by "Expanded crosshatching" - can you expand on the idea for me (perhaps I am simply not thinking straight here).

Regarding rotary tool, yes I do use one but as you mentioned - it gets just a bit too 'tight' for me in the very end of the narrow ends. What bits do you guys find best for the job here? I use mostly dental fine taper carbide but still find it not very good in such corners. I am tempted to try and shave away the wider part of the burr and perhaps be left with just a very end tip (probably not something that is easily achieved though).

Regards,
Kris
 

thughes

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Kris, I got this tip off of the Lindsay site. For use in my NSK, I take a worn out burr and grind it to a tiny point with 3 or four flats on it. It will cut like a champ and I can lay it almost flat and clean out the smallest corners. Just practice with it a little.

Todd
 

farmer57

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Thank you, I will try both suggestions for sure.

Dave, you mentioned that Tim Wells makes a fixture - how would I inquire about it?
 

jerrywh

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I do this in steel by pushing the metal up in the corner with a 90° graver that has a 20° heel and a 35 ° or 40° face angle. This will cut most of the metal out but leaves some pushed up in the corner above the desired surface. Then I just flush it off with a flat and sand it down with fine wet and dry. This may not work too well on silver because of the high polish desired on the finish product. Another method I have used it to punch it down with a triagular punch. I have to try Sam's method sounds good.
 

monk

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whatever approach you take, it becomes much easier if you have a binocular zoom scope. it was always easier for me to magnify, then use very small cutters made from dental drills. i would facet them as if they were full size gravers. just use less pressure while cutting away such small areas. if using air assist, shut off the power and just use the handpiece to pushgrave.
 

Borzzza

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whatever approach you take, it becomes much easier if you have a binocular zoom scope. it was always easier for me to magnify, then use very small cutters made from dental drills. i would facet them as if they were full size gravers. just use less pressure while cutting away such small areas. if using air assist, shut off the power and just use the handpiece to pushgrave.

You facet them as a flat or a v-point graver?
 

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