Beginner's tool list

Sam

Chief Administrator & Benevolent Dictator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 6, 2006
Messages
10,363
Location
Covington, Louisiana
This thread is copied from the Tips Archive and put here for your convenience. The Tips Archive is a vast resource of hand engraving information and you are encouraged to use it.

TOOL LIST FOR BEGINNERS

Many Cafe members who are experienced engravers contributed to the tool lists below which can serve as a guide as to what's needed to setup a basic workbench for hand engraving. You can spend a little by using traditional hand tools, or spend considerably more if you prefer the latest and greatest pneumatic handpieces. Most will agree that the learning curve is steeper engraving with hammer & chisel and push gravers, but much of the finest engraving in the world is still being done with traditional hand tools, so keep that in mind.

There are endless combinations of tool choices, and every engraver has his or her favorites and recommendations. Hopefully the information below will point you in the right direction and give you a place to start. If you're serious about our art, spend time reading our forum. It contains a tremendous wealth of information contributed by the rock stars of the engraving world. You'll undoubtedly have questions, and you are welcome and encouraged to post them in our main forum. We're here to help.

---------------------

  • Each of the startup lists below should include a workbench, lighting, and a proper chair. See our WORKBENCH THREAD for ideas and to see what our members use. Twin bulb fluorescent task lights with flexible arms have been used by engravers for many years.


  • An engraving class will greatly reduce the learning curve and get you up to speed very quickly.

  • Spend some time browsing The Engraving Glossary for photos and detailed explanations on most things pertaining to our art.

The following books and video are recommended by our members:

Art of Engraving by JB Meek - It was the springboard for many of today's hand engravers. Some of its information may be a bit outdated, but it's still worth having.
Engraving Historic Firearms By John Schippers - Modern book containing many how-tos. Highly recommended by many members.
Design books by Ron Smith and Lee Griffiths
Video on hand sharpening gravers
TOOL LIST FOR BEGINNERS[/SIZE]

Many Cafe members who are experienced engravers contributed to the tool lists below which can serve as a guide as to what's needed to setup a basic workbench for hand engraving. You can spend a little by using traditional hand tools, or spend considerably more if you prefer the latest and greatest pneumatic handpieces. Most will agree that the learning curve is steeper engraving with hammer & chisel and push gravers, but much of the finest engraving in the world is still being done with traditional hand tools, so keep that in mind.

There are endless combinations of tool choices, and every engraver has her or her favorites and recommendations. Hopefully the information below will point you in the right direction and give you a place to start. If you're serious about our art, spend time reading our forum. It contains a tremendous wealth of information contributed by the rock stars of the engraving world. You'll undoubtedly have questions, and you are welcome and encouraged to post them in our main forum. We're here to help.

---------------------

  • Each of the startup lists below should include a workbench, lighting, and a proper chair. See our [URL="http://www.engraverscafe.com/showthread.php?1511-Workbench-thread"]WORKBENCH THREAD
  • for ideas and to see what our members use. Twin bulb fluorescent task lights with flexible arms have been used by engravers for many years.


  • An engraving class will greatly reduce the learning curve and get you up to speed very quickly.

  • Spend some time browsing The Engraving Glossary for photos and detailed explanations on most things pertaining to our art.

The following books and video are recommended by our members:

Art of Engraving by JB Meek - It was the springboard for many of today's hand engravers. Some of its information may be a bit outdated, but it's still worth having.
Engraving Historic Firearms By John Schippers - Modern book containing many how-tos. Highly recommended by many members.
Design books by Ron Smith and Lee Griffiths
Video on hand sharpening gravers
Hammer & chisel and sharpening demo - Learn to engrave with minimum startup costs.

---------------------

HAND TOOLS STARTUP

Sketch pad & pencils
Chasing hammer
2 square graver blanks
1 wooden or steel chisel handle
1 mushroom type hand graver handle
Medium and fine whetstone combo
Copper, steel, and brass practice plates
Bench vise


UPGRADES: Rotating engraver's vise, Optivisor, stereo microscope, sharpening fixture or template

---------------------

LOW BUDGET POWER ASSIST STARTUP

Sketch pad & pencils
Ngraver flex shaft handpiece (requires Foredom type motor) or GRS System 3 (requires air compressor)
2 square graver blanks
Medium and fine whetstone combo
Copper, steel, and brass practice plates
Bench vise

UPGRADES: Rotating engraver's vise, Optivisor or stereo microscope, sharpening system or templates

----------------------

BETTER POWER ASSIST STARTUP

Sketch pad & pencils
Basic system by GRS, Lindsay, or Enset (see their websites for basic models and prices)
Air compressor
2 square graver blanks
#40 flat graver
Rotating engraver's vise
Sharpening system or templates
Copper, steel, and brass practice plates
Stereo microscope w/ring light

UPGRADES: Centering vise or turntable base, silent air compressor, additional square graver blanks and additional flat graver sizes"]Hammer & chisel and sharpening demo[/URL][/B] - Learn to engrave with minimum startup costs.

---------------------

HAND TOOLS STARTUP

Sketch pad & pencils
Chasing hammer
2 square graver blanks
1 wooden or steel chisel handle
1 mushroom type hand graver handle
Medium and fine whetstone combo
Copper, steel, and brass practice plates
Bench vise


UPGRADES: Rotating engraver's vise, Optivisor, stereo microscope, sharpening fixture or template

---------------------

LOW BUDGET POWER ASSIST STARTUP

Sketch pad & pencils
Ngraver flex shaft handpiece (requires Foredom type motor) or GRS System 3 (requires air compressor)
2 square graver blanks
Medium and fine whetstone combo
Copper, steel, and brass practice plates
Bench vise

UPGRADES: Rotating engraver's vise, Optivisor or stereo microscope, sharpening system or templates

----------------------

BETTER POWER ASSIST STARTUP

Sketch pad & pencils
Basic system by GRS, Lindsay, or Enset (see their websites for basic models and prices)
Air compressor
2 square graver blanks
#40 flat graver
Rotating engraver's vise
Sharpening system or templates
Copper, steel, and brass practice plates
Stereo microscope w/ring light

UPGRADES: Centering vise or turntable base, silent air compressor, additional square graver blanks and additional flat graver sizes
 

obgow

New Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2015
Messages
1
Location
Windsor, CA.
Thanks for your post! I have a GRS gravermax right now, but am looking to upgrade. I mainly use it for stone setting and ring engraving. I noticed you recommended for the engraving system GRS, Lindsay or Enset. Could you elaborate on the Pros/cons between the different systems? Is there a system you would recommend above else and why?
 

diandwill

Elite Cafe Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
864
Location
Eastern, Washington State
Thanks for your post! I have a GRS gravermax right now, but am looking to upgrade. I mainly use it for stone setting and ring engraving. I noticed you recommended for the engraving system GRS, Lindsay or Enset. Could you elaborate on the Pros/cons between the different systems? Is there a system you would recommend above else and why?

I also have a gravermax, and use it for all my engraving needs.

The enset has the capability to hit a single strike, which would be a real help in stone setting. I haven't used one, but that single feature would be nice.

If I were younger and willing to engrave at shows, the portability of the Lindsay would be great. Able to run off of a tank of compressed air, an engraver could pre-cut bracelets etc., and personalize them on the spot. That is a great selling point.

I am, however, old enough that I don't want to personalize at shows, and can get by without the single strike. My old Gravermax is more than capable of doing everything I need a pneumatic system to do.
 

kathy1146

New Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2017
Messages
1
Is a foot control harder then hand push control for a beginner? This is what I was told
 
Joined
Mar 19, 2012
Messages
88
note the first, ubiquitous, and probably most important tool of all:
SKETCHPAD AND PENCILS
it is always a good thing to remind people that drawing and design are the really, really hard skills to master.
 

Antipop.piercings

:::Pledge Member:::
::::Pledge Member::::
Joined
Mar 17, 2021
Messages
8
Did Sam's voice narrate in anyone else's head as they read? I truly admire your willingness to teach us scratchers. Just got my G8 today. Spending some time tuning and about to order your beginers seminar. If anyone is/knows an engraver in central indiana please pm me if willing to apprentice or teach. I've been in the tattoo industry going on 12 years so hopefully the crossover goes smooth.
 

Klare

New Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2021
Messages
2
HI, This was just the information I was looking for thanks for spending the time post the list. I’m working through my shopping list so I can start this new venture. I am finding it very challenging to find what I need not only suppliers in uk, but knowing what sharpening stones (diamond, wheltstone, arkansas stone, jewellers stone, watchmakers stone carbide stone) you see I’m getting bogged down with choosing and buying the prices very so much. And eBay is only place I know of to shop for things, I am on limited budget.
my next problem is gravers, what type what shape, onglette/ spit stick square graver. Graver handles with never holding one and having to buy off line it’s hard to choose.

so far I have sketch book and pencils, and a ball vies.
any further help in suppliers, sharpening stone choices, or gravers
would be great fully accepted. Lol donated tools would welcome too just to get me started.
many thanks Klare
 

Sinterklaas

Elite Cafe Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2015
Messages
118
Location
Holland
HI, This was just the information I was looking for thanks for spending the time post the list. I’m working through my shopping list so I can start this new venture. I am finding it very challenging to find what I need not only suppliers in uk, but knowing what sharpening stones (diamond, wheltstone, arkansas stone, jewellers stone, watchmakers stone carbide stone) you see I’m getting bogged down with choosing and buying the prices very so much. And eBay is only place I know of to shop for things, I am on limited budget.
my next problem is gravers, what type what shape, onglette/ spit stick square graver. Graver handles with never holding one and having to buy off line it’s hard to choose.

so far I have sketch book and pencils, and a ball vies.
any further help in suppliers, sharpening stone choices, or gravers
would be great fully accepted. Lol donated tools would welcome too just to get me started.
many thanks Klare
Hi Klare,
welcome here.
Buy diamond stones only it will sharpen any metal.
For engraving start with a square graver (90degree) which can also be sharpened to be a flat graver.
For the handle take a mushroom shaped one. With a flat on 1 side that will be the underside. Facing the down towards your work. It is so you can hold your graver lower with out bumping the work.

I am not in the UK but here are some suppliers in the UK:

Good luck on your journey. If you have more questions feel free to ask.
 
Last edited:

Klare

New Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2021
Messages
2
Thank you for taking the time to reply, was very helpful. The link to the sites was just what I needed.
kind regards
Klare
 
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