best way to sharpen beginner

AK123

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May 23, 2022
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I am just starting out and ordered a square gravers blank from GRS, I have been looking into the correct way to sharpen it so I can cut through the metal smoothly, the videos I've watched on it involve grs fixtures, crocker style fixtures or just sharpening by hand, I'm sure the grs would be the best for the job but its just a little pricey, i was wondering if theres a cheaper way for a beginner or whether i should just save up. Thank you for any help :)
 

monk

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welcome to the forum. one of the best, lynton mckenzie, did most of his sharpening by using very simple techniques.the grs way assures exact repeatability. hit or miss geometry can produce good results. xact geometry assures fewer variables in the learning curve. reducing variables makes for more enjoyable work. this art can be fun, or a pita.
learn to use the search bar in the top right corner. over time, youtube has compiled a truckload of videos. good luck
 

allan621

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AK123

Sam's video is great way to sharpen until you get a more accurate setup. Takes practice but in a little while you should get the hang of it. Take a closer look at the length of sharpened sides. It may seem really short, but if its what he goes for you should too. Plus at the beginning of learning to sharpen it makes it easier to grind down and start over if you have to.
Good luck and stay with it. You'll get there.

Allan
 

John B.

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Do a search for " Anatomy of a Graver" on this forum.
Download page #12 for a square graver and follow the instructions for a 90 degree graver.
You might want to download all the pages and keep them for your later study of graver sharpening.
But I advise you to concentrate on and make just a 90 degree square at first.
Sam's method will work to do this and get you going.
The other types of gravers will come into use as you progress in engraving.
Don't get too complicated early in your engraving journey.
Keep it simple and enjoy it.
Best wishes and welcome to engraving.
 
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AK123

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Thank you all for the help it is all really useful and I'll have a closer look into everything and hopefully get better with practice. I had another question about the size of graver i should get, the square one I have right now is 1.75mm diameter is this okay for a beginner or do you advise a different size ?
 

allan621

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AJB

There are a lot of different square stock gravers available. But no matter what the recipe for the steel the main thing is sharpening it correctly. As a novice engraver it makes life a lot easier.

If your expensive and cheap tools are sharpened correctly, use identical layouts to test them and see which ones cut the best for you. And take note if they lose their sharpness quickly or are prone to stress failure like points breaking or losing relatively large pieces of the sharpened area ( chipping ). The point of this is to chose a graver you have confidence in. That's the difference between expensive gravers or cheap ones. Confidence.

Keep asking questions. It a good thing to do.

Allan
 

AJB

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Thanks Allan,

I should have mentioned that one reason for the cheap gravers is so that I wouldn’t feel horrible if I mess one up while learning to sharpen. I am currently using a 120 degree DIY templet that is functional, but not great.
 

allan621

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AJB

Using the cheaper gravers to get the sharpening down is a good idea. Being able to sharpen precisely with templates and fixtures is actually a new thing, maybe just thirty years old or so. But before that all tools were hand sharpened and yet still produced some pretty impressive work over the last few thousand years.

I read or heard the great Ken Hunt say if a graver cuts, it cuts. Sharpen then try cutting with it.

One thing you should do after sharpening and before engraving is carefully feel the edge of the sharpened sides. If you feel tiny bumps or it doesn't feel smooth, it has burs on the edges from the sharpening. The way I learned is to gently tap the sharpened end into a piece of wood. After this feel the edges again, should feel smooth. I engrave jewelry so I polish my tools after sharpening and that also takes the burs off.

Allan
 

allan621

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Thank you all for the help it is all really useful and I'll have a closer look into everything and hopefully get better with practice. I had another question about the size of graver i should get, the square one I have right now is 1.75mm diameter is this okay for a beginner or do you advise a different size ?
ALK123

The size blank you ordered from GRS is fine to start with. I buy blanks and if I need a thinner one for a certain job I just grind the sides down to what I need.

The process of sharpening works on any width of square stock. I even have a few square gravers that look like sewing needles and still sharpen them the same way as the larger width gravers.

Allan
 

TwoRivers

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Mar 27, 2014
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I am just starting out and ordered a square gravers blank from GRS, I have been looking into the correct way to sharpen it so I can cut through the metal smoothly, the videos I've watched on it involve grs fixtures, crocker style fixtures or just sharpening by hand, I'm sure the grs would be the best for the job but its just a little pricey, i was wondering if theres a cheaper way for a beginner or whether i should just save up. Thank you for any help :)
I would check out Steve Lindsay engraving tools. airgraver.com His sharpening templates are great, been using them for years. There’s a whole new world out there with Steve Lindsay
 

AK123

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May 23, 2022
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I’ve tried sharpening some more with the tips I have received on here and it’s going better, I’ve been practising on some coins and my graver keeps slipping, would this be bc of the graver geometry or the way I’m using it?
 
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