For Beginners and the never ending redundant questions


~ Elite 1000 Member ~
May 10, 2013
Laredo, Texas
I am continuing to edit this post as thoughts and responses are posted.

There are two types of beginners in my opinion, informed beginners and give me everything on a plate beginners. Hand Engraving, at times requires one to think outside the box, critical thinking, how do I hold a cup for engraving is an example, I would first see what I can think up, what contraption could I make to hold the cup, if I saw it did not work, I would then search the forum, not only creating one set of words but several if not many set of search words, many times a result title does not even come close to what I was requesting but the result is not always in the title (don't judge a book by its title/cover) read the thread you'll be surprised in what you find.

When you read a thread don't just read the first post, read the whole thing, are there times its just small talk that goes of topic, yes, but if you don't you might just miss the one piece of valuable information you were looking for.

You'll be surprised how old threads contain throves of valuable information, you will learn that Sam has a site called where even more helpful information is found.

How to help with a search by: Roger Bleile (an example this post by roger is found further down in this thread you would never know it unless you read the whole thing)

Roger Bleile "One of the difficulties of searching the site is not knowing what to search for because the beginner does not know the names of tools or styles of ornament, etc. I suggest that each beginner visit the engraving glossary to familiarize yourself with the field. If a person surfs through the whole site they will see pictures and explanations that will answer lots of questions and provide a starting point to search for more information.

Roger Bleile's International, Illustrated Glossary of Hand-Engraving Terminology: "

Thank you Roger

I started from the first thread ever posted, and worked my way to the most recent, yes I did, I learned stuff that I had no idea, that one day I would recall, and it would help me on my current endeavor, there are many valuable post from engravers that have moved on to a better place, and others that just don't partake in the forum any longer, recommendations from Master Engravers and others, wisdom that has been handed down for centuries, its all here.

Please buy the Mr. Glasser's dvd from GRS its only 39.99, become an informed beginner I beg you, not a hand it to me on the plate beginner and you will go far.

Ok there are questions that are asked over and over again and have been answered in many different ways by many, in a world where we get instant gratification, netflix, youtube and whatever else you can think it has created us to expect to have things now and not later.

Hand Engraving is anything but, it takes a lifetime to master, it takes hundred if not thousands of hours of practice, reading and when you think your done you read the same book for example 4 or 5 times because as you learn you realize that the book contains more useful information.

One of the most asked question is how can I start without spending large amounts of money? Can it be done? Yes Does it take longer to learn? YEESSS but we want gratification now don't we? IF you want to learn how to engrave with a nail it can be done and here is proof.

Cheapest way to go.

But im sure most will cringe at that route, I don't want to take years to learn to sharpen different geometries, and other learning curves that come with this method or hammer and chisel. Do not get me wrong some of the best work has been done this way look at Mr. Weldon Lister amazing work done with hammer and chisel.

If your stuck on Hammer and Chisel I recommend these dvd's I own all three and they are worth every penny expensive for a dvd yes, but they are extremely cheap if you consider the valuable information you will learn, it can shave years from the learning curve. I speak of non other than Mr. Lynton Mckenzie. (Just an FYI you can also find each dvd sold individually)

You may have many questions on what engraving setup to buy (probably looking for the cheapest) Do your self a favor don't buy cheap Chinese knockoffs. Think about your profession would you recommend a cheap tool or program for example, of course not. When it comes to tools only the best will do, unless you like to struggle. In my experience the three main systems are (in no particular order) Lindsay, GRS, and Enset. Each can produce masterful work in the right hands.

Cost: unless you stick to the nail and make your own tools needed for hammer an chisel (it can be done), things will get expensive there is not two ways about it. Tools, DVD's, fixtures, vises, classes and so on are expensive in the engraving world, (that's just the way it is). Either save your money to buy tools or just stick to the nail. We all have payments, children, situations, to learn engraving is a WANT not a need. You want something you save your money.

When I started I purchased this dvd it helps explain the several methods to engrave and the price is right. Others may have different opinions but this one is mine. Although he uses older air assisted pieces the gist is there. Yes, the shipping is expensive (you'll see) but if your not willing to spend on this simple dvd. Engraving might not be for you.

There are books/dvd's that are considered a must to have, again opinions may vary but here are my basic must haves.

Sharpening (a must, then comes the tools needed to achieve it)

The expersts guide to Sharpening by Sam Alfano.

And Learn to Draw scrollwork by Sam Alfano

I would also recommend Lee Griffiths

Art & Design Fundamentals by Lee Griffiths

Both book and dvd (don't be cheap)

See what I mean price total is adding up.

There are many more quality dvd's to buy these are just the tip of the iceberg.

Books dont get me started on books, you thought you spent to much money in college for books, well you'll spend as much on engraving books, but here is a oldy but goody.

The Art of Engraving by Mr. Meek

wooahhhhh hold on you havent purchased any tools yet and what is our total now?

Your best bet is to find someone local and try out their tools, maybe an apprenticeship you never know.

But here on the forum your best tool, the tool you should master is the "Search button

found here

I mean to offend no one, its just in my opinion this is the nature of the art of hand engraving it takes years to get even proficient and it costs money to have your "wants"

Now go make good use of your search button and enjoy the ride.

Start with Tool list for beginners (its in the tip archive)


If finding someone locally does not work out GRS, they have classes for beginners, check them out, classes fill up quickly, New classes are posted December 1st of every year. If a class is full get on the waiting list, either someone cancels and if there's enough demand a second class can maybe opened.

There are other class options just search on Google.

Remember the best way to learn is a one on one class (ask all you want your paying for the time, might as well ask), this would be ideal, but as you'll find out quickly its also expensive, information on here is free, there are few places that I know of where highly qualified and probably some of the best in the world reach out and help, but new guys and gals have to (help yourselves so the pros can help you) thats all.

There are few times that I notice the top notch guys answering the redundant questions (if you do what is recommended it would generate a greater response) and some questions concerning three systems mentioned, like which one is better will also get you no where, they all can do the same thing, they all end up costing around the same when the cost is totaled. (unless you get a great deal on a used one, so save up your cash)

Remember time is money, all of the pros on here dedicate their precious free time to help us the new generation, so lets help them by posting some meaningful questions after we have exhausted our research.

Here is a challenge for beginners: Find and old thread that helped you learn something, bring back that thread from the dead, post in that thread (it will now be the most recent), its what I used to do, it not only helped me but others that are learning.

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