Good, Bad, and Worst

T.G.III

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Hello the Engravers Cafe,
Lurked around this place for a spell, then joined, I've dabbled a bit over the years working through some of the various proceedures that makes engraving what it is, started buying equipment in 2006.

At one point in time I was in contact with Brian Marshal and had gotten things worked out for me to go and visit, life got hectic and things went awry quickly as they do and I did not get the oppurtunity to follow up with that.

As luck would have it just as things were getting back to normal I was involved in an accident in early January, this is a career ending event due to being a thirty+ year service plumber, no light duty work when your self employed and no apprentice or journeyman to carry the load.

All that said I am looking to commit to this art form.

I've been working with the pencil again and am thinking it's time for some formal instruction.

looking for some critique, don't be shy, I've spent decades dealing with the public in their homes, I've got thick skin and again I'm commited.

My scratching:


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allan621

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Jan 10, 2007
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I think its interesting that you have mostly lettering as your samples instead of scroll work. Are your letters hand drawn or computer generated?

And now for an little criticism. The dog tag Boris looks good but the B over the edge is not. Try making the B smaller and the lower case letters a bit larger, a shade under half the height of the Capital. Plus the lower case r looks too much like a v, which some people will work hard at not liking.

The Gladstone oval disc again is pretty good but the cutting is a bit choppy. The s also sits above the lower case guide line.

The fourth item is impressive looking but I really can't tell what the letters are. I had a book with interwoven script monograms from the forties which was beautiful and amazing but the letters were unreadable. That's a problem.

The C, M and S all have the same problem. They need some sort of fill to unite the elements. The S looks pretty good but it needs a complete fill of lines. It would give it a more unified look against the background.

But overall pretty impressive. And much better than a lot of letter engraving online.

Allan
 

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T.G.III

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Thanks for your interest Allan,

Those were/are the more recent works, the monograms are hand drawn on the piece, the actual lettering is from transfer, I am working on my alphabet as I get re-aquainted with the pencil.

I had read that to break into the business, lettering is the way, I've been focusing my attention mostly that way for a little while now.

The "E" (is a transfer from Sam's monogram program) and the three letter monogram (hand drawn) are cut on those very cheap 304 grade stainless money clips (tough to cut) the letters are W.A.O. I either found the W or the O in a book and built from that.

The Boris and Gladstone dog tags' lettering are both transfers, added elements are hand drawn on the Gladstone disc, it was domed and drilled after this pic was taken and my future dog tags will flow along this design motif.

I am not sure I fully understand the term " fill to unite the elements" but I can surmise it is about a more engaging design ?


Thanks again for your help, much appreciated


But overall pretty impressive. And much better than a lot of letter engraving online.

Thank you for that.

It's easy to fish for compliments from folks that don't really know any better and thats all I've had, nice to hear from a professional.



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T.G.III

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By the way, the images posted are of things cut a year or more ago, at least. Lately it's been bracelets, but Im slow and have been busy until just recently, and there is much other stuff wanting my attention.

First bracelet is a transfer, the other two are hand drawn and the last picture shows where it's at in the process......

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T.G.III

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Big question is, what is the best direction for me to go? general classroom setting or one on one tutoring, anybody?

Or start off with some art classes

Help
 

troutbox

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Mar 8, 2019
Messages
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tg i love those bracelets. i can't say wether you should take classes or not, but i would say that the bracelets are your stronger work. keep making them. there is no substitute for the time you put in to develop a skill. plus it works your mind at the same time. that is, for design and layout and future ideas.
 

allan621

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Jan 10, 2007
Messages
269
I took a class with Sam Alfano at the GRS school a long time ago. It was a great experience, he's a great teacher. But I was transitioning from push gravers I used for 20 years to air powered tools and a microscope and the class was just right for that. A great introduction. You don't need a class for an introduction to using and sharpening tools, holding work or any of the basics. I can see from your work you have the general idea of both letter and ornamental work.

If you are looking to make this into a business then you have to start asking questions. Just because people like your pieces is not enough. They may buy one piece because they like the engraving and know you. But will they buy two? They may tell their friends but will their friends buy and then tell their friends so you have a local following.

Are there jewelry stores in your area that are looking for hand engraving for their jewelry? They may have gotten along without it very well for a while.

If its possible the guy I'd look to is Mike Duber. I think he gives classes. On you tube you can see him hand draw lettering and cut it very efficently. He also does great ornamental engraving. The best of both worlds

I continue in a long line of meatball engravers. I ask the man who started teaching me how good he was. He told me the work comes in, the work goes out. Just have to get it done. He said we were meatball engravers, but our goal is to be the finest meatball engravers in the world. I'm still working to get above just okay. Its been a forty year long go, but I'm still going.

One last thing. One time I drove from the east coast to Chicago for one night just to have dinner with Steve Lindsay. It was just a great night. He asked me on the side how much money I made just doing jewelry engraving. The number shocked him. I made more than almost all the engravers he knew. The reason is that we do quite a few pieces of work during the day. Monograms on rings, inscriptions inside rings, names on trophies. And each one has a minimum charge. And those minimums add up quickly.

A lot of time and practice went into learning to engrave well and efficiently. One of the men who taught me was hard about being efficient. The key he said was to work very slow. One thing at a time. Don't go onto the second thing until the first thing was done right. In time you speed up without even knowing it. He was right.

And the last thing may be the hardest thing. Unless you're independently wealthy or its something for your mother, always charge something. You have to pay for the metal, the electricity, the time you spend laying out and cutting your work; maintaining your work space. Church, masonic lodge, neighbors, relatives- always charge something, If you gave it away for free, they'll still think your making money off them. Unless, its for your mother.

Below is some of my work. All hand drawn; although these days I draw on paper, scan it and then transfer it onto the metal. Got to move with the times.
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T.G.III

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Thank you trout,

The bracelets are newer so they do show a bit more skill, thing is they take forever to cut so I make them for my family as keepsakes etc. It's great practice for me as I get to utilize multiple techniques in their makeup.
 

T.G.III

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Thanks Allan,

Built my plumbing business from scratch in a town population about 7k to start, with several other plumbers in the immediate area, we're up to 9k+ now, couple small towns around as well. I went from business to business in town shaking hands and handing out cards so I've no problem selling myself. Just don't want to sell myself short.

We have a laser engraving outfit in town but not much else, the local jewelry stores send their stuff to an engraver in L.A. I was just asked the other day to cut an Indian Motorcycle emblem on a money clip, his morning coffee group is awaiting the results.

I kinda guessed that one on one tutoring would be the better direction, but again knowledgable input is the key, I've watched most of the youtube vids out there as far as engraving is concerned, I have Mike's lettering casting and many other various engravers' castings and that has helped, along with most of Sam's engraving videos. I have a full library of literature from most of the engravers that have put such works forth, plus the monogram books. I think I recieved the last copy of the Winters book that JJ Roberts had available. (Thanks again JJ)

Definitely not independently wealthy, the majority of work that I've cut has been as gifts to family, makes great practice plates and the work etc. is relaxing for me, also belong to a local guild that builds muzzleloaders and my work with them is "in kind donations", we have put muzzleloaders in ALL of the local govt. buildings, from Court House to City Hall to Library to National Guard Armory etc I've cut on most all of them.
That all being said, I had a day job then.........


I do appreciate your advise, so far this has been the most helpful discussion I've had since I met the man that introduced me to this particular art form. I was only able to spend a few hours with Jim over a couple visits. He moved back to the Bay Area shortly after and I lost contact.

Thanks Again for your help as I believe you've answered the question most worrisome for me, which is; move forward with this or find another path.

This is the card and a practice plate from the man that started me on this path with the first visit, James Whitehead, and a few shots of my doodle book.



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allan621

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Jan 10, 2007
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269
Sometimes it takes a little bit of confidence to be doing what you should be doing. But saying you were able to build a business by cold calling basically everybody made me really envious. Could never do that. It really makes starting a new business easier; many people know you and know they could trust you to do what you say you will do.

I'm just getting back to work again after my career stopping moment. For me it was a major health emergency dealt to my wife. I remember I was getting ready to ship out a tool somewhere when my wife had a reaction to a medication and an organ failure. She spent six months in the hospital and three further years at home learning to eat, talk, walking, taking care of herself and more importantly learning not to fear the unexpected. I didn't work for almost three years taking care of her. Blessed be the Lord she is back to normal and as annoying as she was before she took ill. I am truly grateful for it all. Learned a lot.

But now I am back to work even though I am closing in on 70. I did some engraving when I had to, but mostly I went to the bench to get rid of stress. Getting started again is not easy. I've gone through a lot of my excess tools and will be selling them here pretty soon.

I'm going to send you a sheet of a script letters done by the great Bergling. If I can help you in anyway just drop me a PM.

I wish you success and satisfaction.

Allan
 

T.G.III

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Allan,

Glad to know that you're back at it, life can be anything but easy and down right nasty at times, but thats what makes things interesting I guess.

I appreciate your wisdom and you freely sharing as you have helped me to decide that it is indeed possible to follow this art and be a part of something new.

In many ways It is exciting to not know about the future of your income, plumbing has become so easy as to be almost criminal, I wont miss the public in their homes, or the catastrophic nature of each and every call, people are draining.

Thanks again Allan, you've been a bigger help than you know.
 

T.G.III

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First time inking anything, very bold contrast.

Anyway bent it up and may just keep it for myself as I never seem to keep any of the work


Think I'm going to need to read up on some picture taking.

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