Homemade graver from repurposed V chisel

machv5

New Member
Joined
May 10, 2022
Messages
1
I had a spare V tool (aka veiner) chisel of good quality (vintage Stubai) that I repurposed into a push graver. The steel is excellent quality and definitely hard enough for the work. I snapped the chisel down to past the V by a sharp blow from a hammer. I've angled it as well as I am able to, with my limited experience (being pretty much nothing hands on with gravers and everything learned from YouTuber creators like Uri Tuchman who's nothing short of inspirational and my main reason for becoming enamoured with the art. Anyway I've no experience at all and am running into an issue that I've not seen anyone else run into let alone mention and explain a solution for. It also doesn't help that the how to tutorial creators are basically master craftsman at their work and make everything look effortless. I'm hesitant to believe that my issue is unique. But as I am so new to this I am at a Los as to trying to discern just what it is. My lack of skill or bad geometry or both.

The issue is this. If I pull the sharp tip along the copper the lines are smooth, albeit more scratches than deep engraved lines. Abd turning into a curve is beyond possible. But if I push the tool as you're supposed to do (no hammers or mallets used) the lines I get are from light scratches and uncontrolled due to slipping. To to sharp and angle that just digs a dot into the copper. Or when I get the angle just right and push the lines create an almost dotted line and cut groove that looks like the stitches a sewing machine makes. And feels like one of those appalling cheap hardware store engravers from the early 1980s as it goes across the copper. Those graceful spirals of copper that glide out of the sheets being worked on that seem effortless as drawing a pencil across a piece of paper are elusive to me. What am I doing wrong? I know my skills are rudimentary only my use of carving scrolls in wood using a variety of gouges and using a pyrography pen etc... is my limit with artistic creativity. I have worked with copper before making bracelets and working with silver to make rings and such. So I'm not that naive. However this copper graving is getting on my nerves a bit. I just haven't gotten around to buying a set of hss push gravers and a few handles. I thought I'd make my own while I decided if it was right for me. I've made carving tool from old saw blades before that perform as well as store bought ones so I have the ability to follow any alterations I have to. On the surface all looks pretty well but something is off. Anyway sorry for rambling
 

Sinterklaas

Elite Cafe Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2015
Messages
163
Location
Holland
What kind of graver shape are you wanting to make? 90degree or round or something else?

If you cant get it to cut right your sharpening needs work. Have you made a small heel?
 

monk

Moderator
Staff member
::::Pledge Member::::
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Feb 11, 2007
Messages
10,371
Location
washington, pa
welcome to the forum. first-- u need 2 send a quality closeup of the tool u created. with such, we could show where u may have gone wrong. making yer own gravers is easy. but u need to know a basic geometry that u wish 2 make. just because it's a "v tool" does not mean it's correct for engraving.
 

Nucrona

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::::Pledge Member::::
Joined
May 4, 2022
Messages
9
I had a spare V tool (aka veiner) chisel of good quality (vintage Stubai) that I repurposed into a push graver. The steel is excellent quality and definitely hard enough for the work. I snapped the chisel down to past the V by a sharp blow from a hammer. I've angled it as well as I am able to, with my limited experience (being pretty much nothing hands on with gravers and everything learned from YouTuber creators like Uri Tuchman who's nothing short of inspirational and my main reason for becoming enamoured with the art. Anyway I've no experience at all and am running into an issue that I've not seen anyone else run into let alone mention and explain a solution for. It also doesn't help that the how to tutorial creators are basically master craftsman at their work and make everything look effortless. I'm hesitant to believe that my issue is unique. But as I am so new to this I am at a Los as to trying to discern just what it is. My lack of skill or bad geometry or both.

The issue is this. If I pull the sharp tip along the copper the lines are smooth, albeit more scratches than deep engraved lines. Abd turning into a curve is beyond possible. But if I push the tool as you're supposed to do (no hammers or mallets used) the lines I get are from light scratches and uncontrolled due to slipping. To to sharp and angle that just digs a dot into the copper. Or when I get the angle just right and push the lines create an almost dotted line and cut groove that looks like the stitches a sewing machine makes. And feels like one of those appalling cheap hardware store engravers from the early 1980s as it goes across the copper. Those graceful spirals of copper that glide out of the sheets being worked on that seem effortless as drawing a pencil across a piece of paper are elusive to me. What am I doing wrong? I know my skills are rudimentary only my use of carving scrolls in wood using a variety of gouges and using a pyrography pen etc... is my limit with artistic creativity. I have worked with copper before making bracelets and working with silver to make rings and such. So I'm not that naive. However this copper graving is getting on my nerves a bit. I just haven't gotten around to buying a set of hss push gravers and a few handles. I thought I'd make my own while I decided if it was right for me. I've made carving tool from old saw blades before that perform as well as store bought ones so I have the ability to follow any alterations I have to. On the surface all looks pretty well but something is off. Anyway sorry for rambling
Welcome to this place. I also am new.
Do not set your expectations too high at the outset.
I suggest reading and organizing your posting for ease of reading ( by others) and for clarity.
Now, let’s see what you’ve done. You took a V-tool used to carve wood? You broke off the portion with the V ground into it? The V tool is made from steel in square cross section, round?
Then you did some kind of shaping to the broken end?
Now when you try to engrave the tool embeds itself unles you drag it which leaves only scratches.
Note that the videos often are filmed through a microscope making the “curly cue“ seem much larger.
There are as many graver shapes as there are engravers. But, they all have some common characteristics:
they are made of hardenable steel,
they are very sharp,
there are distinct features to the sharpened end.
Gravers have a cutting face with cutting edges that rest on and cut the copper, silver, steel or other metal. The edges meet with a sharp intersection. Immediately behind (toward the handle) the cutting edges the graver face has metal removed to give the graver more freedom of movement through the metal being cut. This bit of shaping is not unlike the curved leading edges of a sled making movement on lace or snow easier.
If you filed your tool to a diamond shape with a sharp corner that digs in when you push it into the copper you likely need to reshape the underside to produce a “ belly”.
Creating the belly involves carefully removing small amounts of metal reducing the tendency of the graver to become stuck.
Desribing this modification and making it is difficult without illustrations.
Look online, in a library book or on YouTube video to see how to do this. The “belly” makes holding the graver at an angle and pushing it without digging into the metal possible.
Sharpening gravers takes time and skill, it is as essential a skill as the engraving is.
Good luck.
 

ByrnBucks

Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2020
Messages
88
Location
Chattanooga, TN
Good evening Machv5, Welcome to group and good luck down the “rabbit hole”. I’m green as can be so this might not ring true for all but beginning similarly, hand pushing on copper it took quite a while before a clean-ish cut to showed itself. Once you unlock sharpening a working graver Its all uphill from there haha but I don’t believe it would be such a gratifying endeavor if the milestones weren’t thoroughly sought after. There a many fine gentlemen here with an abundance of valuable knowledge willing to help anyone wishing to embark upon this wonderful journey. Good luck and hope you have a wonderful day. BB
 

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