Homemade tools

Joined
Mar 22, 2008
Messages
30
Thread starter #1
Hi everyone.

I'm a complete and utter beginner at engraving, I first took an interest about a year ago, made up some simple tools, and started just messing around a bit. Because of work and such and becoming self-employed my attention got pulled elsewhere and my interest in engraving just seemed to fall to the side. A few days ago I went back and was watching the videos by Lynton McKenzie (hope I got that right) and was inspired once again to start messing around with it. I don't have any intentions on doing it for anything other than a hobby and a nice distraction from the other things that I do, I hope no one takes offense to that.

Anyway I decided to make myself some better tools for engraving. I started by playing around with hammer and chisel engraving, then I bought a system 3, and now I find I'm drawn back to the hammer and chisel method. You wouldn't think a person could be drawn from one method to another in such an insanely short time span as I have between my initial interest and my getting back into it again the other day, but alas, either I'm good at recognizing something I like, or I have the attention span of a five year old.

As I was saying I like making tools, in fact one of the things I like most is making tools. I'm fortunate to have a metal lathe and mini-mill that make it easier for me to do. I make custom harmonicas for a living and I use them extensively for that. But did I mention I love making tools? Well I decided to make a new hammer and set of chisels for my engraving hobby and that's what I did today. I have a bunch of scrap dymondwood laying around from making harmonica combs and I thought "you know I should put that to some use" so that's what I did. I made a new hammer, including the head, and two chisel holders. Basically to make the hammer I took a piece of 3/8" dymondwood 10" long and then cut to shorter pieces from the same type and epoxied those to the side of the main piece basically about the size I thought I wanted the handle to be. Then I just shaped it by hand with a belt sander and sanding drum. The chisel handles are also made from dymondwood that I just turned in my lathe. Right now they are using the GRS quick change chucks but they aren't going to stay that way. I'm going to machine a metal insert for the end of the handle that will let the graver piece pass all the way through it and then have a set screw to hold it in place, that way I can start with a longer graver piece and then set them all to the same length. Something I noticed right away when I tried them out was how much better they worked than my original hammer and chisel handle. These are much much lighter weight than my originals and it seemed immediately that I got much better lines, I wasn't driving the graver in to deep like before, and I seemed have much more control over them without having to exert so much force by hand on the graver handle.

I also made a Lindsay type graver sharpening fixture. It's made from a piece of plastic that I had around the shop, also used in making harmonica combs. However I want to say right up front, that I will not share my drawing, cad file, or cnc code ( I have a small cnc machine I built ) that I used to make it. These are a current product of his, he has most likely spent a lot of time and money coming up with them, and I won't do anything that would take away from his business. I made mine simply for the enjoyment of making it and the challenge of figuring out how to do it. Well actually I should say I made it because I can't grind a graver right to save my life freehand, then add the above statement here. Anyway it's a great design, and it's made a huge difference in my shaping and sharpening. My hats off to Mr. Lindsay for a really cool concept and design. I hope he won't mind that I made one for myself. I will say this, I can certainly tell a difference in the quality of my lines when using a well sharpened graver.

My next project is going to be to make a potters wheel type setup. I really like DIY stuff and I think this will be a fun project, well as soon as I figure out how I want to do it. After looking at some of the pictures on here of ones built by other members I think I have a pretty good idea of how I'm going to go about it. My plan is to make it will tilt as well as making it so it can be raised or lowered. I'll be happy to share any info about the stuff I make, except of course about the Lindsay graver sharpening fixture.

I've attached some pictures of the new hammer I made and the new graver handles, and the sharpening fixture I made, as well as pictures of some of the gravers I have from GRS and one of their handles. Also the graver that I've been using the most and getting the best results from is one that I made from some W1 tool steel. It's 1/8" square stock and I ground it to shape using the Lindsay style fixture. It has a 120 degree angle on it and believe it or not it's really working well. Plus the stuff is dirt cheap and as a beginner I like that, plus I always have some of it lying around for tool making.

I should also apologize for the long post and just have gotten to the nitty gritty and posted my pictures. So thank you for reading.

Chris
www.blowyourbrassoff.com





 

Tira

~ Elite 1000 Member ~
Joined
Nov 9, 2006
Messages
1,529
Location
Doylestown, PA
#3
Welcome Chris! Most engravers start as hobbyists so you are in great company! It's good that you made your tools and have gotten such satisfaction from it. They look great. Please ask questions as they come up and post some of your engraving when you feel comfortable doing so. Glad you're here. :)
 
Joined
Mar 22, 2008
Messages
30
Thread starter #5
Thank you all for the kind words. I really enjoyed the time making the new tools. I'm sure they won't be the last. I have lots of scraps of the dymondwood laying around so I imagine I'll end up with plenty of tool holders and probably more than one hammer.

Chris
 

kcrutche

Elite Cafe Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
296
#6
Chris

If you have been around this Forum very long I am sure you have seen the work of Phil Coggans.

As I understand it Phil changed from Hammer and Chisel within the past year.

The point I am trying to make is, fantastic work can be done with Hammer and Chisel.

I played around with H&C when I first tried Engraving.

I especially like your hammer handle, for very light cuts I liked a light Springy Hammer.

You are starting off correctly, a light Springy Hammer and Sharp Gravers.

Looking forward to seeing some of your work.

Ken
 
Joined
Mar 22, 2008
Messages
30
Thread starter #7
Thanks for the compliment, I appreciate it. As soon as I get the potters wheel made up I'll try and post some pictures of my practice work.

Chris
 

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