How Deep To Cut?

pmace

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Are the castings sold through FEGA an accurate representation of how deep the cuts on "regular" engraving typically are done? I'm not talking about sculpting or engraving motorcycle parts but the run of the mill firearms, knives, watches, jewelry, etc. that is done. I know I've been cutting way too deep since day one and I've lightened up a lot. If those castings are a fair representation of what things are supposed to look like I'm still at least twice as deep as I should be. Maybe that's why I struggle with straight lines, corners and backgrounds. It's hard to get a feel for what you are aiming for from videos and photos alone.
 

John B.

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Yes, the castings sold by FEGA are a true representation of the depth and actual cuts of the original engravings.
To really judge the depth it is best to order the castings without ink.
 

AllenClapp

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I have a bunch of castings that have been offered by FEGA over time and most of them are very good examples of the actual cuts, particularly the later ones.
Many engravers offer castings both ways on their own websites: one with blacking and the other without. It is instructive to see the before and after. Some engravers also offer a casting of the basic scroll cuts and leaf outlines WITHOUT any shading (sometimes with and sometimes without background removal). These are really useful for transferring the designs to a practice plate so you can see just how close you can cut to the same depths. For example, Layne Zuelke of Southern Custom Engraving offers both kinds. These are great practice tools and worth the money when you are trying to improve your game.
If you want to make a casting of your own work so you can directly compare castings, GRS and others offer casting supplies.
As I write this, I wonder if it would be a good service for EngraversCafe.com to add another generic category to folks could add locations where castings are available, similar to the tools-for-sale category. Yes, I admit it: I am a casting junkie.
 

pmace

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Thanks John. I was watching some of Steve Lindsay's videos and the size of the chips and the ease at which he was able to pop them out at the end of the cut led me to believe I was still cutting too deep. Now I see why gravers have to be kept so darn sharp!
 

monk

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the problem ( maybe ) depending on the graver in use, the deeper you cut, the wider it gets. this may be the effect you want, maybe not. if you're using an air toy, those tools will let you cut almost clean thru a plate. when pushing, it's far more difficult to get too deep.
 

pmace

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I look back at some of my first H&C plates and see some of the furrows I was making. A little dirt and I could have planted 'taters in some of them. I think the light has finally come on that finesse, not brute force, is the key. Now I just have to convince my heavy hands to back off.
 

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