How I hold rings for inside engraving

James Roettger

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Thread starter #1
I use a 2" diameter rubber stopper as a pad when inside engraving. This works well with either hand pushing or pneumatic. The elevated narrow pad allows the hand and fingers easy rotation clearance. It holds the ring well requiring only moderate gripping with the left hand as the cutting pressure alone pushes it down onto the pad. This type of stopper can be found and good mom and pop type hardware stores like Ace, etc. I prefer a 100V angle with 20 degree heel and Lindsay relieving facet geometry on a long narrow graver.
 
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#3
James,

This is idea does work. I have seen people use a wine cork in the same way. I would reccomend to engravers and jewelers to use a fixture if at all possible it doesn't matter if it's my fixture or any other one. Even a homemade one would be good. The reason is that after years of gripping like this it isn't a matter of if but when you will develop carpal tunnel syndrome. My sausage fingers as many call them including myself are like pliers themselves from all the years of gripping they are very strong because of it. Many jewelers have finger gripping power that is amazing. Now I have the classic carpal tunnel syndrome. My fingers are always a little numb to very numb sometimes it's even painful. I could have the surgery but it's ore likely that it will just come back once a person continues to use there hands in the same way.

If a person is doing this kind of work occasionally then it would probably not have as much effect but bench jewelers do so much gripping that the more aids like fixtures one uses like a bench mate ball vise and all the other fixtures available today, it only makes sense to spend the money to prevent injury to yourself.

Sam does some of the finest inside ring engraving I have seen . He uses one of my fixtures for holding rings for inside engraving maybe he could give his opinion.

Chris
 

James Roettger

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Yes I would imagine that carpal tunnel syndrome could be a risk for some. I did buy the GRS fixture but found that because the fixture is wider than most rings it limits your turning arc angle quite substantially. I tried the tool once and put it in storage. The fixtures also can be problematic with stone set and fragile rings. I've been doing it this way for 27 years without a problem so I would imagine that I am probably less prone to the injury than some. A person has to know their limits and listen to their body and heed it's early warnings. The rubber really only requires a light guiding grip. Acquiring a certain "hanging loose" skill is required to rotate it. It's not a matter of money but an understanding that this method is faster by virtue of providing the greatest turning arc capacity. I also do yoga 5 times a week and focus on wrist strength building as well as back strengthening. Without yoga I have regular and severe problems and with it virtually none. I believe that the type of work we do requires a regular maintenance regime to be sustainable. I see many people get older and complain about their aching body all the while not taking any serious measures to keep fit and flexible. Your fixture does look very useable and the physical strain point is well taken but I really don't see a need to try another angle limiting fixture at this point when this works so easily. Horse and water thing maybe. I did actually take out my old GRS fixture and gave it a second look. It's 6.5 mm wide which is not too wide. Upon trying it again I just find it too feel very encumbering compared to the complete freedom of rotation currently experienced, especially under a scope. On the pad I have a fixed focal point set on the scope and rarely need to adjust it. 180 degree rotations are fluid. Mostly I can't see how any fixture could be better when this is easy for me to hold now. Also when you bump the engraver onto the edge of the ring held in a fixture it is more prone to skidding than when hand held.
Here's the above ring completed.
 
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#6
Hi James.

Really interesting thank you. And so simple!!! :)

What shaped gravers do you use? I've read a bit about specially shaped gravers that are bent to certain angles to enable access to the inside of the ring and make cutting easier.

Cheers
Andrew
 

James Roettger

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Thread starter #7
I use mostly a straight graver ground narrow about an inch from the cutting tip. The narrow shank allows wider arc inside the ring. Here are some tips I use. I do intend to make another one soon like Mike Dubber uses in Chris DeCamillis' video of his holding device.

 

mbroder

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#10
I don't really like using fixtures for inside ring engraving. I find them cumbersome. I just use setters cement. It's quick and easy.
I'm currently working with a broken thumb on my left hand, so gripping rings is impossible.

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1343149743.051987.jpg


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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sam

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#12
For a long time I used a block of wood with different width grooves in it for holding rings for inside engraving. And yes, Chris' fixture with its rotating feature works really well for inside ring engraving.

As for bent gravers, I've never been able to feel the love for them. Maybe with pushing they're ok, but in my handpiece I get all kinds of bounce. I've pretty much given up on them since I started crossing Ts and putting dashes between numbers with a cut of a flat graver. Of course there are engravers who do more inside ring engravings in a day than I do in a year, and what I know I learned on the fly, and keep it pretty simple.
 

James Roettger

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The bent gravers are made from 1/8" diameter drill rod I got from smallparts.com . I made my bent gravers with the "U" shaped detours to line up the impact hand piece with the cutting tip in as much a straight line as possible. I'm doing another ring today and am finding on that rubber pad I really don't have to use much strength in my grip. I pivot the ring as I'm cutting each stroke and the tool is mostly held in a straight direction. It actually takes more power to hold the airgraver than the ring. Another nice thing about the free hand approach is I don't have to rotate a fixture every letter. I can go down a row of letters cutting stem after stem of every letter on a word before rotaing 180 degrees to travel in the opposite direction from the top down. No need to move around an engravers block which also adds physical stress.
 
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Christopher Malouf

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#14
Thank-you very much for posting. You're information is always spot-on and to peek onto your bench is always enlightening. Some time ago on Lindsay's forum, you had posted a ring with inside block lettering ... another fine example.

I have been using the ring holder that comes with the engraving block accessories (the pins and stuff). A couple of curved grooves cut in the leather keep the bottom of the ring at the very top of the holder without slipping and is added resistance against the additional cutting pressure required for inside lettering on stainless steel rings - also the jaws are not so tight that the ring can be rotated to move to the next letter quickly. Low tech but also quick.

Something very interesting to note is this very old spoon ... which I initially photographed because of the cool sculpted scroll. Upon close examination of the script letter engraving, it's evident that a lot of turning radius is not required for many of the cuts. Cuts are made with minimal rotation and a roll of the graver to create the curved portion of the letter. Learning to roll the graver in this fashion is typically not what is taught is this modern world of microscopes and turntables which makes the these old engravings all the more valuable.
 

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Kevin Scott

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#15
Here is a ring holder I recently bought next to the one I previously posted.

Just marked "Germany", bronze with steel screws. Not nearly as nicely made or as easy to use as the one on the right.

The old jewelry engraving books mostly say a fancy holder is not needed, but some say it is very helpful when learning. From my very limited experiences with engraving inside rings I can see why they say this. A holder allows you to focus on the cutting and not worry about holding the ring.
But a good engraver can do it faster without the holder because he saves time setting the holder up.
But even if you are good at it, the holder can save you wear and tear, carpel tunnel etc on your hands.
 

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sam

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#17
inside_ring_fixture.jpg

Mario: I have a similar fixture as yours. It works very well for inside ring engraving and the thumbscrews are very easy to use. I bought it on eBay not long ago.
 

Mario Sarto

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#18
Yes, look at that! It is an "Augusta" fixture. I guess, some of these are still in use.
:)

EDIT: I hope this works (was a large file), this is the original instruction sheet.

cardan.jpg

Funny thing: they wrote (under the headline) that the engraving achievement is absolute coequal to an engraving done by hand! Well ...
 
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