Newbie: help please hammer and chisel

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Thread starter #1
Hi everyone. I'm from Australia and very enthusiastic in learning how to engrave with hand and chisel.

My family owns a trophy shop and I believe these two go hand in hand. It is very hard to find a good hand engraver in my area so I hope to find my niche here. As far as I know, most of the hand engravers in my area use some sort of dremel type tool which I've tried but find it very hard to control and felt that this was not the way to go at all.

This morning I found Sam's hammer and chisel youtube video on google and felt a strong calling to the method.

I have been practicing calligraphy to better my handwriting and therefore engrave nice fonts and hopefully scrolls too.

I am so thankful for the beginners tool list thread. The art of engraving and engraving historic firearms are currently in my shopping cart though I think I will only be able to afford the art of engraving as the engraving historic firearms cost $270AU from Brownells AU.

There are no hand engraving shops in AU. The closest I've found are jeweller shops. But they don't sell square gravers only flat, knife, half round and onglette gravers with different sizes. I read on the glossary that hand engravers mostly use square or flat. I've also read somewhere on the forum that onglette are used as well. So my question is, will any graver do the job? as I'm not quite sure with size differences. I rang the jeweller shop today and they couldn't really help me with engraving info as they only know gems and jewellery. I hope you guys can point me to the right direction.

Thank you and looking forward to everyone's suggestions.

Cheers,
J

PS. the gravers are HSS. I hope that helps.
 
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sam

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#2
Welcome to the Cafe :tiphat:

I would suggest using a square HSS graver. They are easy to sharpen and perfect for learning H&C engraving. At this point you don't need flats or onglette gravers. Just learn to cut with a square chisel, and when you're able to control that really well, you can get a few flats.

In one of my youtube videos I show hand sharpening. It takes a bit of practice but you can learn it. Here's my hand sharpening "system".

sams_sharpening_system.jpg
 

John P. Anderson

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#3
You need sharp tools. It's the foundation of learning to engrave.

If you can't hand sharpen your pocket knife to a shaving edge you're lacking the skill to properly hand sharpen a graver. It'll come with practice.
 

John P. Anderson

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#4
I have trophy my dad won in the early fifties that the plate was hand engraved with a simple lettering style. It's a nice touch over the modern machine lettering.
 

Crossbolt

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#5
Jon
Here's my advice and perspective as a hobby beginner:

0. Start with basic "square" gravers using either the GRS or Lindsay sharpening systems. I have both; they each have advantages. My bias on beginning is the Lindsay because it's so reproducible and I think that's one less source of variation but it's really not that important.

1. If at all possible find a way to take a class.
It will make it much easier to make progress.

2. Spend time searching the archives here; there is a lot of useful information

3. Spend some money on various basic videos; there are some really good one's. Everyone I have I've found useful.

4. Don't rush into complex forms; practice basics (lines, circles, etc.). Note, I'm guilty of bypassing this so "as I say not as I do" :)

5. In addition to the "hammer and chisel" the other fundamental basic is a way of securely holding your work. After that I'd say the next most useful thing is some form of power hone which dramatically increases your practice time by reducing your sharpening time.

Im sure others can correct and add to this.

Welcome

Jeremy
 

John B.

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You might want to list your location - there could be someone close by who might offer some help.

Roger
Thank you for your post about location Roger. It is something that really bothers me that some members do not post even a general location.
I's extremely hard to offer the correct help or direction when you have no perspective of circumstance or general location.
Thank you, JonCogs at least you said you were in AU and that $$$$ are a consideration. Welcome, glad you found the Cafe forum.
But AU is a huge country and there are several fine AU engravers that might be able to give you some guidance if they are near you.
You might find their info if you check some of their Cafe profiles. Best of luck with your engraving journey.
 
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Thread starter #8
Thank you so much everyone for taking the time to give me advice. I will definitely follow through.

I just purchased the art of engraving by meeks. I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Roger B and John B, I am from Melbourne. I assumed everyone here is mostly US based and did not think it was relevant. But yes you are both certainly right.

John P.A., Yes I totally agree hand engraving gives the trophy a nice touch. I'm a traditionalist which is probably why I'm so drawn to hand engraving and H&S method.

Sam and Jeremy, thank you for the advice. I will be getting square gravers and the sharpening tools today. Does it matter what brand? or are all HSS created the same?

I rang a couple of courses yesterday. One was an engraver in Melbourne City who I later find out no longer holds classes and the other one is an actual school for Jewellery Manufacturer. One of the subjects is hand engraving. I'm hoping to perhaps do just this subject of the course. The course coordinator is on holidays at the moment. So will have to ring back when she gets back.

They're basically the only two courses I could find online locally.

I feel the universe might be telling me to slow down a bit but I just get too excited lol :biggrin:
 

matthew.townsley

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#9
Hi Jon,

I'm from Sydney NSW. I've been learning for a good few years now, mostly self taught with the guidance of the fine people here and the videos that are available to purchase as well (Sam Alfano's videos are very good).
There is a school that has started in Sydney called the Jewellery Institute of Australia https://www.jewelleryinstitute.com/
That's about the only place that offers official lessons in hand engraving, however this is taught under microscope using pneumatic tools.
If you want to learn hammer & chisel I am not too sure who does it in Australia, but I do know there a number of engravers on here and around Australia that would be happy to give you some pointers and assistance as you need it.
In the meantime, practicing drawing and cutting straight and curved lines will be a good starting point to get a feel for the tools.

There are a number of places where you can buy the gravers you need. They are jewellery supply stores. They all stock square, flat and onglette etc
http://www.cjservice.com.au/ - Combined Jewellery Services
http://www.jewellerssupplies.com.au/ - Australian Jewellery Supplies
https://koodak.com.au/ - Koodak

Both Koodak & AJS have a store in Melbourne (I think)
Hope that helps mate!
 

monk

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hand engraving, for me, is almost always preferred over machine or laser work. in my area, historically, very few ever sprung for the xtra money for hand work on trophies. this situation led me to buying a pantograph, a cnc machine, and a laser. none of these machines made me a better artist. they did, however, allow me to rake in money that otherwise would likely have been unavailable.
i truly hope your engraving endeavors are successful in that engraving niche
 
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Thread starter #12
hand engraving, for me, is almost always preferred over machine or laser work. in my area, historically, very few ever sprung for the xtra money for hand work on trophies. this situation led me to buying a pantograph, a cnc machine, and a laser. none of these machines made me a better artist. they did, however, allow me to rake in money that otherwise would likely have been unavailable.
i truly hope your engraving endeavors are successful in that engraving niche
Hi monk, thank you for your message. You are totally right, no one wants to pay for engraving for trophies. I definitely know this. We get probably at least 80% of our customers squeezing us up for prices everyday. I'm not sure hand engraving would be the way to go to getting rich lol. We only have one laser at work and a very old engraver with a diamond point (not sure what they're called). We definitely don't rake any dollars in with those either.

I too sure hope the future is bright with my hand engraving venture. My goal is to at least create beautiful pieces to people who would appreciate it. Something I can be proud of. Something I can say I started on my own. :)
 

RDP

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Welcome to the forum Jon, a lot of good advice here, I just do it as a hobby and what I do is self taught, and not very good :), it will get frustrating a lot of times but keep at it and you'll get there, I am sure there is a market for hand engraving when you become good at it, from my personal experience I know there are people that will pay even for "BAD" engraving as long as is hand engraved and doesn't look like the other option we have here, Mister Minute, ;)

Good luck in your journey, and above all have fun with it and enjoy it mate . :thumbsup:

Richard.
 
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Thank you for the well wishes Richard. I expect to do a lot of yelling as I'm learning along the way lol. I'm still hoping to find a local engraver that could maybe teach me. Fingers crossed.

Just bought my square gravers this morning from the australian jewellers supplies. Can't wait to learn to sharpen them :)

and yes, I feel so bad for those people that have no choice but to go to mister minit! no offence, mister minit.
 

diandwill

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https://www.engraver.com/on-line-training/

Tira Mitchell offers on-line training. She is air assist, so don't know if that's a workable thing.

Danae Cresswell is an Australian that is rapidly becoming exceptional. I'm not sure if she teaches. Annie Wieden does do some teaching in AU, and there are a few US engravers that travel down to hold classes.

Danae started with a dremel, but is mostly air assist now. There are several you tube tutorials on how to build your own. I don't know how they compare to the GRS system that I use, but the people that have made them, like them.

There are lots of possibilities. Just don't get too frustrated. If you stick with it, it will happen.
 
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Thank you diandwill for giving me names. They will definitely help me in the future.

I'm hoping to learn everything there is to learn about hand engraving which is why I would like to start from the very start and do everything by hand including sharpening. It sounds like I'm making it hard for myself doesn't it? Lol. I hope it works on my favour anyway.

I have a feeling I will probably end up using those pneumatic gravers for work just so it's faster but for personal work I would still like to stick to the old school traditional h&c (hopefully). Just something about it you know :).

So fingers crossed I'll find someone local who still does old school h&c. Otherwise I may have to travel overseas

Thanks again everyone for all your advice :)
 

monk

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Hi monk, thank you for your message. You are totally right, no one wants to pay for engraving for trophies. I definitely know this. We get probably at least 80% of our customers squeezing us up for prices everyday. I'm not sure hand engraving would be the way to go to getting rich lol. We only have one laser at work and a very old engraver with a diamond point (not sure what they're called). We definitely don't rake any dollars in with those either.


I too sure hope the future is bright with my hand engraving venture. My goal is to at least create beautiful pieces to people who would appreciate it. Something I can be proud of. Something I can say I started on my own. :)
the "diamond point" is on a device called a pantograph. these can be useful for doing repetitive layout on many commerciial type items. the scratch imparted by the diamond is then engraved over by hand. making yer own templates makes this a very effective time saver when doing multiple layouts
 
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Thread starter #19
Hi monk. We don't have the pantograph anymore. My dad gave it away years ago. I never even got to play with it. The old engraver I mentioned runs on a software. It weights a tonne and is a part of our family lol.

But thank you for the tip. What else do you use pantograph for?
 

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