Round vs Square

Deland

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Nov 11, 2006
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I'm a engraver of printing dies (self taught) and use round gravers 90% of the time. I know most of you use 120 square gravers. My question has to do with the tool geometry difference between the two gravers. The reason I use round gravers is that they hold more ink in the line (even in the finest of lines) due to the rounded bottom vs. triangular bottom made by a square graver. But also because the side wall of the cuts are up right vs. the slanted cut from square graver (which would allow the ink to be wiped out when the die is printed).
So my question is "When your engraving is paint/inked black why don't you use round gravers for at least your shading lines?"
This may be a dumb question but from my experience round gravers would seem to be the logical choice.
Thanks!
 

Andrew Biggs

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One thing that comes to my mind is that with a V graver you can make the line thicker or thinner by cutting deeper or shallower. It's also more suited to rolling the graver to widen a cut.

Can you do that with a rounded graver when the walls of the cut are 90 degrees? I've never used a rounded graver for cutting lines.

Good question.

Cheers
Andrew Biggs
 

Sam

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The hallmark of a finely cut shade line is its transition from razor thin to wide and deep. A series of lines cut this way creates beautiful white-grey-black shading. I don't believe I could get this with a round graver. / ~Sam
 

Mike Cirelli

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I think the round would also be much harder to control. As Andrew and Sam says the thick and thin is unattainable. The only thing I used to use rounds for was pushing up prong, very short distance with about a 60, 70 degree face and no heel.
Mike
 

FANCYGUN

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I have found the round graver particularly helpful when inlaying lines. The sidewalls are more verticle and i end up with a more uniform width on the line..But for shading and regular cuts, some form of a V tool works best. I use anywhere from a 120 to a 70 for the most part. and HEY.don't forget the ongalettes...they are sort of like a rounded V and very popular with engravers. I used to use them exclusively but now find the V's easier and more uniform to sharpen.
 

Yves Halliburton

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round or flat

Marty, do you use the round instead of the flat. Are you making the two V lines first then trenching with the round or are you just using the round for everything.
 

FANCYGUN

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I am just cutting it with a round Yves.......sometimes I might touch up with a V around a sharp turn if needed. This is for fine lines like .010 or up to .020 wire. If i am inlaying a wide line then I will usually cut a line with a 90 or 70 V and then go back along side of this with a flat graver which will also help with consistant line width
 

Deland

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Nov 11, 2006
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Location
Mankato, MN
Thanks for the input, rolling the graver would be a problem with a round. I guess I was looking at it more from a wear and tear stand point. A line cut with a round graver would not thin up or wipe away as easily under heavy usage. The engraving inks we use are like liquid sandpaper to the dies. We do "hard chrome" them to help protect them from wear. It kind of odd that the pigment inks are really rough on the dies but the metalic inks (gold and silver) which have brass and aluminum particals in them, do very little damage.
 

Andrew Biggs

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Hi Deland

Perhaps you would like to post some pictures of the printing dies that you engrave and explain it a bit more. It sounds very interesting.

Cheers
Andrew Biggs
 

Marcus Hunt

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The basic cut of a square graver is a teardrop shape going from very fine to thick. This cut is fundimental to gun, knife and jewellery engraving especially with scrollwork and is impossible to achieve with a round graver. Rounds are fine for continuous straight line work (borders,etc.) and for some kinds of lettering (eg. block) but you will never get that beautiful taper that a square graver gives.

cheers,
Marcus
 

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