Scorpers

KCSteve

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A while back the subject of 'scorpers' came up. They're little scraping / shaving tools that the Europeans use and most of us Americans don't quite know about.

In the 'Gold Inlay Tool' thread these two messages (which I saved off) were posted:

A scorper from "Engraving on Precious Metals":
Sorry guys, I've been a bit busy the past few days to photograph one of my scorpers. Thanks for postin that Kevin. What I use is basically the same thing.

If you want to try one out the geometry for a sharpening fixture is 60º for the heel with a 15º lift/post. Then the flat is put on at 15º lift also. The 60º sides make the flat parallel whatever the width. Get this wrong and you'll get a tapered flat which won't work or rather, it will to a certain degree but the first time you resharpen you'll get a different sized flat.
Yesterday I finally got around to trying to make one.

I'm sure it's 'off' enough to be the subject of some serious mockery by anyone who actually knows how to make one but it looks fairly close to the illustration and dang that thing works great! :yes

You can shave off just the finest bit with an easy hand push. I've been doing a lot of hobo nickels so I made a rather small one for flattening out some of the very small areas I have to deal with and as I said, it's working extremely well.

Just wanted to thank Kevin P. and Marcus for their posts on this handy tool!
:tiphat:
 

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silverchip

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#2
I read about this many moons ago and still am not sure what a real scorper looks like.Even in the illustrations that you posted it says"like a scorper".I believe that it was in the Jewelery engravers Manual that referred to this type of tool.
 

KCSteve

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I'm saving it to show to those who have used real ones before.

After all, isn't the rule "Don't mock it until you've tried it?" :p

Silverchip

As near as I can tell (and this would be why I am so open to mockery) it's basically a square graver with a small flat ground on the bottom. I tapered the end of mine in to make it narrower and that, combined with the way the base V graver is made makes it good for getting into small spaces.

Part of what I'm hoping this thread will produce is a picture or two of scorpers from those who know how to make them.
 

Ray Cover

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#6
That is how I have made my flats since I started engraving. That is how the Ray Cover flat Lindsay templates from Steve are set up.

Ray
 

mitch

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#7
i made something very similar years ago in carbide for flattening the bottom of inlay cavities in harder steels.
 

Kevin P.

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Originally Posted by Marcus Hunt
Sorry guys, I've been a bit busy the past few days to photograph one of my scorpers. Thanks for postin that Kevin. What I use is basically the same thing.

"If you want to try one out the geometry for a sharpening fixture is 60º for the heel with a 15º lift/post. Then the flat is put on at 15º lift also. The 60º sides make the flat parallel whatever the width. Get this wrong and you'll get a tapered flat which won't work or rather, it will to a certain degree but the first time you resharpen you'll get a different sized flat."

I still don't understand what Marcus was saying here. Did he ever post a picture?
Another needed thing is a firm definition of 'heel' verse 'lift'.
I tried to push for this sometime back. Andrew answered it didn't make any difference because when engravers get together they know what they're talking about. (paraphrase). We get together via the internet which is different than getting together in person, obviously I thought.
I haven't checked Roger B's compendium to see if he makes a distinction between lift & heel.
Kevin P.
 

Gemsetterchris

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#9
Scorper is just a generic name for the hand tool steel.

Could be a flat, half round , spitzstick (onglette) stuck into a wooden handle.
 

KCSteve

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That is how I have made my flats since I started engraving. That is how the Ray Cover flat Lindsay templates from Steve are set up.

Ray
Great!

I plan to get that set of templates soon. I was thinking that a scorper would lend itself to the Lindsay template system so it's good to see that there's already one available.

Kevin P.

I just took a blank, trued up all four sides at 45 degrees / 0, then did a little bit of taper on one corner (45 / 5) because I wanted a small point. Flipped over and did a bigger taper (45 / 15) to thin down the top. Put on a 60 degree face so now I have a square (90 degree) V graver that's got 5 degree lift on the bottom and is tapered down from the top at 15 degrees to make a smaller point. Set to about 0 / 5 and flattened the top a bit just to make the point smaller and thin things down some more.

Then I did my best to turn it into something like a scorper by going back to the bottom and setting for 60 / 15 and grinding the first part of the point down from a 90 to a 60. Then I set to 0 / 15 and added the little flat strip. There's no heel but the lift does something similar in keeping it from digging in (after a couple of practice cuts).

If you can follow what I did you should also get something that works. Like I said, I'm pretty sure it's not quite right but it's close enough to cut well and in the end that's all that matters.
 

monk

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#11
anybody remember james b. meek ? he wrote this here book. in this book he wrote, he showed how to create a scorper. remember ?? at least to our dear and beloved friend, this was an every day tool. how soon we all forget !
 

Kevin P.

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#12
Steve what you say seems good and I'll check it out more closely.
I would still like someone who knows the difference between 'lift' & 'heel'.
And Marcus cautions about getting the 60° sides parallel or suffer the consequences. There's been a little more water under the bridge so I'll review everything to see if it makes more sense than it did.
I'll try your formula Steve.
Kevin P.
 
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#13
I have over twenty different shaped and sizes of Scorpers in my tool collection. they are made of chrome steel by Glardon Vallorbe in Switzerland. I use them for carving crests and bright cutting settings and such, I use half round scorpers for cutting the channels for box joints, we call the hinge on a box it's joint. I also use polished half round scorpers for bright cutting patterns on surfaces to be covered with transparent enamels.
Here is a photo of one of my scorpers and a badge that I carved using skorpers, the backgroung texture are cuts with a half round scorper.
James Miller FIPG.
 

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#16
skorpers

I checked through my tool stocks and found some raw scorper blades, I also found some texturing scorpers, sometimes called liners in the UK. They scorpers with machined parallel lines cut into the cutting face and are used for texturing such as cross hatching, I have also used these for cutting fur on carved animals.
below are a couple of scans of the raw scorpers.
James
 

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#17
Hi Kevin

I'll give it a go for you..........Lift is what helps create the heel or any other angle.

On a GRS dual angle sharpener........Rotation is the horizontal angle and lift is the vertical angle.

The flat heel is put on at 15 degrees lift (raise the angle by 15 degrees) Rotation will be zero.

The side angles are 15 degree lift with a 60 degree rotation.

There, I've eprobabley just added to your confusion :)

Cheers
Andrew

PS James........so what you are saying is the same as Gemsetterchris..........that a scorper is a generic name for the tool and then you shape it to what you want,,,flat, round etc etc.

And.....that is a stunning pendant. Your work is pretty amazing!!
 
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#18
PS James........so what you are saying is the same as Gemsetterchris..........that a scorper is a generic name for the tool and then you shape it to what you want,,,flat, round etc etc.

In our UK tool suppliers lists we have gravers and scorpers listed. The scorpers are sold in many flat and half round width sizes, the only shaping I do is to grind the cutting face to give me a smaller honing surface.
This is a page showing scorpers,from one of our major suppliers;
http://www.cooksongold.com/Jewellery-Tools/Round-Edge-Scorper-No.6-6-prcode-999-AYL
James
 

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#19
Thanks James

It's always interesting to see the proper/different names for these things. I've got a whole stack of them and now I know what to call them other than onglette, flat, round........or thingamajigs :)

Cheers
 

Sam

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#20
Never tried one of these tools. What advantages do they have over conventional flat gravers? The heel (lift) looks really long to me.
 

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