Question: ---------Straight Lines ------------

Ishokenmei

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Quick question..."How long did it take you before you could engrave a perfectly straight line, depth, width, ect? over the length of 2 inches. Did two practice plates last night and I was not happy with the results.

I'm going back to the basics and plan on spending the next 100 or so practice plates just on mastering the fundamentals of the graver. Such as straight lines, curved lines, and the basic movements of Script lettering.

With my hectic schedule, I found I was all over the place, and most likely failed to master key movements. I think the desire to go back to the basics was sparked by Andrew's post where he said, "we all are busy and we all have full time jobs" or something like that. That was an awakening moment for me as I have accumulated all of the tools, I just always find reasons not to practice ;(.

Hoping to start fresh, and slowly accumulate my skills each day. I've got it stuck in my head I'll attempt to cut one practice plate a day. Going to be interesting to see what my 100th plate looks like.....I'll post the 1st and last, when I get there.... ;)
 

John B.

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Ishokenmel,
Cut beside, one side or the other of your marked line. DO NOT cut the line.
Cutting on the line your graver can wonder off half a graver width before you notice it.
Also, two or three deep breadths with the last half let out before you start your cut.
Then concentrate on nothing else. Just like straight shooting with a rifle.
 

Sam

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Thank you John for your good advice on cutting next to the line. The only other thing I'd mention is to scribe a fine, sharp line with dividers or a scriber. I find pencil lines for borders are much to thick to follow accurately.

I have never used a longer heel graver for straight lines. Maybe I'm missing out on something?
 

Weldon47

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I agree with John B about cutting next to the line & not directly on top of it.
In addition, Here's something I tell my students:
Scribe two parallel lines that are the width of the line you want to engrave
Simply Make your cut while staying between the lines..... kinda like driving a car.
Correct body posture; focus; then, before you begin, imagining yourself cutting the line are helpful as well.

Weldon
 

mitch

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36 yrs and counting. i'll let you know when i get the hang of it. ;-)
 

Ishokenmei

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Thanks everyone for the quick tips! Practiced on plate two tonight.

When I get home from work I usually have about an hour before I have to get the twins fed and ready for bed, and I suspect that will be the pattern for a while.

Tonight I noticed a tremendous improvement from yesterday. Lines were a lot thicker and deeper, and I feel like I was starting to control the graver a little bit better. I'm able to to run a complete line without breaking the coil, just need to work on width and depth.

I started to practice with different insertion styles and found that if I let the graver dig into the metal a little longer before angling out to cut the line, that I had the best results for depth. No brainer right.....I guess I was just scratching the surface yesterday. I really want to get the depth issue down, as I know I will need this to do gold inlay in the future.

Yesterday, I was also angling my graver to one side, which would produce a larger "flare" side. Quickly got that knocked off, and had no issues with that today. Checked my heels and they were parallel, and a tad longer then what I see in most graver pictures, but for now they are working for me. However, I will say I found that my lines looked better when I back cut the entire line.

Question: Do most engravers double cut their lines from start to finish and then finish to start? I also noticed my lines are starting to intercept in the corners a tad bit better.

Going to be a long road, maybe even longer for me, but I like the idea of working at this a little bit every day. For me it is a hobby, but I'd like to one day be able to engrave Colt's and maybe even try for the Fega Master Engraver title....Big Goal, but I'm willing to put in the effort.

Here is the Practice Plate I am using, and I believe it was Arnaud who provided it to the forums. After I get my lines down, I'll use this plate to work on boarders.

 

Ishokenmei

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Sam, for my reference at what power are you engraving a standard engraving plate with on your Leica A60? I know at 30, the plate is way to close, but at 5 I can't be certain if I am cutting close to the line or on it. If there is an average power that most engravers should be able to operate at I'd like to focus on that initial sight picture. Of course I believe the answer may be.....depends on the person, but I thought I'd ask.
 

oiseau metal arts

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Using a narrower geometry can help with cutting a bit deeper without having to cut too much wider (60-90deg. or onglette)
Another option is using round or flat gravers to keep the line width even. you still want to follow the scribed line to one side of the graver youre using, but fluctuations in depth will be much more forgiving.
 

monk

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Thank you John for your good advice on cutting next to the line. The only other thing I'd mention is to scribe a fine, sharp line with dividers or a scriber. I find pencil lines for borders are much to thick to follow accurately.

I have never used a longer heel graver for straight lines. Maybe I'm missing out on something?

i think they "track" better in the cut line if heel is longer. ymmv
 

monk

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practice time may be difficult to arrange, practice may be boring as hades, but i'll guarantee you that you'll never regret the time spent. you'll regret for sure-- the lack of practice. this is also very true for drawing. the finest cutting control is wasted on poor design. i think it was sam that said." poor cutting on good design is better than good cutting on poor design".
 

dlilazteca

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One thing that has not been mentioned to be able to follow the edge of the line you have scribed do not focus your microscope directly above it I like to place it in an angle so I am able to see a semi side view where I can see the burr coming up at the tip of the Graver thus helping me engrave straight lines.

Straight lines and lettering, are the hardest things to master because a prospective client my not know what a good design is as far as scrollwork but they are experts at straight lines and lettering, if not done right it will stand out like a sore thumb.

One other thing as is evident if you're working under the microscope you cannot cut one continuous line without moving out of the Scopes View you must stop at some point when you start cutting I like to go back and begin my cut in the groove I had just cut as a guide and flow into the new area you're cutting.

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jerrywh

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I will tell you one other thing that helped me a lot. When your looking at the graver always try to look a the face of the graver. In other words do not look down over the graver from the back. I hope I have made this understandable.
 

mitch

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One thing that has not been mentioned to be able to follow the edge of the line you have scribed do not focus your microscope directly above it I like to place it in an angle so I am able to see a semi side view ...

this is good advice. you don't want your scope dead square to the top of your vise. you want the scope tipped slightly back and (if you're right-handed) to the left. mine is probably 5°-10° off. basically, a very minimal amount of 'head tilt' like you would do naturally if you weren't using a microscope. depending on your set-up, some of the angling can be done with the vise, so as to allow your head to stay more upright.

with this arrangement, i usually cut on the 'far side' of the scribed line, if the part allows. also note, while you definitely want to get good at this, for better quality projects it's no sin to go back and touch up things with an extra pass or passes. this is especially true when inlaying gold lines, where it's common to cut between two scribe lines for perfect width.
 

flintdoubles

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I compare it to learning to drive a car when you first start you tend to not look far enough ahead and weave all over the road after you learn to look farther ahead that stops. I am with Brian look ahead of what your doing at where your going. I have found for me speed helps once the cut is started straight I look down the road and speed up. Everyone has their own technique but the scribed line and cutting next to it is the most important in my opinion.
 

dlilazteca

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Tip archive material here....please move there

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Sam

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Sam, for my reference at what power are you engraving a standard engraving plate with on your Leica A60? I know at 30, the plate is way to close, but at 5 I can't be certain if I am cutting close to the line or on it. If there is an average power that most engravers should be able to operate at I'd like to focus on that initial sight picture. Of course I believe the answer may be.....depends on the person, but I thought I'd ask.

I really don't know because I zoom in an out all the time as I work. Somewhere in the middle ranges I guess. I rarely work zoomed to minimum unless I'm drawing and it's extremely rare that I would use maximum power.
 

gcleaker

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Ishokenmei if you can apply all of this information you have just been given are going to be one heck of an engraver. For me I became very bored just cutting strait line so other elements were added to the mix of practice plates to help hold my interest, once a pair of lines were cut I then was able to add an ark between them, or cut a wheat broader to help with finesse of my cuts . But the true key to this art form is practice, lots and lots of practice.
Good luck and welcome to the form.
Skill comes from diligence.
 

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