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Janel

Gravers

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I've got lots of corks, but I wouldn't recomend using them for graver handles. They don't have a ferrule, and are so soft that the tang of the graver which is usually fairly sharp could go right thru the cork, and into the palm of your hand. OUCH. I've stuck myself enough times with gravers (the other end), and don't want to tempt fate.

I would recommend buying graver handles from a jewelery supply house. They're cheap enough. Drill a small hole in the end, deeper than you want the tang to go in. Then heat the tang with a torch while holding it tang up, and then burn it into the hole you've drilled, leaving a little more to drive it in. Have some water running, so you can cool off the business part of the graver so you don't lose the temper. Once you got it done, it will last a long time. It's worth the extra work.

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Hi Robert,

I think you are correct in suggesting that it is much better to buy a new graver handle. The old gravers I have were probably made during the Depression when a full time engraver had to make ends meet. Mr. Brown-Hess drilled hole in a dowell and drilled the cork for the dowell. A lot of work but pennies counted. Here is a picture of the graver handle.

Dick

post-15-1129644613.jpg

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That sounds like the truth. It could have been during the war as well. Lots of stuff was hard to get then too. My teacher used to have trouble finding tool steel to make punches and chisels, so he would use all kinds of strange stuff, like valve springs which he would staighten out, and forge to shape. Also lots of work. Bob

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toscano   

Hi all,

So I have finished the first stage of making 4 tools.

They were made using HSS from MSC (this kind and not the more expensive cobalt steel, for now at least).

This first stage involved the rough shaping using a rather unusual setup, which nonetheless seemed to work.

I did get the steel quite hot on occasion, but I think the integrity was not compromised.

I would love to hear comments on that.

 

The second stage (which I have also completed but have no pictures yet) involves the final shaping using a 2000 grit Japanese waterstone. And lots of time.

 

Stage three is polishing on a 8000 grit stone.

 

Finally, handles are attached. On the subject of handles, I have yet to decide on the shape for these tools. Currently the dominant idea in my mind is to use short stubby handles that will fit in my palm (like a graver handle). The other idea is to use longer, more slender handles and hold the tool like a pen. Will decide in good time.

 

Anyway, I thought I would post the first few pics. I will update as more stages are complete and more tools are made.

 

Comments always appreciated.

 

-t :D

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Janel   

Hi Tassos,

 

Those two tools are my main tools (once I've gotten in to the defining stage), but in sizes ranging from needles to 1/4" diameter. Good choices to start with (IMO). Stephen Myhre's tools are great and are very versatile.

 

I've used a wet cloth and a container of water nearby to dip into to keep the steel cooler while using a power wheel for shaping. The wet cloth absorbs some of the heat and frequent disengagement for cooling helps too.

 

What's next? Have fun!

 

Janel

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Thanks for the pictures. I'm interested in hearing from the metal folks about the coloration you've gotten in the gravers from their heating. I get the same when I've ground tools. Is this coloring OK, or will there be problems with brittleness or sharpening by stone later in the game?

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Hi Tassos and Doug,

With high speed steel, a little coloring shouldn't be a problem, but Janel's tip about having a bucket of water nearby so you can regualrly quench the tool is essential, especially with regular tool steel, but even with HS, it's a good idea.

For me, square stock, or rectangular stock works much better than round, because with round, you can't pick up the graver and know without looking which way is up. It's too hard to position the point properly. I use so many gravers, and am switching from one to another so often, that I don't need another complication in the process.

I don't know where it is on there website, but it's a lathe cut-off tool, and they are about 4 1/2" long, and 1/2" high x 3/32" wide. When I make gravers, that's what I use. It takes a fair amount of work to shape them, but gravers last a long time.

With a tool that's 2 3/4" long, you'll need a fairly long handle to hold it even like a graver. I start out with a short, stubby handle, and switch to a longer handle when it gets too short. With a square bottom on the tool, you can shape it to any shape you want.

I would use the tools you have, and you'll find out what works for you.

Have fun.

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toscano   

Janel, Doug, and Robert

Thank you all for your comments and suggestions.

While grinding away I did have a large mug of water (a bucket seemed overkill for a tool 1/8" wide :)) next to me and tried to dip the tip as often as possible. This had two positive effects: It cooled the tip down and it slowed me down so I would look at the results of the grinding more often. That minimised the errors made. Though haste did get the best of me on a couple of occasions and it resulted in the pretty colours seen in the pics :D .

 

As far as handles are concerned, I tried a few shapes (VERY short and stubby, graver-style handle, and long slender) and I seem to favour the really small ones, at least for the first shape (oval). I seem to remember a pic in Janel's site that showed a few tools with very small handles. For my hands, at least, it afforded both control and comfort. Future experience will probably solve this conundrum.

 

As for the particular shapes, I am so far pretty happy with them. As a first toolkit it seems pretty versatile. The main reason for wanting a motorised way of making tools (hence the jerry-rigging) is that I would like to be able to make more tools as the need arises, in a manner that does not remove me from the actual carving for too long. Currently, the rough shaping on the grinder takes a couple of minutes, plus about 20-30 min on the rough and fine waterstones. In theory I could have a new tool in an hour when I need it. I also realise that learning to carve also involves learning the characteristics of the tools used, be them gravers, scrapers, chisels, drills, acids, sandpapers, files, paints, inks, hammers and generally ANYthing that gets the job done (care to add to the list? :P ). In those lines, I thought of the square-shaped tools AFTER I had already ordered the round ones. I figured those can wait for another weekend of grinding. One can only spend so much time away from the actual carving. I do like the idea of the lozenge and square gravers though.

 

So, what's next you ask Janel? More learning I suppose :)

I will put those tools on some wood or bone and get used to them. Make a few mistakes, get to know the way they like or dislike handle shapes, plan some more shapes, have a glass of wine. Every day is fresh in its own way. I'll keep you posted :)

 

Cheers

-t

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DanM   

here is a photo of the graver handles i have used for the last 20 years or so. at present time i am looking for a new supplier as the last one went out of business. they are very comfortable to use and fit most sized hands.

 

graverhandle.jpg

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Ekrem   
An incidental tip:

 

I was just reading an account in my art conservation literature of a class of tools in bookbinding called 'finishing tools'. Broadly speaking, there are the tools with patterns on one end which are heated and then used in conjuction with gold leaf (or sometimes by themselves) to emboss designs on leather bindings.

 

Anyhow, the article describes the industry both in England and America from the late 18th century onwards in making these tools, and the tools used in making them.  These include metal files and gravers.

 

Turns out that when you order gravers nowadays from jewelry tool supply houses, they come without handles to fit into the pad of your hand. An alternative to purchasing a handle, or turning your own, is to use Champagne corks: they're the right size and don't get slippery when your hand sweats. 

 

Has anyone else heard of this?

 

 

Hi Doug,

 

It's a bit late to input an answer to this subject, but I use Champagne corks on most of my gravers, but the only handikap is the amount of pressure you can apply to your graver. The work I do doesn't require that much power so I use them on most of my gravers.

 

Best regards

 

dagistanli

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Hi Jim,

Those are interesting pictures. Did you learn that technique in Japan? I've never seen that style of sharpening. Did those pictures come from a book?

 

Bob, it's been brought to my attention that I failed to answer your question!

;) Well it's only been 9 months. Sorry I missed it. :blink:

 

Although I was shown Kano Natsuo's chisels at the National Museum in Tokyo and my own teacher Toshimasa's in Osaka, as well as others, I don't follow the Japanese chisel forming per se. My own forming is something of a hybrid which I've settled on; sometimes using Japanese blank tagane(forged and roughly shaped blanks)mostly for chasing, and sometimes from HSS rounds(as previously mentioned) or squares, mostly for engraving. The primary consideration, as you well know, is whether you can produce a functional cutting tip with the proper geometry to do the job you want.

 

The pictures I think are from some material circulated by Hiroko and Gene Pijanowski a number of years ago. Not sure what the original source was.

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yloh   

Hi, I do not know is there any one still reading this topic,

Any way, this is what I did. I used 1/16 thick O1 steel, O here means oil hardening, cut and grind to as what you like, I used door knob to make handles.

Please see picture.

post-2353-1294980404.jpg

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hi

here is a picture of my #2 air engraver it works but needs some work hope to have it ready soon i think a lot of you will say why didnt think of that in the way it start from 0 to to what ever speed it will go to like i said it needs some work hope every thing works out for me i will keep youes posted

thank for your ear

 

 

Richard westerfield

 

 

 

left click on picture to enlage

 

 

th_DSCF0183-1.jpg

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Jim

 

I'm new to engraving, but since I'm more drawn towards Japanese chisel techniques, I decided to make my first Kebori chisel based on your pictures and used part of an 11" Milwaukee 1/8" drill bit as my material. It's not perfect, but it works and I am so proud and grateful!

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Er... Could anyone help me out?

 

Yesterday I made and tested my first successful metal-carving chisel, only I've come to realize it is very magnetic. Is there any way to de-magnetize it without altering the temper?

 

~Richard

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Hi Richard. Sorry for the slow response as I've been out of town. I'm glad you're getting some good results. I would like to clarify that my tools are, in general, hybridized, being a mix of European, American and Japanese derivation. Once you grasp the underlying principles involved it becomes a matter of the materials and methods that are most comfortable for you. Beyond the point geometry, the rest is down to preferences.

 

Happy chiseling.

 

Jim

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Er... Could anyone help me out?

 

Yesterday I made and tested my first successful metal-carving chisel, only I've come to realize it is very magnetic. Is there any way to de-magnetize it without altering the temper?

 

~Richard

 

I use a commercial demagnetizer that a friend gave me from the jewelry trade. I don't know any other way but would love to.

 

Jim

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Re; Roberts " little helper", I have tried to do some work on shell in an engraving block and was not happy with my attempt, however after employing that "engraving key" I can now make something that looks much better.

If anyone here is working with shell I would like to hear rom them, and what type of carving and engraving that they are doing, and what type of shell that they are working with.

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I work next to a "Mexican" restaurant and bar. They throw out literally tons of empty tequila bottles.

The corks for tequila are typically wood knobs with cork plugs.

The make great file and graver handles.

Some are even fairly ornate on Their own.

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