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Trying To Make Some Gravers For Bone Carving


jerome r
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Hi:

 

I'm a long time lurker on this forum and I have been picking up knowledge about techniques, tools and materials for a fews years now, I want to thank you one and all for your generosity and your willingness to share so openly, so Thank You.

Lately I've been thinking allot about gravers, reading and looking at the work on this forum has inspired me to try to learn how to begin using these essential tools in my own carving. I contacted Ian Thorne with the idea that if I get a few gravers made by a professional I could learn to use them and then try to make a few of my own. Ian informed me that he has not been well for quite a while, and suggested I contact Stephan Myhre. I've had Mr. Myher's book for a long time, so reread the section on making gravers, and thanks to Janel and the rest of you I think I can make them myself.

Truth be told I tried to make a set several years ago and they came out so bad that I just gave them to a friend who I thought might be able to fix them.

So here are some images of the first part of my learning to make, and hopefully use, gravers in my bone carving.

Material is Drill rod from the hardware store and some concrete anchor rod I got from my neighbor, It seemed to have a very high carbon content when I did a spark test.

post-3510-0-84007600-1391041853.jpg

Next I ground a shank onto each piece and annealed in a a small forge I have.

post-3510-0-02917400-1391041861.jpg

Next I ground a bevel on the face of two of them.

post-3510-0-85892500-1391041869.jpg

Then this morning I attempted to grind them to shape.

post-3510-0-19394400-1391041878.jpg

 

This is my first post and I'll post more as I go.

Thanks,

 

Jerome.

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Hello Jerome,

 

Welcome, and, well done!

 

Are the tapered tails for switching one tool for another of one handle?

 

One of my favorite tools is actually like the ones with the oval face above. The angle is 45° or there about. When sharpened it serves many different carving functions. It is a sturdy gouge and good concavity scraper. Made from darning needles up to 1/4" diameter stock, I enjoy their versatility.

 

The tools that you have made remind me of metal engraving tools. I have not used something like that with wood or bone, but I should give it a try sometime. I have made and use many Stephen Myhre style tools. Quite a while ago I was given two tools made by him. They became so important to my carving, that I now have many different iterations and sizes. Click here to see the tools I have on my bench that are currently in use.

 

I look forward to hearing more about the completed tools and how you will use them.

 

Janel

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Janel:

 

That's not what I intended them for, but one handle with changeable graver tips is a good idea. No the skinny tang on these gravers was just an experiment, one that may not work so well now that I think more about it. Thank you for the link to the pictures of your tools, they're the images I've been using as reference to grind the gravers I'm attempting to make.

 

Jerome.

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Hi Jerome,

 

Grinding the tapered tang may not be necessary, especially if you decide to make a handle for each tool. Leaving the rod cylindrical gives the metal tool good support during use. Drilling a hole that the rod just fits into with room for glue may also be simpler than trying to fashion an opening to receive the tapered end.

 

The two tools you have shown in your photo above, the top one looks like a metal engraving tool, but may have practical uses for bone and dense, fine grained wood. The bottom one does look like the three sided tool with two opposite but matching faces and a a third that does not match.

 

That style tool with 2 & 1 faces can have the cutting edges created by the 1 face be flat/straight or any degree of curve, and length. The variables with this 2 & 1 style can create many useful variations for tools, with the choices in dimension of rod, angles and length of faces. These variables create the variety of cutting/scraping edges that can be so versatile.

 

Narrow angle tools such as the fifth from the left, on my tool page, make good cutting and smoothing scraping actions. The broader angle tools, such as Stephen Myhre's, 8th from the left on my tool page, has wider angles at the tip and a wider, stronger cutting face angle where the 2 sides meet, and are good tools for bold cutting and scraping material removal.

 

When side 1 cutting edges are slightly curved, they work like shallow gouges with pressure. When those cutting edges are straight, they are good flattening scrapers on nearly flat to convex surfaces as is the cutting edge where the 2 sides meet.

 

I am finding the three equally sided tools to be very busy with my current carving, shown in the third image down on my tools page. The 3/16" tool is the busiest now, but as less bold removal yields to finish and detail work, the smaller ones will get their chance. I am also finding that the very hard boxwood requires that I touch up their sharpness regularly.

 

Elsewhere on the forum, tool making illustrations have been shown by using wooden dowels. I play with cutting dowels as a prototype before grinding sometimes. It gives me a familiarity with the shape and will be a reference for later tool making.

 

I do look forward to seeing what your tools look like when you have completed some. Also, I look forward to hearing about how you find ways to using them when carving. The two look very good so far.

 

Janel

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Janel:

 

Thank you very much for the descriptions of the different tools you use in your work, it was most helpful.

As I make progress I'll make sure to continue to post pictures here.

Tony N, thanks for pointing out the Jim Timings book, I'm going to try to get a copy of it, especially if it has any information about making gravers.

Lachlan, the templets you pointed me to look really interesting, do they make them for larger tools like bone gravers?

 

Jerome.

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No just for the 3/8 inch bits, though thats big enough for what I need one for. How big are yours and what are you hoping to do with them. I sharpened the face of mine down to about 1-1.5/8 inch and they are still big enough. If I had to remove more material Id be reaching for my foredom and carbide burrs and a file. Even with such a small face there is still a lot of force required to push it through the bone, unless you're planning to chase it with a hammer I wouldnt go bigger. You can always do multiple runs for increased depth and width.

 

The biggest problem I had was when sharpening mine without the template I couldnt get my heels right and the graver would "rip" the bone when going around corners.

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I'm sold and your right Lachlan, 3/8th is a great size for making gravers to use on bone. My tool stock is 1/4" and smaller, it looked like the templates were for smaller stock. Can you fill me in before I go off and buy some of these templets. Can they be used with gravers that have been mounted in a permanent Handel?

I was just kicked off "Steve Lindsay engraving" tried to register, not successful.

Can they be used with sharpening stones of any given thickness? I have quite a few and it would be great if the templates did work with my existing stones.

 

Thank you

 

Jerome.

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Ooops my bad, the gravers for the templates are 3/32" so much smaller, my tips would be half this size. Perfect size I think though for the reasons I said above.

 

They cannot be used with gravers with mounted points, the points need to be removable. But I just got one of these, super comfortable:

http://www.airgraver...lmpush-tool.jpg

 

Stones have to be 1/2 inch thick and you'll want the surface to be perfectly flat.

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