View Full Version : Paul's Contest Submission on learning lettering Engraving

07-07-2008, 09:36 AM
(If you would like to comment on this submission, you may do so by posting a reply in this thread (http://www.engravingforum.com/showthread.php?p=16102#post16102). Thanks! Kaitlin)

Hi all

I will be receiving, my new classic airgraver, within the week, and will finally have the set up to have a bit of a play :)
I would like to engrave lettering in my work, and so will show my progress in this thread towards this goal over the allocated time. I Know this is not as exciting as a gun or knife, but I believe its good practice for a learner, and not a bad bread and butter skill as well

While I am waiting for the graver, I have been reading up on the subject in both the "The jewelry engravers manual" and "Meeks" books plus watching Don Glasers tapes.

I think I will start of with the classic script lettering.

Over the next few days I will cut some angle templates, and practice drawing the letters to get a feel of there shape.

Reply's, Help, or Suggestions most welcome, in the main forum.

Yours Paul

07-09-2008, 09:25 AM
I received my airgraver :)

Time to start learning, I thought I would show a couple of pics of my earlier lettering attempts, done with a push graver during my apprentice training, work is a bit rough but will show the difference I can achieve with the airgraver and some practice.
The ring engravings were a later attempt at some practice,The goldish ring is only made from 6mm copper rod and fashion into a sig ring, I was never sure if the finish or lack-of was me the graver or the copper, the silver ring was better but i could not achieve the boldness I desired.

Earlier Lettering

Ring engraving


Now at this time I would love to hear from other engravers who perform lettering , Have learnt lettering, or better still TEACH LETTERING TO STUDENTS
How is the best way to learn, Practice letters, or practice components of letters,
Is script the best letter to start with or are other letters better
Any replies in the main forum welcome


07-10-2008, 09:48 AM
Finally set set all the gear (although the compressor is out on the sink at the moment), and are running the air hose on the floor, as it has to serve several purposes, Its all a bit crowded but I will fix it up later.

Bench setup

First use of the vice, microscope, and my classic, took a little while to understand the positioning vice (i kept moving the microscope by mistake )
Marked both sides plate, just to get some idea of the tool, and the vice

First plates with the classic


Well the airgraver worked like magic, cut with no effort, but I can see I will need some practice to coordinate everything, position the graver, move the vice , use the foot pedal , and think quick enough. the graver can cut so easily that it can get away from me. also I need to relearn how to hold the tool, with WAY less pressure. I was not too bad cutting with the graver held straight, but I had lots of trouble holding it over to wide cut. lindsays 116v dont need any where near as much leaning over as I am accustom to and would bite a bit with my unsteady hand. I can see the advantages just need more practice.
At the moment its a bit like patting your head and rubbing your stomach in opposite directions, all a little bit uncoordinated , but I think if I slow down some more, and practice with the foot control it will all come to getter fairly quickly .
I am already cutting much smoother than I have ever done, thanks to lindsays sharpening system, dont seem to get the heel drag, And there is no effort pushing the graver, so with a bit of coordination I will be able to concentrate on the actual engraving.
I think I will set up more plates like this just to get a better feel, then try the more challenged lettering I want to learn

07-21-2008, 04:16 AM
Hi all and thanks for the replies in the forum

This lettering is taking a little longer to get started, after a quick attempt it was obvious I need I little bit better fine graver and vice control, also a better understanding of the the letters construction. I have started drawing the letters to better understand them, and will set up a practice plate soon to try cutting the components , maybe trying different gravers and graver techniques, to see what works

practice drawings

thanks Paul

07-23-2008, 09:30 AM
Hi all
Well I thought it was time to cut some letters, unfortunately I haven't touched the graver for a few days and the results show it, in the few days break, both the vice and graver were a bit uncoordinated . I must try to practice a little each day. Well enough excuses heres the results.

First plate was just to see what size letters to engrave , I am using the computers Edwardian script to cut at this time , no point in cutting badly formed letters as well, will not know what to blame the results on, although I will keep on practicing drawing them, also I was a bit unsure on what size to practice on so I printed one at 30pt and 36pt size to start at. this may be to big but I will see.

first plate

Well the 36 pt size was too large for me to cut the beauty cuts wide enought with my ( lack of ) graver control, will make a larger plate using 30 pt and will see how that goes, may even reduce that further. I would like to engrave the script as large as possible, to practice techniques , at 30 pt the letters are 5.5mm high.

set-out for second plate, (notice airgraver for brownie points)

And here is the results so far. top line was all cut with lindsays calligraphy graver, you can see I still have control issues using it to wide cut, although I felt I was a lot worse than I think I normally cut.

To try something different I cut the second line with a flat and a v graver. I must say I found this a LOT easier to control, especially on the end cuts with the flat as I could easier flick out the chip much neater and with better control. It made forming the letter shapes easier.

Cutting so far

Here are some better ( ish ) shots, I took one through microscope eyepiece, it sort of worked.

Sorry about the pictures, when I complete the plate I will try to post a clearer picture.
I like the control I have with using the flat then the v graver on these letters, I know I will gain control ( hopefully ) using the calligraphy gravers, but at this early stage its nice just to see some crisp cuts, I dont even mind the little bit of extra work swapping gravers, It even helps make me separate cutting the letters by their different components easier.
hopefully will finish this tomorrow


07-24-2008, 05:03 AM
Finished the plate today and it went fairly well.My big mistake was lightly refinishing the plate after i cut it, I am practicing on brass and it tarnishes very quickly I wanted the photo too look good but the refinishing took a little of the sharp detail away, live and learn.

Cut most of it with a flat then hairlines with the calligraphy graver and I think this look sharp, what surprised me was I cut the final numbers with the calligraphy graver and they turned out quite well. I have been cutting under the microscope and have been trying to cut very carefully, but I am wondering if i am cutting to slow . My cuts are generally better (smoother ) if i cut a little quicker.I just worry that any mistakes are a a bit more severe.

Finished plate

Took these through the microscope, focusing is a little difficult but the images look good, maybe a little too good, dont want every body seeing every mistake.

Microscope shots

I think with my next plate I might try to cut the lettering with the calligraphy graver and try to cut a little faster and see if that improves my control a little, I am also wondering if I am trying to practice this on srcipt a little too big ??


09-03-2008, 07:32 AM
Hello all
I felt it was time for an update, Things were going great with the engraving gaining confidence and ( some ) control, then three weeks ago I made THE BIG MISTAKE, yes you guessed the annual family holiday. On the first day about 30 minutes in, My right knee and body decided to go a different way down the ski slope. Didn't do any permanent damage ( dislocated knee and fracture ) but are still having some issues.

I find it a bit funny that a palm control would be quite useful at the moment, still I am itching to get back into it, and hopefully I will have better foot control before the contest finishes as i was having a lot of fun developing my graver skills, and doing it before my peers made it a nice challenge, and certainly encouraged me to improve.

Dont count me out just yet but Just in case, thanks for all the feed back from the forum

Yours Paul