Hand engraving is an artistic process in which an engraver uses a special hardened and sharpened piece of steel (a ‘graver’) to dig into the surface of a material to create a design or picture.
Hand engravers work on a variety of materials, including wood, metals, glass, stone, gems, leather, and print materials. For engraving on metal, a variety of steels and alloys are suitable (however, you need to consider the level of metal’s hardness), as well as aluminum, titanium, gold, and other non-ferrous or precious metals.
Hand engraving requires a lot of skill, patience, and attention to detail from the craftsman, and gives each article a genuinely artistic and unique look.
Many graving tools help hand engravers make their refined cuts. Engraving tools (called ‘gravers’) are miniature chisels made of hardened steel. These sharpened tools are pushed through the metal surface at a specific angle, with a due amount of pressure applied, to form a chip and push a curl of metal away as it cuts. To do their job finely, gravers must be properly shaped and sharpened to specific angles and fitted into comfortable controllable handles.
Engraving tools come in a variety of designs and makes. As gravers are precise instruments, they are made from high-quality steel, such as highly refined tool steel or high-speed steel (for working harder materials and higher durability). Also, there are gravers with carbide-cutting tips.
Many types of engraving tools use different engraving methods and engrave different types of materials. These include:
Various types of graver tools are employed by hand-engraving artists to create a range of cuts:
While some engraving tools are very thin to create tiny lines, other wider tools are used by artists to produce larger and darker strokes in the material. Among the many types of graver’s tips, the flat head and the V-head are most usual. Of course, personal preference and project’s objectives will play a significant role in choosing a tool to create detailed cuts required for a particular style of engraving or the chosen design. Resists and stencils are a common tool used for engraving either by hand or machine. They can be precut or they can be custom made, and the materials to make one can be found in craft stores.
The principal engraving techniques (processes) are as follows:
The three principal hand-engraving methods are hammer-and-chisel, push-graving, and pneumatic graving. Some advanced methods include Bulino engraving and banknote style.
Highly skilled masters use advanced methods, such as Bulino or bank-note techniques, to craft exquisite picturesque renderings in metal. The word ‘Bulino’ is derived from the Italian term meaning “small hand-held graver” and today loosely represents the method of creating hundreds of small dots or lines in the metal for emphatic light and dark contrasts. The bank-note style is a method of creating hundreds of individual lines with different lengths that form superbly detailed renderings or ornamental images, like those seen in old books or on paper currency.
Hand engraving is one of the biggest value additions to a high-end custom knife. Fine weaponry has been engraved for centuries. If you’ve seen old-time hunting knives, you might have noticed that they are often embellished with an engraved floral ornament which usually has a symbolic meaning. Even nowadays, engraving is a great way to personalize your very special cutting tool. Via engraving, a knife is identified (for example, using the manufacturer’s emblem or bladesmith’s name) or personalized (using an inscription or symbol referring to the owner).
Noblie is an online knife store that offers high-end hand-engraved knives with delivery at your address in the USA, Europe, and all over the world. Explore our selection of custom knives and choose one to your liking to be delivered right to your door in days.
Author: Aleks Nemtcev | Connect with me on LinkedIn