What is Engraving

What is engraving?



A Quick Introduction & my opinions:


Engraving is basically the art of marking a surface by scraping, scratching, cutting or etching.  In fact, any way of leaving a permanent cutting or gouging mark on the item, is considered to be 'engraving'. This An old school desk. This desk has numerous cuts and gouges where past pupils have engraved their manes.mark, in conjunction with others of the same ilk and in a precise way, can be seen as a picture, or design, on your object. As a youth did you, or your friends, ever cut your initials into the bark of a tree, or on your desk at school? Yes? Then you engraved on that tree or desk!

Engraving is as old a history itself - no,A part of the trunk of a Birch tree which has had a heart shape cut into it. In the centre od the heart is cut I Love Heather older. Before history was written, the caveman and woman, were engraving on the walls of caves, or on rocks for instance, to mark their territory. Even in those days, engraving was intended to send a message be it “This is my land" or, "I killed this Mammoth" or even "I Love Heather.“ Engraving passes on a message, of one sort, or another. Cavemen used the wall of their caves as a diary of their lives, as basic as they were. A Cave drawing or etching of a Mammoth.Of course, they didn’t always engrave the pictures, but also used charcoal, or pigments found around them. Although you may not consider these materials as permanent, they have lasted millions of years.

Engraving today is carried out in very many ways. For instance, a hand engraver may use a Graver. If you have ever watched the Open Golf on TV, close to the end they will often show the engraver at work, putting the winners name on the trophy. This has traditionally been done by hand, using a Burin, or Graver.A Hand engrager at work on a Silver Trophy. This is the traditional way of engraving using a graver or burin.

Other methods of engraving, which I use, are:

1. Drill or Rotary Engraving. This type of engraving is completed using a small drill, such as a Dremall, or a more sophisticated drill, such as the type dentist’s use. I use an American high speed Power Carver. All of these use the rotary technique, to spin a cutter, whether it is a diamond encrusted tip, or a carbide tip, to dig into the surface of the medium being engraved.

2. Sandblasting or Sand Carving. This technique, although considered a hand technique, is a different style from hand engraving. Each and every piece, engraved with the same picture or motif, will be exactly the same (except in multi-depth engraving which we will go into later). Conversely, each piece engraved using Drill or Rotary Engraving will be minutely different, in some way or another. This means that each and every engraving will be an individual piece. It must be said that this does not mean that Sandblasting is any less of an art form.Sandblasting a glass which has had the mask adeered to the glass prior to blasting inside the cabinet made for the purpos

The Sandblast technique requires that a stencil or mask be created.  This is accomplished by using artwork, either drawn / printed onto the stencil / mask material and cut out, or a mask can be made with a photographic technique. This is then stuck to the piece to be engraved, before blasting with a cutting medium such as aluminium oxide powder, inside a blasting cabinet.

Sandblasting, or sand carving, comes into its own when an engraved item is sandblasted to various depths, giving a multi-dimensional effect. In this case, each piece will be different, due to the depth of cut - and makes a very attractively engraved piece.

3. Machine engraving. Machine engraving is used in the main, to Engraving a metal plate to stick to a resin trophy. Silverware such as the cup in the hand engraving photograph can also be engraved in the Gravograph ITL Manual Engraving Machine/engrave metals or plastic and even glass e.g. trophies for all types of activities, like sports. It is completed with the use of a machine, like my Gravograph ITL manual engraver. It requires the completion of a line of generally, but not exclusively, pre-cut text, into a copy tray. This text is followed using a 'stylist' with a cutter attached at the other end. At the same time the cutter marks the piece or trophy with a tracing of the letter or shape. This is a technique which, although it sounds easy, still requires some knowledge and experience, to ensure a satisfactory end result.

There is a multitude of engraving techniques: wheel engraving, cream etching, acid etching, laser cutting & computer-aided engraving, to name but a few. All of these are art forms in their own right and are carried out throughout the engraving world