How to Engrave a Gun

Written by rebecca suzanne delaney
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How to Engrave a Gun
Personalise a gun by engraving. (old gun image by Goran Bogicevic from

Engraving is an ancient technique used on weapons since early man. Engraved arms demonstrate ownership and power. Elaborate engravings inspire, decorate and awe. Gun engraving ranged from simple lettering of names or initials to elaborate scenes that rival the great paintings and sculptures found in museums. You can engrave most guns, and there are many examples of engraved guns and other armaments in museums around the world. Engraving guns is a simple process that can take years to perfect.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Sketch paper and pencil
  • Acetone
  • Distilled water
  • Metal to engrave
  • Gravers
  • Engraving block, shellac stick, clamp or vice
  • Grinding stone
  • Grinding wheel or flex shaft (optional)

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  1. 1

    Sketch the design you want to engrave on the gun.

  2. 2

    Unload the gun.

  3. 3

    Clean the area of the gun you plan to engrave with acetone, and then rinse the gun with distilled water to remove the acetone residue.

  4. 4

    Copy your sketch with a laser copier. Transfer the laser copy to the clean gunmetal. Use acetone on the back of the copy to transfer the toner ink to the gunmetal.

  5. 5

    Secure the gunmetal with an engraving block, shellac stick, clamp or vice.

  6. 6

    Use a sharp, highly polished graver to cut the outline of your sketched design onto the gun by sliding the graver across the metal. Add shading and detail by using different sized and shaped gravers.

  7. 7

    Stop and sharpen the graver from time to time, as needed, by rubbing the graver against a grinding stone lightly coated with oil. You can hasten the time sharpening your graver by using a grinding wheel or flex shaft.

Tips and warnings

  • Practice with scrap metal before you begin engraving a gun.
  • Engraving is easy technique to learn but difficult to perfect.
  • You cannot erase mistakes when you engrave since the process requires cutting the gunmetal.

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