Engraving is one of the oldest traceable art forms, with evidence dating back to 500,000-year-old stone carvings. Engraving is the carving or etching of a design into the surface of a material like wood, stone, metal or glass. The most common engravings are those seen on trophies and jewellery, but the most intricate images are often created on gold or silver inlays. Craft engraving can be a big investment, but few supplies are needed after the initial purchase.
Engravers come in a variety of styles, for laser, industrial and recreational uses. The engravers best for home and DIY use are air engravers. Foot-pedal-operated engravers include air compressors, tubing, pressure gauges, and the hand-held engraving gun. A more modern and compact air engraving solution is the palm engraver, a hand-held engraving gun with a mushroom top that conceal CO2 cartridges.
The bit is the metal tip attached to the hand-held engraving gun, and when inserted, looks similar to a dental instrument. Bits come in various sizes and tip shapes, meant to create an assortment of lines and detailing options. The bit acts as a spike carving through surfaces and can be adapted to best suit the crafting material.
Vices are used in many crafting and carpentry scenarios to hold projects and free up hands. Versatile and adjustable in size, vices can be used to accommodate anything from large-scale projects to small jewellery pieces. Using a vice is the easiest way to ensure steady engraving.
Working on detailed engraving can be tough on the eyes. Good lighting and zoomed vision can help crafters focus in on the small, tight lines that make up the engraving process. Using a microscope, loupe or magnifying glass is also important to avoid straining the eyes.
Applique film is a modern engraving accessory that serves as a template for engraving designs. This film can be drawn or printed on, and is applied like trace paper over the engraving surface. The thin film lightly sticks to the engraving surface and allows even the most unartistic engraver to complete intricate designs.