Engraving Tools for Metal

Written by lenna allen
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Engraving Tools for Metal
Metal engraving is an age-old art (old metal oriental vase (with clipping path) image by StarJumper from Fotolia.com)

Engraving on metal is an art form that goes back many centuries and can be done using a variety of tools, depending on the type of application that is warranted. The tools used in this art are called gravers and the process involves carving into metal, or any hard surface, to form a design. The angle in which the tool is used affects the width, depth and effect of the engraving, as does the graver head type.

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A burin is a hardened steel tool that is used to cut the design by hand. This is one of the most common traditional engraving tools and is still in use today. The head of the burin comes in many different sizes and angles. Many modern-day engravers use 3/32-inch round or square gravers that they shape to their needs using a sharpening fixture. This type of graver is customisable and therefore popular with engravers who use powered, freehand engraving tools as well as hand-held burin and chisel handles.

Engraving Machines

Engraving machines are used to engrave bracelets, watches, charms or anything that is flat or slightly curved. Engraving machines vary greatly in their capabilities, with the most common ones suitable for engraving text. More elaborate machines can engrave pictures and designs. Engraving machines can be programmed to engrave on small or hard-to-reach places, like the inside of a pendant or a ring.

Air Chasing Graver

According to Lindsay Engraving, this graver is the smallest and most customisable hand engraving tool in the world. Slight air pressure powers this device. It is ideal for fine exhibition-grade engraving and has a result that is close to traditional nonpowered hand gravers.

Turbo Carver

The Turbo Carver is a modern metal engraving tool that is shaped like a pen or stylus. According to Turbo Carver, it does not vibrate and can be used to engrave on almost any material such as wood, glass, metal and even very delicate surfaces like eggshells. Handheld engravers like the Turbo Carver can handle fine details and reach into curves and tight corners; they may also come with detachable heads in different square, diamond, round or pointy shapes.

Engraving Blocks and Bowls

According to Engraving Glossary, an engraving block is a special tool used by hand engravers to hold objects in place. Engraving blocks and bowls are usually filled with pitch---a putty-like substance that becomes malleable when hot. Delicate and oddly-shaped metal objects are put into the pitch, which cools around them and holds them in place without risk of damage while the engraver works. Smaller, less heavy blocks and bowls are suited for engraving hobbyists, while the larger varieties are designed for professionals.

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