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Scrapers, burnishers and multiple dot matting punches

Round drill rod (tool steel) is good to have around for making various tools.  It comes as water hardening, oil hardening and air hardening which is a reference to what is used to quench it in after heat treating.  Drill rod is inexpensive and comes in many diameters.  3/32" and 1/8" round is probably the most useful for engraving. Both of these will fit in the AirGraver if it is desired to use it there.  Otherwise for hand scrapers and burnishers a handle can be made using a wood dowel, 1/4 or 3/8" diameter.  Drill a hole in the end of the wood dowel to accept the drill rod shank.  Another option for scrapers is to use an old small triangle file and shape the three corners towards the tip so they are sharp.  Files are made from tool steel (drill rod material).  Scrapers are used for shaving metal off and are good for helping to smooth up a sculpted engraving.   

Link to 3/32" drill rod
Link to 1/8" drill rod

Triangle scraper picture here...

Burnisher picture here...

The above picture is a handy shape for a burnisher.  Use a bench grinder to rough grind the shape and then begin sanding with sandpaper going through the grits until a fine finish is achieved. Harden it by heating it with a torch until it is bright cherry red and quench the tip in oil, vegetable shortening works well for the oil.  For a burnisher don't draw the hardness back but leave it full hard.  Since it isn't used like a punch there is no shock and we might just as well keep it as hard as possible.  Now take it to a buffing wheel and place the final polish on it.  You'll probably only need to make one of these in your life because they last forever. Just rub it on some polishing compound once in a while to keep the working surface fully polished.   A burnisher is used to smooth the metal out.  For instance if you were to slip, the resulting scratch displaced the metal more than cutting it.  A burnisher can push the displaced metal back into the scratch.  A burnisher is an engraver's eraser.  If a scratch is deep, it may not totally repair it, but it will probably make it better.  After burnishing a scratch it may be necessary to polish or sand the surface to the original state.  A cut line mistake that has metal missing is not very repairable.  A change in the design or sanding the engraving off to lower the original surface may be the only way to fix it.

Matting punch picture here....

I prefer to use the rotoary tool with one of the custom made burs for making the matting surface in the background.  However, the usual method is to make a single pointed punch on the end of a square graver and tap it with a hammer 5000 times.  If you have a larger area this can take forever so it may be time effective to make a multiple dot matting punch.  To make this use a piece of drill rod.  Flatten the end and engrave a checkering pattern on the end.  Engrave a row of lines one direction and another row of lines another direction.  Try to make the diamond shapes this creates come to a full point.  Now harden the end of the punch by heating it with a torch until it is bright cherry red and quench the tip in oil, as stated above, vegetable shortening works well for oil. The end is now fully hard.  You'll want to draw the hardness back some because if it were used at full hardness, it may break.  To draw the hardness back polish or at least shin up the metal on the shank right next to the point.  Next, with a torch heat the punch while watching the color of the polished area.  When the color changes to straw color, stop.  This temperature is around 300 to 400 degrees.  Be careful to heat it very slowly so the color doesn't go much beyond straw.  If you reach a blue color this is call "spring temper".  Spring temper means it is a good hardness if we were wanting to make a spring.  We'll want it a little harder than this so the multiple points don't go dull during use.   If it is heated too much and you get in the blue color you'll have to re-harden it by heating it to a bright cherry red color, quenching in oil and then temper it again.   

If you don't have a Rockwell hardness tester, an easy way to check the hardness of something is to try to file it.  If the file can cut it you know it is softer than the file.  A file is around 60 Rockwell C.  Full hard O1 can range from 62 to 65.  When we draw it back to a straw color we're aiming for 55 to 60.  A spring hardness (blue color) is around 40 to 45.