Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Part ONE. Hand engraving a seal. ( A coat of arms or family crest)

This is what I am going to be engraving today. It is the Parry coat of arms. I will make some modifications to the artwork, but in essence I will be engraving my family coat of arms onto a piece of silver.

I will then mount this on a wooden handle, to make a "Parry" seal which can be used with melted wax. The tradition of sealing letters with melted wax, and using your official seal dates baack hundreds of years.

You can either engrave the entire coat of arms, just the crest. The crest is usually a helmet or an animal, or just the name with some swirling scrolls. Ultimately, your official seal, is whatever you want it to be. So nowadays you could have an X-Box and HD TV if you so wished it. These coat of arms however are just traditional.

These designs can be engraved onto signet rings, cuff links, wax seal stamps.....

So this post might take too long in one hit, so I will star and ight carry it over onto another day.
the picture above is my engravers ball vice. it is really heavy so it doesn't budge when you are working on it. It grips the piece you are engraving and at the same time, allows you to rotate the whole top section.

It is a bit like a bowling ball sitting on a ring, you can angle it, rotate it, and this version even allows you to re-centre it, but that is for the real engraving nerd!

The toothbrush in the picture, is because I like minty breath as I work. OK, it is actually just a really handy little brush to clean the piece as you go.

The picture above is a little homemade rack holding my different sized engraving tools. Each is slightly different in width and shape. I have colour coded the handles so I can tell them apart easier.

A close up of some of my tools, that I use to engrave. Top to bottom, we have a 1.2mm wide flat engraver, a steel burnishing tool with homemade ergonomic handle made from Jet Set from Rio Grande. A square engraver, used to do line work and script letters and finally an agate burnishing tool. used to smooth metal and give a high polish.

Here is the piece that I am working on. A 20mm circle of sterling silver. I have marked out a simple shield design and using the tools above, I have engraved a shallow depth of about 0.5mm.

As I progress, I use a piece of modelling clay (plasticene), to take an impression. This helps me to see how neat the edges are and how deep the engraving is.

Please come back to see the next stages and feel free to leave a comment.

1 comment:

Brent M said...

You should create wax seal rings!!