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Does anyone use Gravers?


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In reading the "Legacy of a Ship Model" by Rob Napier (a great book, by the way), the author mentions his use of gravers to do some parts of the cleanup and in shaping some replacement parts.  I was wondering whether anyone on the forum uses gravers, and what they have found them useful for.

 

Gravers seem to be cutting tools made in various shapes, primarily used by engravers.  I'm wondering whether they have any advantages over the normal carving gouges and chisels.

 

The book is a recounting of the work in restoring (actually saving) the HMS Princess Royal (1773), one of the dockyard models on display at the Naval Academy Museum in Annapolis.  I had the pleasure of visiting the museum in late April, and picked up the book in the museum store.  If you have an opportunity to either visit the museum or to read the book, I highly recommend either or both.

 

Frank

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Gravers are specialized small cutting tools used in metal work, engraving, jewelry, and such. They are usually small, hard, difficult to sharpen without diamond files. That said, they can be quite useful in doing fine or small work. The major difference from gouges and chisels would be size and hardness.

Unless you're doing metal work or stone work, I would think that actual gravers would be overkill.

 

I have found that small chisels and scrapers offered by Model Expo and Micromark are very useful in doing any scratch work, but must be sharpened properly...to the correct angle as well as sharpness...if they are to work well. As they come, they may seem sharp, but they really need a good sharpening job to work right.

A number of woodworking tool and hardware suppliers have tutorials online about sharpening. Highland Woodworking is one.

 

Chazz

Edited by Chazz
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Thanks all.  The author used gravers to clean up some small ivory components, and to cut fluting in some replacement pilasters.  I guess he used gravers instead of gouges because of the material he was working with.

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I'd like to add, though, small scrapers and tiny chisels come in handy very often. Some sets of dentists' picks are sold too.  Good for cleaning up and smoothing those hard to reach spots where bigger gouges and chisels won't fit.

 

Chazz

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Both, gravers and woodworking chisels/gouges, these day tend to made from HSS. The main difference is the cutting angle and the way how they are offered to the work. The cutting angle of gravers is about 45°, while that of woodworking tools is much smaller. Woodworking tools are offered to the work normally with the bevelled side towards the material, while gravers are used the other way round. In fact, the angle with which gravers are applied is similar to the clearance angle on a lathe tool. If one applies a graver to wood, there is a high risk that they dig in.

 

I am not a woodcarver, but noticed that gravers would be useful, when cleaning up convex surface, where it might be difficult to find the right angle for a wood chisel. With caution gravers can also be used as scrapers on wood. The more homogeneous a material is, the better it can be worked with a graver, so bone or ivory are good natural candidates, as are synthetic plastics.

 

Apart from diamond and square shaped gravers for lathe work (traditionally watchmakers mainly worked with gravers) I have engraving gravers of varying width.

 

It is important to have an absolute flat cutting face, which is not easy to maintain, when grinding/honing by hand. There are various devices on the market that are intended to keep the face flat on the stone or the diamond pad.

 

wefalck 

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As Wefalk said you need a dead flat surface for honing an engraver.  I made mine from HSS tool steel and drill rod.  After grinding them to the disired shape I made a fixture and used that to hone them.  I turned down some dowels and used them for the handles.  They are very easy to produce. and fun to use.

David B

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  • 1 month later...

I still have my gravers from when I did a bit of silver work. I find them very useful. They are very easy to mess up, and I wouldnt reccomend anyone buy, grind and add your own handles, it's quite difficult and easy to mess up. If anyone is thinking of getting some, pay the extra for a set ready for use. I ground and added my own handles, because I wanted mine to fit my hand comfortably, which was essential for carving metals. These tools are expensive. I paid $30 for mine, and they weren't ready to use. The good thing about these is you can use them on a variety of materials. On wood, a little extra care is needed so they dont dig in too deep. When I was using them on metal, they were used to remove very small bits of material at a time, and usually on a very shallow angle, until you got to the depth you wanted. Ceramic hones are as good as any to keep a fine edge. I use this hone to sharpen razor knife blades when needed.

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