How does a beginner carve?

The craft of engraving has been well documented since its inception, especially in recent centuries when engraving artists and numerous print makers have continued to update engraving techniques using wood and metal. The evolution of engraving technology has led to the emergence of more advanced engraving techniques such as laser engraving machines, which allow intricate designs to be carved into more difficult materials such as plastic or gemstones. Although the engraving technology is constantly updated and applied in a wide variety of fields. But it really only takes a few simple tools to start experimenting with this craft.

Buying the right choice of engraving tools

When it comes to purchasing and choosing the right engraving tool, the most recommended one must be the pneumatic engraving machine, which is perfect for most engraving tasks while costing relatively less, and the overall tool has a compact design that can be operated with just one hand. Its main principle is to use pneumatic pressure to push the tip of the knife to engrave on metal and other materials. The tips of carving knives are categorized in different shapes depending on the purpose. Beginners are advised to start with a square "v" shaped cutting point, which is a versatile option that is ideal for a wide range of engraving situations.

Additional engraving tools that can be selected:

Hammer or chisel: the advantage is that it is cheap, the disadvantage is that the carving speed is slower, you need to operate both hands at the same time, more laborious.

Craft knife: more difficult to control, for novices need a long time to practice, the main carving material is more suitable for soft metal.


Select metal materials for engraving practice

As far as possible to choose the metal material to start practicing, for beginners, the important thing is how to get started quickly, metal material is relatively more suitable for carving material, never choose expensive materials to practice, such as family heirloom antique jewelry. Try to choose some practice time damaged will not mind the items material. In the choice of metal materials, soft metal is a good choice for practice, copper or brass alloy compared to steel and other common metal is softer, can be faster and easier to complete the carving.

Cleaning of metallic materials

Surface cleaning of metal materials, material cleaning is an important preparatory work. You can use a wet cloth dry cloth successive wiping order, you can effectively clean the surface of the dust stains. If after cleaning or can not be completely cleaned up, you can use soapy water to clean again, after the completion of cleaning remember to wipe until the material is dry. One thing to note here is that some brass has a protective coating, which can be retained without removing. After you start engraving again, the surface of the engraved part of the protective coating will be damaged, you need to reapply the protective layer, otherwise it will look uneven color.

Sketch or print designs

Hand-drawn or printed engraving design, novice engraver or in the engraving of relatively small things, try to choose some simple lines of the design of the pattern, while the distance between the lines should not be too dense, complex patterns in the absence of sufficient experience in engraving may be easy to screw up, will lead to the engraving of the work of the lines of fuzzy to see the pattern. You can choose to draw the pattern directly on the metal material or in the computer design software to draw and print down, print the pattern must pay attention to keep the right size with the material, and then transferred to the surface of the metal material in the right position. Then draw the letter pattern, you can use a ruler to draw two parallel lines to ensure that the spacing between the letters is uniform.

If you are using the method of transferring printed drawings onto material, you can follow the instructions below.

  • Begin by placing the pattern on the metal.
  • Apply bug glue or clear glue to the locations that need to need to be carved, making sure that the application is tacky and mostly dry.
  • Use a soft pencil to draw the design on the polyester film.
  • Use transparent tape to stick on top of the pattern, use tweezers and other suitable tools to rub vigorously to ensure that the pattern can be completely adhered to the tape before tearing off the tape.
  • The tape that has been printed with the pattern is then applied to a metal surface that has been coated with bug spray or clear glue, and the pattern is rubbed in the same way, leaving the pattern before it is peeled off.

Holding material in an engraved ball vise

Use the engraving ball vise to hold the metal material in place, taking care to make sure it is securely fastened to avoid the metal slipping. The engraving ball vise makes engraving more stable, and although it is possible to use a two-handed method of engraving, it greatly increases the risk of the engraving knife slipping and cutting your hand. Therefore, if you need to use both hands to operate the engraving tool, use the appropriate jig or fixed again on the table is safer.


Beginning to carve the pattern with the tool, choose the right tool after a more appropriate carving angle will be the tip of the knife to the pattern, applying pressure to promote the tip of the knife for carving, so that the pattern can be carved in the metal material, beginners in the beginning of the learning carving, should as far as possible to ensure that in the process of carving the engraving angle of the tool remains unchanged. Can start before the formal carving, first in different directions on the carving of straight lines, curves, until the formation of the obvious carving incision, and then use this as a reference to carry out the formal carving, in the carving process can be the first carving of a simple straight line part, and then focus on completing the more complex part.

Learning new knowledge and technologies

Constantly learning new carving knowledge is something that all carvers have to do. Only by constantly exploring new techniques and knowledge can we perfect the level of carving.
You can find a professional carving secretary, the content of the book is often more comprehensive than the Internet to find a more profound explanation, if you do not know to look at the life of the book, or other issues can also be related to the carving forum to seek help.

Through the offline search for local well-known carvers to learn, you can enroll in a comprehensive carving course, face-to-face communication and learning can be more intuitive to find out where the problem lies, generally through the local carving studio to find experienced carvers.