(Excerpted from the Finishing Techniques chapter)


Gravers can be used like little chisels to remove the matted surface and leave a unique one of their own. The most useful shapes are square, round and chisel. (6-3) The blades all come the same length and must be measured and cut to fit your hand. They can be broken off cleanly by placing the blade into a mechanic's vise at the exact break-off point. Tighten the jaws well and use a large hammer to strike the blade close to where it enters the vise. (6-4 & 6-5) Grind the tang end that is to go in to the wooden handle because it is often too fat to fit. Next, grind the original angle back on the shortened blade and continue to grind away the useless metal above the cutting face. Continually quench the metal in a cup of water throughout this shaping process to avoid overheating the steel.

(6-6) Final shaping is done on a sharpening stone. (6-7 & 6-8) Final sharpening is done on sandpapers (220 and 500 grit aluminum oxide or carborundum) and polishing papers (2/0 or finer). Continued use of these sharpening papers will keep the blade very sharp.

(6-9) This is the wrong way to hold a graver because it forces you to use your whole arm to push the tool. When using a graver, never push with your entire arm. (6-10) Instead, push only with the ball of your hand and your fingers. Only the muscles in your hand should push the graver. The thumb should be in touch with the project or the other hand at all times, not floating freely above it. Be careful to keep the other hand

 holding the project out of the way. This stabilizes the working hand and keeps it from pushing the graver so hard it over-shoots its mark. Using the graver like a scraper, take off thin bits of metal at a time, making several passes over the same area. Use of a Florentine graver will leave behind a beautiful series of tiny raised lines.

(6-11) A three-cornered scraper can fit in most places to remove scratches or matted surfaces.(6-12) riffler files are angled to allow for easy use in areas difficult to reach with a regular straight one. An India-type or Scotch stone is wonderful for removing undesirable surfaces and leaving a smooth 600 grit finish (see chapter 5). You can even use a file (not a valuable one) to reshape the face of a stone to fit any hard to reach areas. Dip the stone into a shallow cup of water and begin to stone. As the surface gets cloudy with metal fragments, wipe away with a soft cloth. (6-13) A glass brush can reach into highly textured areas and leaves a lustrous finish. (6-14) A mirror finish can be achieved either by using a polished steel burnisher and oil (as a lubricant), or (6-15) a flex-shaft machine and 'Shofu®' wheels, which are similar to 'Cratex®' wheels only much finer. Controlling the way light reflects off a piece of chased metal makes an important difference in its quality.

6-12 6-13 6-14