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Thread: Sharpening stones

  1. #1
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    Default Sharpening stones

    I'm looking to buy a few hand engraving tools and I also need a stone to sharpen them on. I see some people recommend Arkansas stones, some recommend carborundum stones, and others diamond stones. What are the differences between them because I'm a bit confused, and which ones would best suit my requirements for keeping gravers nice and sharp?

  2. #2
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    Hi Emma,
    I'm not an engraver and I'm sure those in the know will eventually answer you with more authority, but to save you getting down heartened for lack of replies, here is some general information:

    When you buy gravers, they still need setting up (shortening to fit your hand, putting on handles, shaping and sharpening) and somewhere James Miller has posted how. Put Gravers, or Scorpers in the search box to right and you will find relevant threads.

    They are usually sharpened on a carborundum stone which has two sides, rough and smoother, using a little oil as lubricant. You could also choose the much dearer option of a diamond plate.

    After the initial sharpening, they are kept honed on fine abrasive paper, an Arkansas stone, or a fine diamond coated plate. The problem with stones is that they wear into grooves with long term use, but not seriously for an occasional user.

    I did once go on a four day hand engraving course, of which the first day was spent entirely on setting up. It soon became obvious to me that the course would not see the beginning of a successful career in engraving and I did not feel confident enough to persevere with designs and script. However I do use scorpers occasionally when stone setting. Regards, Dennis.
    Last edited by Dennis; 15-06-2014 at 11:32 PM.

  3. #3
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    Hi Emma, this is a link to the photo sheet I prepared showing how I prepare scorpers and gravers for use; http://www.cooksongold.com/forum/sho...ring+a+scorper

    As Dennis said you can use standard Norton oilstones and Arkansas stones to sharpen these tools, The Norton carborundem, see ; http://www.axminster.co.uk/norton-in...ith-honing-oil is good for creating the first cutting shape on the end of the tool. The Arkansas stones are finer and good for adding the final cutting edge. I did start off using Nortons and Arkansas stones but now I use Ceramic sharpening stones, mostly I use a medium grit Ceramic Whet Stone made by Syperco, see; http://www.knivesandtools.co.uk/en/p...Fa-WtAodtwsA0Q , these stones are used dry without any oil lubrication and I find them great.

    Spyderco stone, Click image for larger version. 

Name:	126 sharpening the scorper.jpg 
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    James
    Last edited by Goldsmith; 16-06-2014 at 08:06 AM.

  4. #4
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    Thank you very much Dennis and James for taking the time to help, I really appreciate it, I've some idea what to purchase now
    I've had a very frustrating weekend trying to research hand engraving on the internet to find out what I need, as there's very little information available on the traditional methods. Most people seem to be using the fancy machines these days, requiring a second mortgage to purchase. I think even if I had the money the hand tools are more appealing to me anyway. I've been on several printmaking courses and workshops and not once has sharpening tools been covered, I've only ever kept gouges and chisels honed on a leather strop, and then if they need completely redoing they're sent away.

  5. #5
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    Check out this YouTube vid Emma ; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGg_EwRToLU it shows an engraver using stones to hand sharpen his graver. Also I can suggest a good book for you to buy; http://www.amazon.co.uk/Engraving-Pr.../dp/0719800226 this is a reprint of a book I bought many years ago. It explains tool preparation and cutting techniques.

    James

  6. #6
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    Apr 2014
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    Norfolk
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    Thanks very much James, have just ordered the book The video is very helpful, I have a simple sharpening jig in the drawer which will probably help as well.
    I'm slightly worried about having to cut the tools down as my hands are quite small, so there will be a lot of tool coming off!

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