Thursday, January 19, 2012


Do you guys remember when I took that hammer engraving class last September?  Well, I'm really sort of bummed to say that I haven't done anything with it at all.  I mean, I ordered all the supplies I need to get started.  But there has always been one huge thing holding me back.  And that is how to sharpen the gravers. 

In class, the teachers had a Power Hone.  And they also discussed alternatives, but it always went back to the best thing to get was the Power Hone.  By the time you buy the unit, and the sharpening wheels, and the holder for the graver, you're looking at $ 1,000.  Which is a huge investment in something you aren't sure you'll ever be good enough at to justify spending $ 1,000.

So, I've been scared.  I did order a graver holder thing for sharpening and a sharpening stone.  And it's been sitting in a drawer since October.  Sigh....

The very first skill they taught us was how to hand engrave using a technique called Rick Rack.  It's super easy to do, and fun!  And the teacher had several antique examples of items that had been engraved using Rick Rack.  I kinda like it.   A lot. 

The above pics have hand stamped flowers with rick rack pleats on each petal.  I love this little added detail!  But after these pieces, my rick rack tool that the teacher sharpened for me was quite dull.  I busted out my stone and oil and attempted to sharpen it.  And promptly made it a useless lumpy mess.

I am always in short supply of patience.  I know this is what I need to coax myself through learning to properly sharpen my gravers.  That and I ordered a book published in the 70's (pre power hone!) that covers hand engraving, but has a nice section on sharpening the gravers by hand. 

I REALLY want to get back to practicing engraving.  It could add so much detail to my work!  I was so close to signing up for a class on wax carving and casting, and then I remembered that I haven't really done anything with the last class I took.  And what's the sense in just taking classes and not doing anything with the knowledge?  I mean, I'm sure every skill out there isn't going to be my cup of tea,  but I hate wasting time and money on things I'll never find useful.  And engraving can be so useful.  I refuse to let it be a waste. 

With all that being said.....if anyone out there has or knows of a used Power Hone that they want to unload for like really cheap, let me know!!  ;-)

Or tips!  I'll take all the help I can get! 


  1. i think your moving in the right direction with the engraving and the equipment for sharpening with be a deterrent to anyone...your pieces look great btw. I've taken a casting class...i like making molds to cast but the carving can be a really slow learning curve...that i've yet to embrace. Ganoskin might be a source for a used power hone....the jewelers blog place.

  2. Well first let me say that the work is gorgeous. I think that if you love it and see yourself incorporating the technique into a lot of future work it totally justifies the need for the tool. That being said, that kind of money is way hard to come by. I would feel just like you- i get easily discouraged by obstacles like this. But after some pouting, I can usually give myself the space to think it out. You'll get there!! I wish I could help further....

  3. I think you can sharpen them yourself. My husband used to hold everything he was sharpening at a 20 degree angle to the stone. You don't need a machine.

  4. A wonderful jewelry! I came here by chance and I'm really happy!