Giving Back

Michael Dubber has been a major contributor to FEGA since its inception in 1981. From being a founding member to serving as President of the Guild, he has made a lasting impact for the organization.

He found another opportunity to give back to FEGA when he won the 2009 Best Engraved Handgun Award at the Firearms Engravers and Gunmakers Exhibition in Reno, Nevada. Dubber chose to donate the firearm to the FEGA 30th Anniversary Auction.

He included a gold inlaid commemorative inscription noting FEGA’s 30th Anniversary on this Model 29 Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum Revolver. The gun will be auctioned off during the 2011 Firearms Engravers and Gunmakers Exhibition on January 29th at the Annual Banquet and Auction. All proceeds will go to FEGA.

Dubber feels that it is important to help the financial success of an organization that has played a major role in his career. “It is an honor to contribute back in these small ways to sustain and grow of The Firearms Engravers Guild of America for the future.” Well done, Michael, and keep up the great work.

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Full Gold Inlaid Background & Deep Relief Engraving

Full Gold Inlaid Background & Deep Relief Engraving with Alain Lovenberg will certainly be a time in engraving to remember. In case you missed the 2011 course details, here you can admire a closer look at the project piece and read more about the course.

“Explore the meticulous and wonderful Belgian techniques of Alain Lovenberg. This course covers full gold inlaid background and deep relief engraving that adds a dimension, richness, and value to a piece.

During this intensive course, students will learn how to make tools, create cuts, prepare metal, and execute these highly specialized methods. Lovenberg will teach students how to carve the outlines of a scene or element with hammer and chisel, as well as with flat and round gravers using power-assisted tools, and how to complete the carving with rifflers and punches.

Since many of these tools are not readily available for purchase, Lovenberg will also demonstrate how to make and use punches for this technique. He will also show step-by-step how to use the Belgian technique of relevoir to prepare the dovetail with a chasing tools. Each student will receive individual attention and guidance to achieve the best possible result on the final project.”

If you have been waiting for your time to learn with a Grand Master engraver, 2011 is the year to take the first step. The 2011 application will be available January 3, 2011. Have questions about the program? Visit the Grand Masters Program website or give us a call at 1-800-835-3519 / 620-343-1084*.

*Please note holiday office hours.

Sneak Peek: Lovenberg’s Grand Masters Project

Since the Grand Masters 2011 application is going to be available in only eleven days, how about a sneak peek at the project for Alain Lovenberg’s engraving course?

Without a doubt, this project piece is going to be a beautiful study in advanced techniques of engraving. Lovenberg, a second-time Grand Master, will be sharing his masterful skills with twelve hand engravers in his two-week course Full Gold Inlaid Background & Deep Relief Engraving. Not only will students learn the methods for executing these skilled cuts, each will also take home the knowledge of creating specialized tools.

If you have been waiting for your time to learn with a Grand Master engraver, 2011 is the year to take the first step. The 2011 application will be available January 3, 2011. Have questions about the program? Visit the Grand Masters Program website or give us a call at 1-800-835-3519 / 620-343-1084*.

*Please note holiday office hours.

Collaboration to Benefit FEGA

Lee Griffiths was eager to give back to FEGA, the organization that provided so much for him while learning how to engrave.

“The guild has been a big factor in advancing my career in terms of skill, as well as providing a forum to display my skills and increase exposure,” says Griffiths.

His opportunity came about when the William Henry Studio approached FEGA to see what they could do to help. The guild proposed they donate a knife to celebrate FEGA’s 30th anniversary.

Lee then agreed to engrave the knife, and the result of the collaboration is a one of a kind knife with a gold inlay logo that will be auctioned off by William Henry Studio. All proceeds go to FEGA.

A generous thank you needs to be given to William Henry Studio for the donation of the knife, and to Lee for his generous donation of time and skill to create this work of art.

Want to learn hand engraving and drawing skills from Lee? Check out his courses, as well as dozens of others available at the GRS Training Center in 2011.

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Round and Round We Go

When you are in the right place at the right time, you can learn new skills and techniques that you weren’t even expecting.

When Fred Bowen of Lake Villa, Illinois, attended Ken Hunt’s Grand Masters course in 2007, he just happened to be in one of those places. Marcus Hunt, son of Grand Master Ken Hunt, assisted his father during the class. This allowed Bowen an opportunity to learn a few basics of small English scroll from Marcus Hunt.

Although this was not the focus of the class, Bowen had always liked small English scroll. Now, he has taken what he learned from Marcus and, with practice, applied it to this English Gibbs Action Rifle (patented by John Farquharson). The overall style, Bowen says, is appropriate for a firearm of this time period. Well done, Fred.

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A Look At Basic Firearms Engraving

Sometimes, students want to get right into a certain field or style of engraving. Although most students benefit from the broad knowledge found in a basic course, this one might be just right for you.

Rex Pedersen, president of the Firearms Engravers Guild of America (FEGA), will be teaching a brand new Basic Firearms Engraving course at the GRS Training Center in 2011. If you have been thinking about taking a class and know that you want to engrave firearms, this course will give you a priceless experience. After learning and practicing the basics from Rex during the early part of the week, students will begin to apply these new skills on an actual Henry .22 lever-action receiver cover. This laser-marked plate will give students an actual workpiece, not just a practice plate, that can be installed on any Henry .22 lever-action rifle.

Want to learn from Rex? Check out his courses, as well as dozens of others available at the GRS Training Center in 2011.

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A Work in Progress, and Progressing Through Work

Progressing through design work can be simple for some engraving artists, those like Marty Rabeno. With years of art teaching behind him, he can knock out a beautiful scroll design with several elements.

Here, you can see the basic steps in creative thinking that Marty took when designing this piece. In his simple initial sketch, he tried to get a feel for the flow of the design and what he might like on this knife. Marty recalled an interesting face, as seen in the dark, scanned image in photos two and three, from a copyright-free art book. He tried the face on both sides to make sure it would work well with the bolster, and then went right into guiding his scrollwork through the design area.

Marty knows this skill doesn’t come naturally for everyone, and not everyone has years of art experience and knowledge. In September 2011, Marty Rabeno will teach a new course at the GRS Training Center specifically for hand engraving artists. This course will focus on Basic Art for Engraving, something many engravers wish they knew and can now learn.

Want to take this course from Marty? Check out his courses, as well as dozens of others available at the GRS Training Center in 2011.

Find inspiration in Featured Photos and have your own work to share? Send an email to featured@grstools.com with images of your work!

Experimental Color: 2011 Learn Plate

When trying something new, experimentation can be a fun — albeit challenging — task. This Featured Photo is an ambigram designed and hand engraved by Tira Mitchell in an unusual metal called niobium.

This metal takes color particularly well, but requires an exact measurement of time and chemical to produce the desired color. Much like mixing paints to get just the right purple, here Tira shows her experimentation on creating a dark brown, bright blue, and brassy gold. Each brown seen here came about through a stronger or weaker chemical mixture combined with more or less time.

You can also see in this third photo othe vivid detail of the color with the cuts. Tira had to cut and color, cut and color, in a certain sequence in order to create layers of colored cuts as seen here.

Want to learn from Tira? Check out her courses, as well as dozens of others available at the GRS Training Center in 2011.

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No Matter How You Turn It: Tira’s Learn Plate

This Featured Photo is an ambigram designed and hand engraved by Tira Mitchell in an unusual metal called niobium.

“Learn” appears both right-side up and upside down. Tira used a special electrochemical process to produce the colors without any paint or pigment. The word “learn” is only 1.2″ wide, and is beautifully sculpted with angled cuts that bring out the depth in the special color of the process niobium.

Want to learn from Tira? Check out her courses, as well as dozens of others available at the GRS Training Center in 2011.

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30th Anniversary Watch for FEGA

As many may know, the Firearms Engravers Guild of America will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary in 2011.

To honor and commiserate the occasion, Andrew Biggs of New Zealand has hand engraved a beautiful Magrette watch. Biggs engraved the FEGA logo on the back. To create the strong tribal Maori style Biggs for which he is well known, he included elements of a bold Manaia design over the rest of the watch. The watch is a high end Magrette timepiece that will be presented in a special New Zealand native kauri wooden box.

The Magrette watch will be auctioned next year at the Reno tradeshow and all proceeds will benefit FEGA.

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A Thanksgiving Bird, of Sorts

While most people in the United States are filling up on leftover turkey, potatoes, and pies, not everyone cooks the traditional turkey for the Thanksgiving holiday. From vegetarian main dishes to other poultry, one bird that few will prepare is the focus of this beautiful firearm.

Quails are the main attraction for this lovely hand engraved gun. Each little bird features multicolored gold inlay and carving work set off by bas-relief engraving that adds dimension to the gold’s richness. This type of engraving is a highly regarded style, loved by collectors and general audiences alike.

This work by master engraver Alain Lovenberg of Belgium is the same style and technique that he will be teaching at the 2011 Grand Masters Program. The upcoming year will bring Alain stateside for a full two-week course, covering deep relief engraving methods and full gold inlaid background. Check out the Grand Masters website on December 1, 2010, to read more about his course.

Find inspiration in Featured Photos and have your own work to share? Send an email to featured@grstools.com with images of your work!

Technique Meets Inspiration

Studying the works of great artists has long been a way to embellish one’s own artistic skills. Much can be learned though the keen observation of great work. When combining these aesthetic sensibilities with technical savvy, the results will be appealing.

Peter Elovich had always been technically sound, whether at his previous job working as an IT programmer, or once he began engraving following a 2005 GRS Training Center course. For the featured Jasper knife, Peter chose to engrave an interpretation of Lynton McKenzie’s scrollwork. Peter has always admired Lynton’s work, and thought the detail of the large scrollwork complemented the patterns of the jasper stone in the handle.

The stonework handle was completed by Michael Hoover of Art In Stone. Through the inspiration of a great engraver and the collaboration of a skilled stone worker, Peter helped create a knife that proves quality skills combined with dedicated study will provide a quality outcome.

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No Limits to Egg Carving

Many times, the form of an art piece expresses more about the artist than of the art itself.

Cheryl Collins recently carved this ostrich egg using rotary tools. She started out carving about two years ago. While taking a chip carving class a fellow student had a relief carving that inspired Cheryl to study the crafts of wood carving and scrimshaw.

She chose to carve an egg because there were no limits to what she could do. Cheryl’s drive and ambition allowed her to obtain the intricate and beautiful results that she set out to achieve. Recently, Cheryl has been using her GraverMax (#004-995) and 901 handpiece (#004-901) for her scrimshaw work.

Want to see some other egg carvings like this? Check out this previously featured egg carving by Tira Mitchell.

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The GRSTC “Learn” Plate

For the last few years, GRS has commissioned one of our esteemed instructors to hand engrave a piece of artwork for the GRS Training Center’s course schedule brochure.

Sam Alfano hand engraved this first beauty with beautiful script lettering and a flowing leaf script capital for the 2008 brochure. Sandra Brady’s scrimshaw followed in 2009, complete with strong lettering and ambling flowers.

For the 2010 course calendar, Lee Griffiths created a design full of great imagery and meaning. Tira Mitchell is the featured instructor for the 2011 year, and here you can see a sneak peek of the final 2011 Learn plate. Make sure to check back in a few weeks for more details on the 2011 plate.

Thinking about taking a course at GRS Training Center? Starting on the GRSTC website can help you get acquainted with our instructors, courses, and facility. Check in on December 1 for the upcoming course schedule, and don’t wait another year thinking about becoming a hand engraver — make 2011 the year you set your dreams in motion.

Get Ready For 2011

It’s almost that time of year again at GRS. The near-end of the calendar year marks the announcement of the upcoming course schedule.

In case you are new to the idea of hand engraving, December 1 is the day you want to mark on your calendar. The 2011 course schedule, along with course enrollment fees and complete descriptions of each course, become available to the general public.

Deciding to enroll can be quite a commitment for some, especially those who have just started researching engraving and want to try it first hand. Before you call the GRS Training Center in a few weeks to decide on a course, you might have a chat or two with one of our knowledgeable staff members. They can help you decide which level would be best for you, and even if you are ready to move on to a higher level course. Call us today at 1-800-835-3519 to let us know you are interested in taking an engraving or stone setting course in 2011.

Want to do a little research about our classes first? Although the availability changes from year to year, starting on the GRSTC website can help you get acquainted with our instructors, courses, and facility. Don’t wait another year thinking about becoming a hand engraver — make 2011 the year you set your dreams in motion.

Multidimensional Hand Engraving, Part 2

The late Erich Boessler, an accomplished hand engraver from Germany, engraved this firearm with an interesting combination of detail and dimension.

On this side of the firearm, Boessler included a prominent scroll that acts as a visual bridge and focal point that helps to unify the two parts of the scene. This can be a difficult task when designing around parts that cannot be included in the the layout.

Like the other side of the plate, featured in June, he used fine dots and lines to convey each aspect of the engraving. These two techniques of carving and fine dot and line engraving are the perfect marriage for a striking design. Erich Boessler was truly a professional at not only the engraving and technical side of the art, but at the aesthetics of a layout as well.

Look for more scenes from this nicely engraved firearm from Erich Boessler in the future, and keep your gravers sharp.