Echoes of Repetition

When designing for an engraving, balance and flow are key for a non-repeating, asymmetrical result. However, sometimes putting the pattern on repeat is the most effective strategy.

If the section to be engraved is not the star of the show, the use of repeating patterns can provide the desired results. This area engraved by Steve Dunn uses leaves and chevrons in repeating patterns in these narrow strips.

With the wood stock made using beautiful stripes of color, the gold inlay echoes this feature very well. The continuation of the striped stock pattern onto the metal parts adds interest and character to the firearm. Very nice, Steve!

Shielding a Design from Boring

It doesn’t take much to go from va-va to blah when working on a design. One misstep that can leave your design lacking is not breaking up the space in a narrow area.

Instead of continuing the scroll across the side of this firearm, Mike wisely chose to break up the space with a small shield. Then, to be even more effective, Dubber added a pop of color to further create interest in this small, narrow space.

Although the shield is similar in scale to the other elements, namely the adjacent scrolls, the color and shape bring in just enough interest to keep the design from becoming boring. Instead, the scrolls and the shield work brilliantly together to create a complete look that is worthy of admiring.

Nothing Meek About These Scrolls!

Well known for his willingness to share, and his book The Art of Engraving, James “Bruce” Meek hand engraved this firearm for the late Don Glaser.

The close up here is a feature of Meek’s scroll work. He designed with intention, covering the area fully with these scrolls and working around screws and various parts of the firearm.

The background is relieved, and quite dark, which gives the scrolls a nice springboard of contrast for interest and effect. Take the time to study Meek’s simple, bold, and effective scroll design and consider drawing out his style with a pencil to practice something new. Keep those gravers sharp!

Long Lines for the Holidays

Just in time for holiday shopping, artist Mitchell Lurth created a few long lines of his own. This firearm engraving features a different take on background treatment, and everything falls right in line.

Lurth has used long diagonal lines to set the highly-detailed scrolls apart from the background. The engraving of each leaf and scroll echoes this background treatment with dozens of long shade lines in the small areas. Lurth made sure to leave plenty of open areas, free of shade lines, through the design to contrast with the many shade lines. Overall, the simple background treatment is a nice balance in contrast with the details of the scrolls. Thanks for sharing, Mitchell!

A Whirlwind Western Romance

Ah, the dust kicked up from a romantic adventure set in the West — well, the Western style of engraving, that is.

Cody Tague of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been working on his hobby of Western style hand engraving for about three years now. His third class, a Flare Cut Engraving course with Diane Scalese in 2012, led him to create a hand-engraved gift for his father, featured in October.

Tague shared this romantic bracelet during his trip to the GRS Training Center. It features large Western scrolls cut in the traditional style, along with two intertwined copper hearts in the center as the focus. Although Tague currently works on his engraving as a hobby, he hopes to one day retire and engrave full time. Nice job, Cody!

Machine-Like Precision, Made by Hand

Not many jewelers can boast about skills like those represented here. This ring gleams with precisely cut angles, appearing as if modern technology could be the only way to attain such accuracy.

The artist is Todd Daniels, who teaches at the GRS Training Center and is a professional engraver and jeweler. This style of setting is called “French cut”. The angled cuts make for an aesthetic that echoes accuracy all while being made by hand.

As a jeweler looking at this work, you may think such a task is out of reach. In the upcoming year, however, Todd will be teaching the new course “Expert Stone Setting” at the GRS Training Center. With this style and many similar high-end styles the focus of his course, students will not turn away empty handed. Learn more about this fantastically technical and inspirational course: Expert Stone Setting.

Engraving a 1911 Pistol

A select few engravers will have the opportunity in 2013 to join Rex Pedersen to engrave a 1911 pistol from start to finish. This drawing represents the artwork and style presented by Rex for this class.

Pedersen has been teaching a Start-to-Finish Firearms Engraving course for a few years now. These classes are very popular with hand engraving artists, especially those wanting to bolster the confidence to begin working on larger, more valuable pieces.

As a FEGA Master Engraver, Pedersen knows his way around these firearms. While teaching at the GRS Training Center, he likes to focus on his students to allow a maximum advancement in their abilities. If you are thinking about taking a class with Rex in 2013, don’t just think about it — call 800-835-3519 today and reserve your seat before they are all filled. You could be engraving a pistol like this during the summer of 2013, and it will be well worth it.

Classic Colt Engraving

We have added an exciting new class at the GRS Training Center for the 2013 training year, and with this course comes a special guest instructor: Mike Dubber.

Well known for his excellent execution and artistry, Dubber is a FEGA Master Engraver and a Colt Master Engraver. Dubber has worked and studied under masters Winston Churchill, Ron Smith, Philippe Grifnée, Alain Lovenberg, and Creative Art of Italy.

His major concentration is on Colt firearms, creating three Colt Collectors Association Show Guns and winning four Howard Dove Awards for Engraving Excellence.

His 2013 course is Classic Colt Engraving, during which he will guide students through applying historically accurate designs to a firearm before engraving it in class. With the popularity of similar firearms engraving courses, this one is sure to fill up fast!

He has a Master of Fine Arts degree and is a past president of FEGA. He enjoys teaching the art of engraving and has taught over 600 students in organized and private classes. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to learn from a Colt Master Engraver at the GRS Training Center.

The 2013 Learn Plate

For the past several years, GRS has commissioned an artist to create a “Learn” plate to be featured in the upcoming GRS Training Center Calendar & Course Details guide.

For the 2013 Calendar, Sam Alfano and Diane Scalese worked together to create this beautifully hand engraved design in brass. Scalese engraved the border before passing it on to Alfano, who then cut the exquisite lettering seen here. After the letters were cut, Sam returned the piece for the final treatment.

For the space around the letters, Diane chose a Flare Cut style. This design with the Flare Cut technique looks great in the brass, showing off brilliant and bold cuts. Thanks to Diane and Sam for a superb piece of art!

Want your own FREE 2013 Calendar? Ours is filled with both professional and student engraving work, details on courses, and biographies on each instructor. Be sure to call 800-835-3519 today for more information about receiving your free calendar and for details on the 2013 Course Schedule release, coming Monday, December 3, 2012.

From George Sherwood

George Sherwood, who passed away over a decade ago, wrote and published a book for firearms engravers: Firearms Engraving Theory and Design. After seeing many years of publication, the book recently went out of print.

However, GRS couldn’t let this gem slip quietly into the “out of print” pile. Sherwood was good to share his knowledge and art with others through his book, and we believe it should continue to be shared. Having recently acquired the rights, GRS will soon be putting the Sherwood book back into publication.

With this second edition printing, featuring lay-flat wire binding for an easier study, we wanted to share a few drawings by Sherwood from his book. He shows here some variations on stacking scrolls, as well as styles of leaves to use as filler. His book is filled with nice examples of his work, drawings, and templates for firearms engraving.

Look for details on the upcoming second edition to be announced soon!

Dress Up Your Bench

With the tendency toward creative and pleasing aesthetics, it is understandable that a hand engraver might want to continue the artwork beyond the canvas.

This bench vise and turntable have been transformed from standard tools by artist Mitchell Lurth. He added beautiful brass inlay with overlapping scrolls throughout his equipment here. Although the metal was challenging to cut and inlay, Lurth powered through the project for a great result in the end. Nice job, Mitchell!

Have you engraved your equipment or tools? Let us know! Share your work by sending photos to and your engraved tools could be featured here!

The Metal Magician

Chun-chieh Tsai is the “Metal Magician”, an engraving artist who lives and works in Taiwan. His work shows a distinct Asian influence with a kick of international scroll style.

He engraved simple shaded scrolls on this scalloped metal design. The collared-necklace trend lends itself well to creating this soft and feminine piece of jewelry. Hand engraving adds a touch of human interest to the quality, making it a very nice handmade piece.

See more of Tsai’s work on his hand engraving blog or on Facebook:
Chun-chieh Tsai on Facebook
Blog Page with Work

Engraving a Firearm at The GRSTC

Hand engraver Terry Martin of Norman, Oklahoma knows — learning techniques at the GRS Training Center is worth it.

Martin has taken several courses at the GRSTC to learn the art of hand engraving and to boost his skills. He engraved this firearm as a project in class with FEGA Master Engraver Rex Pedersen, who teaches at the GRS Training Center in Emporia, Kansas. The class, Start-to-Finish Firearms Engraving, focuses specifically on the entire process of engraving a gun.

Because students learn in such a short period of time, months of frustration and missed income can be avoided. “It is the most cost-friendly way to learn,” commented Martin after completing a course in hand engraving. His work definitely speaks to both his talents and his instructor’s teaching ability. Thanks for sharing, Terry!

Honoring Our Veterans

As the founding city of Veterans Day, Emporia does much to remember the many Americans who have fought for our freedom over the years. This knife displays imagery with which we associate the pride in our country and those who have served.

Professional hand engraver Jake Newell, a native of Emporia, created this knife design and engraved it some months ago. However, the theme speaks well to honoring our veterans. Newell has included detailed bulino engraving of an American bald eagle, the faces of Mt. Rushmore, and both sides of the waving American flag. He also added a nice touch with a line of gold inlay.

In honor of Veterans Day on November 11, 2012, we thank all those who have served the United States of America.

Aesthetic Improvements for Fine Instruments

Brian Powley, a hand engraving artist from Ohio, is starting a new trend for professional flutists: designer crowns.

After having engraved lip plates for quite some time, Powley thought the crown would be the perfect place to embellish a flute.

“Since I was learning some basic stone setting skills, it only made sense to include that feature as a bonus,” commented Powley about his work. The crown is a great choice for engraving and stone setting, since it is more easily seen by concert-goers and other musicians alike. This bonus is definitely a great way to add some sparkle to a flute. Nice job, Brian!

Using Gold Inlay Effectively

Hand engraving artist and knifemaker Rick Eaton uses gold in his work quite often.

This knife by Rick is a good example of how to use gold in steel for a dramatic effect. His design would still be nice without the gold, but the effect resulting from the contrast of the metals is striking. Gold not only adds aesthetic value but monetary value as well.

Many advanced engraving artists use gold wire inlay in projects. But how many ways can gold be inlaid? Rick knows the tricks of the trade when it comes to soft metal inlay, taking the technique to new heights with sheet, raised, and even sculpted inlay. Be sure to check out the 2013 Course Schedule release at the beginning of December for information about classes with Rick Eaton next year!