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Old 06-20-13, 04:48 PM   #11
oyster
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Default Day three

At this point I should probably clarify a bit for you what the engraving process actually looks like. Here's my shop studio. You can see the stereoscope mounted over a ball vice which sits on a turntable. This vice holds the work and allows me to angle or rotate as needed while I work.


The "graver" is basically a hard steel chisel point with various facets that can be pushed, hammered, or most often these days, driven through the metal with a pneumatic handpiece. This is is the one I use most often.


Here's my view through through the scope as the work is being done. The point removes a single curl of metal as it's guided along its path.


Here's a short video I made a while back of the process as it relates to our fly rods:



On the morning of the third day we were finally ready to begin engraving our guns. Our instructor provided design ideas for us, but allowed us the freedom to modify or create our own designs. I had spent the previous evening sketching out designs to create a more personal look. The instructor reviewed and approved my layout and it was time to get started. We weren't looking for over-the-top, full coverage, but a balanced design that would dress things up in a reasonable amount of time.

Knowing that it's always best to begin with a warmup, I chose my trigger guard, sketched out my design directly onto the gun with a felt tip pen, and started cutting. The idea was a banner type scroll which would serve as a name plate for the future owner. I chose to outline the banner with a touch of inlayed gold. The inlay is done by cutting extra deep grooves with vertical sidewalls, then undercutting the edges to serve as anchor points. 24K gold wire is then hammered into the groove, locking itself into place.

Here's a look at the gold inlay process underway. I'm using a burnishing tool to make sure that every small void is totally filled before filing away the excess.



After the gold is sanded to its final smoothness, I can go back and finish the details of the scroll work. A light sanding afterwards and the trigger guard is ready to go.



Next up, the receiver...
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Old 06-21-13, 07:36 PM   #12
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Default the receiver begins

The simplest place to begin the receiver was by using a pattern the instructor had created for the side of the gun. We used acetone to drop the ink from a copy of his drawing onto the gun to use as a pattern. This was the only part of his design that I retained. I intentionally chose to design the rest of the patterns myself, just to make sure that I was profficient, while I had someone there to help me if I went astray. Our instructor actually specialized in English scroll above all other styles.


We used the "negative space", or blank areas, to create geometric patterns that give a pleasing effect. Here's the first areas I designed myself.


The instructor liked my design, even asked to copy it for future classes. This left me feeling pretty confident as I moved on to the top of the gun. I decided to use a running leaf border to accent the front of the action, and just a small design to cover the curves.


Interesting thing about guns, they have two sides! In order to avoid having to constantly flip the gun back and forth trying to duplicate the first side, we took a "smoke pull". To do this, we held the engraved side over a kerosene lantern until it was covered in black soot. We then used packaging tape to remove the soot and create an image we could use as a reference while working on the other side.


That's all for now.
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Old 06-21-13, 08:19 PM   #13
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This is such a great thread Bill, thanks so much for sharing this with us.

Quick question: comparatively, the surface of a shotgun is a significantly larger canvas than you are use to engraving on. Does this larger canvas present any challenges to you given that you are so use to engraving everything on fly rod butt caps and ferrules?
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Old 06-22-13, 02:23 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Buck Henry View Post
This is such a great thread Bill, thanks so much for sharing this with us.

Quick question: comparatively, the surface of a shotgun is a significantly larger canvas than you are use to engraving on. Does this larger canvas present any challenges to you given that you are so use to engraving everything on fly rod butt caps and ferrules?
It's actually a much nicer surface to engrave on. It's relatively flat, the metal is plenty thick, and the steel is harder so holds fine lines well. The hardest part is remembering to stay within a time budget. I just want to cut and cut. I can do just about anything on a fly rod in a week or two, but an engraver could easily spend months on a single gun (if the customer can stomach the cost).
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Old 06-22-13, 05:27 PM   #15
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Very cool stuff. Thanks, Bill.
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Old 06-23-13, 08:02 AM   #16
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Thanks for posting this, I felt inadequate before, now I am confidently inadequate. I am always amazed at the artistic ability of others, this is why....
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Old 06-23-13, 08:04 PM   #17
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Thanks for posting this, I felt inadequate before, now I am confidently inadequate.
Well stated - it suits me to a "T"!

I wonder how many folks have opened up cases and started dreaming....."I wonder if Bill could......".
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Old 06-23-13, 09:04 PM   #18
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I know I am rather overly verbose at times. (At all times, according to Meaux.) I have but one word for all that beautimus engravin' . . . "wondermus"! I am truly awestruck.
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Old 06-24-13, 03:45 PM   #19
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This is like the greatest thread in fishing board history.

You guys realize that Bill Oyster is going to be remembered as a master craftsman in 200 years right? This is like watching Edward Vom Hofe tinker with the idea of putting together some rubber plates on a reel. Or H.L. Leonard whittling his first piece of bamboo.

I like Derek DeYoung. He's a good dude. Tim Borski is wicked skilled. Russell Chatham deserves his reputation and his price tag.

What Bill is doing is harder than any of that.

Zach
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Old 06-24-13, 03:53 PM   #20
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You guys realize that Bill Oyster is going to be remembered as a master craftsman in 200 years right?
Yep! I remember telling Shannen one day, "history will remember Bill". It really is an honor to have him as an active member on this message board!

PS: I got a first hand look at the gun receiver and trigger guard on Saturday; coming along nicely! And I know (but will not tell) who is going to end up with this gun!
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