The London School of Furniture Making: Engraving By Hand

Engraving By Hand

Ever since I started making guitars I've been fascinated by the possibilities of applied decoration. It isn't something I like to see a lot of, especially in furniture making, but I'm weak for a bit of inlay around a sound hole or on the headstock.

Gravers - Tools of The Trade
I built an acoustic guitar a while ago, with an inlaid silver bird of paradise flower motif, which I'd always thought was rather nice, but would have been better with a bit of hand engraving to bring it to life.

Well, I'm not one for making quick decisions but I do get there in the end. So, twenty years after my first ponderings, I enrolled on a three-day engraving course with the Association of Hand Engravers.

Angus McFadyen
The class was taught by Angus McFadyen, silversmith and engraver.  I warmed immediately to his laid-back style. That's not to say that he isn't serious about the subject. Far from it, in fact, given how talented he is, he managed to be quite self-effacing and also encouraging despite our frankly poor initial efforts.

Correct Use of The Graver
I love making tools, so I was at home with shaping and sharpening the graver and scribing tools. Once we'd been shown what to do, we spent the rest of the course trying to refine our technique, which isn't as simple as it sounds.

Last day effort.

Now I have a head full of ideas about what I want to engrave next; inlay, cabinet hardware, perhaps some tools.