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Engraving Stone

Posted by Brian Stanford  
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Brian Stanford October 15, 2010 06:52AM
Hi:
I joined Mindat in July, 1st time posting.
I'm interested in learning to engrave stone. Word engraving on smaller stone.
I'd appreciate any info or guidance relative to methods, best tools, equipment and stone, links or other information sources.
Thank You:
Brian
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Keith Compton October 21, 2010 12:36PM
Hi again

Much depends on the hardness of the material you intend to carve / engrave.

I would suggest that any Dremel hand held drill would suffice - you could use dental bits for softer stone and diamond bits for harder material.

Most major hardware stores or lapidary supply house would cater for this.

Cheers
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Michael Croxell October 21, 2010 01:11PM
Brian...I use a Foredom with a foot control to carve stone which I think would work...the new ones are reversable in direction so always spining water and rock away from you...use diamond bits with water drip...also have seen polished items that have been masked off then sand blasted to remove rock and/or the polish...Good luck ...Mike
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Brian Stanford October 22, 2010 06:30AM
Thanks Mike

Brian
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Brian Stanford October 22, 2010 06:40AM
Hi Keith:

I do have a Dremel, but have had trouble locating any suitable letter templates and find it hard to get a start without running all over the stone, if that makes any sense. No doubt, I need some type of scribe or other tool to mark the stone deep enough to have something to follow???

Thanks Again
Take care:
Brian
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Brian Stanford October 22, 2010 06:44AM
Hi Mike:
I forgot to ask what model your Foredom tool is? Did it come with a water drip or is it something you rigged on your own?

Thanks.
Take Care:
Brian
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Brian Stanford October 22, 2010 07:05AM
Hi:
In terms of good, better, best, I'd appreciate any experiences anyone has had, or recommendations relative to rotary tools, air gravers, sand blasting, lasers or other stone engraving methods.

Also, if it's allowed to mention company names, does anyone have any tool supplier preferences or is eBay the way most folks go?

Thank You.

Take Care:
Brian
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Keith Compton October 22, 2010 12:22PM
Brian
What stone/rock are you trying to engrave?
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Ken Ceglady October 22, 2010 01:38PM
I use a Dremel to carve anything and everything. I personally find letter engraving extremely difficult, as it is difficult to get the forms strictly correct and symmetrical. I don't use a template. When I have to do letters, I mark out the letter with a fine sharpie and work each letter one "leg" at a time. Diamond bits come in a large variety of shapes and sizes (I have maybe two dozen), and they work best if you use a diamond extender lubricant. Tungsten carbide bits don't come in as many shapes and and don't come as finely pointed, but they cut most everything, and do it faster and sharper than the diamond does. (They are coarser and have cut spiral teeth, instead of being just abrasive.) Starting off can be difficult - you have to use a light touch so that you don't chatter over the surface. I find it helpful to do a light polish of the surface afterwards. This usually sharpens up the carved image and removes any chatter slips. I often find it easier to carve around the letters and leave them in relief, as I can do sharper edges and forms that way.
Good luck.
k
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Brian Stanford October 22, 2010 06:11PM
Hi Keith:

Mostly various pieces of petrified wood that I've ground flat on one side. Also have some agate slabs that I've bought here and there that I'd like to try something on. Perhaps I'm starting out with stone that is too hard ???

Thanks:
Brian
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Brian Stanford October 22, 2010 06:15PM
Hi Ken:

Thanks for your reply. Is the diamond extender lubricant you mentioned available at most stores that handle diamond bits or do you go to a specialty store?

Take Care:
Brian
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Ken Ceglady October 22, 2010 06:45PM
I haven't seen it in regular stores.
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Michael Croxell October 22, 2010 07:21PM
Brian..I use an IV bottle/bag with a screw on cap...has an an ajustable drip that way...also made a shield out of plexi glass and plywood..the light plexi from Lowes bends pretty easy...about 16" wide and 36" long...drill hole on top for water source...petrified wood and agate are about a 7 hardness which is tougher to cut but the edges should be better...also you can make templets from contact paper just make sure surface is clean and dry..just stick them on and they will generaly stay in plsce till your done....depending on how deep you wish to go they make diamond wheels that look like a saw blade I believe I Kingsly North has them..if your having problems with the bit traveling maybe spinning to slow to cut....most all of the foredoms will work I think diamond bits need to spin at about 14000 rpm...Mike
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Brian Stanford October 23, 2010 05:21AM
Thanks Mike:
Great tips, much appreciated !
Take Care:
Brian
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Brian Stanford October 23, 2010 05:24AM
Thanks Ken
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Keith Compton October 24, 2010 11:37AM
Brian

Cutting letters into stone by hand is a slow process

You could try outlining the letters first - aluminium pencil - using a letter guide (same as used by architects and the like) then using a small circular diamond saw - carefully cut out the outline. You may need different size saws. Then use either a router type attachment to carve out the inner parts of the letters or use diamond tipped ball or square drill bits.
You could also use letraset as a means of setting out the letters. They will of course be destroyed once you start cutting

A router type attachment - with the drill fixed in a vertical mount will get a better result than by hand. But be warned, this is a slow process. You may need a good deal of diamond slurry to assst. If your material is flat like a slab - ensure that you place on a flat surface. If your material is rough on the other side then you need to ensure that it is flat by placing on a suitable base first. For this you could try a piece of thick packing foam - not affected by water or lubricant but is easy to cut out to mould to the back of your rock. Or simply place on wax as if you were cutting a cabochon and then affix the waxed side to a flat surface.
Good luck
Cheers
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Brian Stanford October 25, 2010 06:24AM
Thanks Keith:

Appreciate the tips.

Take Care:
Brian
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Gerald Wells June 18, 2012 02:23AM
I agree with the Foredom Tool suggested, you can get a large assortment of diamond tips, in a number of sizes and shapes from Harbor Freight. They are cheap and easy to use. I have purchased sets of 5, 20 and 50 assorted sizes. They also carry wheels and disks that are handy.
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Matt Estremera December 05, 2014 07:07PM
Hello,

I have a tough question which has seemed to be difficult to answer.

I am looking for a rock type that could be carved into WITHOUT using a dremel. So here's the concept, i'd like to be able to carve into a rock just using a small chisel and the pressure or force from my hand. I do a lot of hiking and think this would be a great way to relax, while creating something unique. I remember in class learning about the different types of mineral rocks that could be scratched by a coin or nail (Mohs hardness scale).

If anyone could please suggest the best type of stone/rock that mite work best to create a nice carving by hand I would really appreciate it. Suggesting a chisel would be greatly appreciated as well.

Enjoy the Holidays.

-Matt
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Michael Croxell December 05, 2014 11:20PM
soapstone or jet with a knife
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Mark Heintzelman December 06, 2014 06:14AM
Soapstone is the most popular hand carving stone for sculptural work, but a simple old roof slate will take nicely to more illustrative or hand etching. As a young boy I carved one of my favorite poems (In Flanders Fields) into an old roofing slate, nicely illuminated as well using only hand tools, with very good results. . All will require patients and persistence of course. Right now I have a large chunk of massive pink chinese talc which is awaiting my final decision on what to work it into. You don't want to get too detailed with such a soft stone as it bruises very easily, but working steathite/talc/soapstone is easy, the feel is wonderful and as you say, very relaxing, cathardic work. :D

The old practice of lithography, "litho" latin for stone, was actually not a matter of engraving or etching as with metal plate intaglio printing (most world currencies are printed with the intaglio method). The use of stone lithography was a planographic technique in which the artist draws directly on a flat stone, usually with a greasy crayon. The stone is dampened with water, then inked. The ink clings to the greasy crayon marks, but not to the dampened areas. When a piece of paper is pressed against the stone, the ink on the greasy parts is transferred to it. . example:


No engraving stone was ever widely used as a printing plate.


MRH



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/06/2014 06:37AM by Mark Heintzelman.
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Kelly Nash December 06, 2014 04:59PM
Limestone or marble. Abundant, cheap, easy to carve, and used for that purpose for centuries.
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Travis Hetsler January 23, 2015 08:20PM
Alabaster, pipestone, soapstone, limestone, chlorite, and some serpentine come in a variety of colors and are easily carved by steel tools.

Happy cutting!
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Carole Joerns April 25, 2016 02:09AM
For engraving stone, what size (powered) Dremel and do the bits have 1/8 shanks? Are the other brands easily interchangeable to use with the Dremel?
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aimee November 21, 2016 11:08PM
hello,

i have a large quartz piece and i'm trying to figure out what would cause what resembles pencil marks in the grooves on the carving. i was told the carving was turned on a lathe, and in some of the grooves there is what appears to be graphite pencil. It doesn't come off despite using eraser, alcohol pads, nail polish remover, or comet cleanser. soap and water didn't remove it either. i was thinking a scribe pencil was used, but that comes off, right? need carver's experience!

thanks!

aimee
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