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Home engraving

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Sneaky Potato, Sep 7, 2011.

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  1. Sneaky Potato

    Sneaky Potato Member

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    I recently purchased a Uberti Cattleman, and I've dreamed about being able to have an engraved revolver. The only problem is that I don't have $500 and patience to ship it off for six months. I'd like to try something cheaper, and maybe even "do-it-yourself".

    I've heard of acid etching, and even laser engraving, but have little experience with these things. A friend suggested that I buy those metal stamps that require a hammer to pound in a design, but I'm afraid it might not be the best for the gun. Now I'm no engraver, so I'd ask if anybody has done or heard of any alternatives (permanent or temporary) to engraving? :D

    (and yes, I'm fully aware that there is no alternative to engraving will truly match the quality of a real engraving job. I'm just looking for a way to dress up my iron that won't cost me a leg)
     
  2. PRM

    PRM Member

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    You answered your own question. No, there is nothing else that will achieve that look. I'd wait until I could afford what I really wanted. Some things are hard to un-do.
     
  3. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    Very, very, very, very sound advice. If you can't afford $500 for engraving, which is cheap by the way, you certainly can't afford to booger up a $500 sixgun.
     
  4. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    You can find more information on engraving - methods, tools, etc. at www.brownells.com

    It would not be advisable to start learning on a firearm. The way to start is to use so-called parctice pieces, which are inexpensive pieces of metal. There is no reason you can't learn to do engraving, just don't start with a revolver, unless it is total junk.
     
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Probably not a good idea to try it yourself.
    Unless you are already an artist who can set down with a pencil & paper and draw something really good, without ever using the eraser?
    And unless you are a metal worker with the knowledge to anneal & soften the heat treated parts, and then re-harden them after you do the engraving?

    Metal stamps are out of the question, as the Uberti's case-hardened frame is as hard on the surface as the metal stamps are.

    rc
     
  6. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    these guys are giving you great advice.

    this is a "what they said"
     
  7. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    Without buying many hundreds of bucks worth of tools and spending hours and hours of practice on scrap pieces I'd echo that $500 for a first class job is money well spent. Good engraving is an art that requires some inspiration and a lot of technique that only comes with practice. It also takes very little loss of control and consistency to make it look like hound scratching on a back door. It's just not something that a person just picks up and does to a truly professional level. Many hours of practice are needed to develop the techniques and steadiness before the graver touches a true work piece.

    I've seen laser etching and it looks fairly nice too. But the jobs I've seem look to consistent and somehow mechanical and "cold" due to the consistent line width and depth.

    As for indenting stamps? Just don't... just don't. That sort of stuff is best used in leather working. Ever try to stamp a 5 or 6 digit number or word using individual number or letter stamps? Came out all uneven and crooked, didn't it. Even something as basic as stamping a number really needs a jig to square up and correctly space the stampings. Can you imagine the mess you'll make? I can because I would not be able to do any different. To try it for yourself take a center punch and punch a straight line of evenly spaced holes. leading up to a semi circle. If you're honest with yourself you'll look at the results and lay the tools aside and leave your gun alone. And besides, stamping just doesn't have the same classy look at all as engraving. And you run the risk of damaging the fit of the metal with all the impacts which are stretching and forcing the metal. Do a stamped pattern of some sort on a cylinder and you may well not be able to fit cartridges into the cylinder any more due to the distortion.

    As Harry Calahan said "A man's gotta know his limits". This doesn't mean that you can't LEARN. But just be prepared to take on the challenge of the time and cost of tools to do the job. It's not just something that anyone can do well right away.
     
  8. Sneaky Potato

    Sneaky Potato Member

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    Haha alright it appears that I should definitely NOT try anything at home. :banghead: I appreciate the help! I'm kind of on the "refinishing and antiquing" kick, and I suppose it's getting the best of me :D

    I will most likely wait, and save up the money. Real engraving is absolutely incredible. It's also incredibly expensive to buy all the equipment and get started. I imagine there are many guys who have careers in engraving, but it appears to be a dying art (I could only find a handful of services online) now that laser engraving seems to be a popular alternative (but ugly).
     
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