In order to make circular cuts you need to turn your vise or your turntable.
There are many ways to have your work rotate:
1°) By means of your feet:
There is a circular plate under the vise and while using your hands to hold the hammer and the chisel , you turn the plate using your feet . This is very often employed here in France, almost all of the engravers use hammers and chisels as well as a heavy vise on a wooden base. With proper coordination between the hands and feet, they can produce very consistent cuts. But they need years to learn the proper skills.
Here is a movie showing Veronique Brunon at work. You can’t see her feet but they are very active for cutting what seem to be English scrolls:
Here is another clever engraver with a tractor wheel system:
2°) By means of your hand :
This is the classic way: You have an engraver’s vise or a turntable, and you push your work to the cutting point of the hand push graver, or the air assisted graver. The left hand is very active, but while cutting a large spiral, you can only turn at an angle of approximately 10° with your wrist. Then you have to stop the cut in order to replace your left hand and to continue the cut. As far as cutting a classic scroll, you have to perform this operation at least 5 times or more.
3°) By means of a power assisted turntable.
A few years ago I saw a nice workstation made by the engraver Bryan Bridges with a motorised turntable. A little motor
Here is Bryan’s turntable ( protected by a patent)
I wanted to try this type of motorized turntable and so I have made a different system with a small motor mounted on articulated arm. The motor is a low tension DC motor I had gotten off a very old printer. I have put a 220V AC / 12V DC transformer with 1A of current output to power it. To set the speed of the motor, I used an adjusting resistor which accepts the current of 1 A, it became quite hot, however, the speed can vary between 0,5 and 3 revolutions per second. I have put a rubber wheel on the rod of the motor. When I approach the arm to the turn plate, the motor, by friction, makes the plate turn.
Speed control is entirely made using my left hand
- Increasing / decreasing with the potentiometer.
- Increasing /decreasing the pressure on the arm, the rubber wheel will skate
- Decreasing using your thumb , acting as a brake
- Setting the direction Forward/ Reverse using a switch
Here is a video on Youtube :
And here is a little drawing, that is not patented, so feel free to copy it :Turntable.pdf
Conclusion : It was very fun to work on this device, but I have to say, I’m a bit disappointed : there is not a miracle tool to cut scrolls ( maybe because I have cut only a few little scrolls before) But perhaps with a lot of practice I will cut a decent scroll one day.
Here are some practice plates and a little knife I have cut with my new tool : P1020512.JPGP1020468.JPGIMG_1870.JPG
I think the most interesting system in order to motorize a turntable would be a motor whose clutch and speed will be steered using the right foot. The left hand would hold the vise, in the classic position, and make the subtle speed corrections you need while cutting a scroll.
Of course you would need to use a tool like Airtact or Palmcontrol to keep your right foot free … Or play drums to be able to get different movements with every foot.
Jean,Thanks for sharing,the young lady is using what we call here in the U.S,is the potters wheel system.American engraver Neil Hartliep engraved using this while sitting,he show me this at an NRA convention in Philly.Lynton McKenzie also used it but standing up while he engraved with H&C.I teach students the H&C Method walking around a pedesal cutting a scroll in one pass with out stopping.J.J.
School of Artistic Engraving