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Thread: Work Holding

  1. #1
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    Default Work Holding

    The challenge of holding subjects for engraving goes on forever. I am perpetually looking for better ways to hold objects in my engravers vise - gun parts, jewelry, ivory, etc. Whatever subject I'm asked to engrave requires that I hold it securely without damaging surfaces. Holding pieces with metal "pins" has never worked for me, and in trying to do so when I was inexperienced, the pins often left marks and scuffs that had to be removed.

    This summer I taught a scrimshaw class at the Marc Adams School. I don't often do scrimshaw and I really wasn't set up with holding devices for the faux ivory things I wanted the class to scrim. After some experimentation in my studio, I sent a sketch of the wood holding device to the school to have them cut 10 each for the students prior to class. It was block of hardwood that we could load with modelling clay to securely hold the ivory pieces for scrim work...it worked just the way I planned.

    Then, more recently, I was commissioned to create the portrait of a hunting dog on a silver flask - the lady was desperate to have her husband's favorite (deceased) German Short Hair engraved on the flask with appropriate lettering for their anniversary. I found that the device worked perfectly for that.

    Finally, I had to do a gold inlay on a pair of Pearl Grips last week (my earlier Thread "Crazy Horse" shows the final results of that). Holding those delicate Pearls would have been really difficult without my simple device because the grips were already fitted and glued together to create the one-piece set. So:

    Photo #1 is the wood block - simple cuts on the top to work clay into - with a peg at the bottom to place between vise jaws
    Photo #2 shows that it was loaded with modelling clay
    Photo #3 shows the Sterling Flask mounted in the clay, and,
    Photo #4 shows the Pearl Grips mounted in the clay.


    I used a white oil-based modelling clay that I bought at a hobby store - it held these objects firmly enough that I really had to pull to get them off. No marks, no dings, and they were held tightly enough to cut both delicate and heavy lines without movement.
    Last edited by MikieDu; 01-08-2018 at 01:35 AM.

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  3. #2
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    i was desperate one day, long ago. i had a part to engrave. it was impossible to hold securely, or so i thought. i come up with 2 large "wads" of partially crumpled aluminum foil. this allowed the odd shaped part to be held securely. i think brian powley made a few gadjets like yours. they were round and of aluminum. btw, the flask is really cool, as is all you do tyvm for showing.

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikieDu View Post
    Then, more recently, I was commissioned to create the portrait of a hunting dog on a silver flask - the lady was desperate to have her husband's favorite (deceased) German Short Hair engraved on the flask with appropriate lettering for their anniversary. I found that the device worked perfectly for that.
    The same, somewhat dramatic, woman called me about this project. We had several phone conversations, over a dozen emails back & forth (perhaps oddly, never got around to a budget), she sent photos, etc. Her last email was "What are your thoughts? Do you think this is something you would want to move forward with? If so I would like to get that flask sent out to you ASAP." I replied in the affirmative almost immediately, then didn't hear from her for a few days. When I sent another follow-up she wrote, "Sorry Mitch. We are having issues with our other shorthair :-( (this one is more my dog) I think I'm going to plan B for this particular gift. There are certain things I want to include line[sic] having gold used and the flask walls - as you said - are too thin. I think maybe on his birthday next year I'll do something involving steel so it can be hammered and the gold could be used. I'll reach out to you when I come up with the idea. Thanks for all your help and advice."

    So evidently you were "plan B" (or maybe I was all along?), Mike. Glad somebody got the work and did a nice job with it.

    I love engraving, but sometimes the clients aren't my favorite part...
    Mitch Moschetti

    MRM ENGRAVING
    www.mrmengraving.com

  5. #4
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    I have the round aluminum job from Brian, and it works great. in fact, it's in use in my vise right now.

    Todd

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitch View Post
    The same, somewhat dramatic, woman called me about this project. We had several phone conversations, over a dozen emails back & forth (perhaps oddly, never got around to a budget), she sent photos, etc. Her last email was "What are your thoughts? Do you think this is something you would want to move forward with? If so I would like to get that flask sent out to you ASAP." I replied in the affirmative almost immediately, then didn't hear from her for a few days. When I sent another follow-up she wrote, "Sorry Mitch. We are having issues with our other shorthair :-( (this one is more my dog) I think I'm going to plan B for this particular gift. There are certain things I want to include line[sic] having gold used and the flask walls - as you said - are too thin. I think maybe on his birthday next year I'll do something involving steel so it can be hammered and the gold could be used. I'll reach out to you when I come up with the idea. Thanks for all your help and advice."

    So evidently you were "plan B" (or maybe I was all along?), Mike. Glad somebody got the work and did a nice job with it.

    I love engraving, but sometimes the clients aren't my favorite part...
    __________________________________________________ _____
    I agree - after her second desperate phone (and after hearing my price) I didn't hear back from her (I said "no" to inlaying gold during the first call). Then the package arrived at my mailbox - with a payment enclosed. Her husband emailed me after receiving the flask for their anniversary - seemed like nice guy and thanked me profusely.

  7. #6
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    Came across this stuff from Australia on the net the other day. Have not seen it talked about on here. Anyone heard of or tried it? Not sure about the hot water thing to soften it back up but still looks like pretty handy stuff.

    http://www.plastimake.com/
    Have a good one!

    Ron Jr. Scrimshaw & Engraving

    Click the link below to visit my website.
    Ron Jr. Scrimshaw & Engraving

  8. #7
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    No, but it looks useful - may a similar composition/counterpart to Thermo Lock?

    I especially like "Props and Costumes" teeth - maybe use them while I teach engraving?

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  10. #8
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    Looking through the "tools" examples, it could be useful for making small holding gadgets and such; may have to order some and give it a try.

  11. #9
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    Default

    I have often gone to wood to make a holding devise. Most recently, I engraved several stick pins. I took a piece of hard wood cut some slots in the wood for the pin back to settle in. Worked great. I have basically an unlimited supply of hard wood and the equipment to make what I need. If I were to make one like yours I would glue and screw the bottom piece that goes in the vice. Counter sink the screws. I think that would be easier if you don't have a wood shop.

  12. #10
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    I agree, gluing or fastening the peg on the bottom is another good way to do that. AND...the overriding reason for that added peg/piece/flat extension at the bottom is so that you don't have to work with the vise jaws wide open!

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