On average, I do a couple of swords a month. Some for country clubs, some for collectors, this one for a dinner theater, and some for military retirement gifts. One religious group has an annual conclave and they bring the same sword back every year for a new biblical inscription and the new date. It’s beginning to be quite a display of engraving!
Typically, the metal in swords is a dream to engrave. High quality stuff, usually, smooth as silk. Frosted 3M tape is used for baselines. I never use more than the baseline for my text to be engraved. When I determined there would be three lines, I eyeballed where the first one should be and put down the tape, burnishing the edge to a tight adhesion. Rubbed color along the edge of the tape with a cotton ball, then pulled up the tape and engraved on the line of color. Did the same with the other two lines, making sure that the descenders would fit.
I always begin a sword with a brand new bur and the instant I sense it’s getting dull and not cutting the same crisp strokes as in the first few words, I’ll put in another new one and continue, keeping the stroke weight as close as possible to the previous ones. These three lines took 20 minutes total for layout and engraving. I used two new #3 round carbide burs. Layout was “from the hip” with no test on flat glass first….which is the surest way to get perfect centering. Fee was $145. and the customer loved it. It was presented to a long time customer for their loyalty to my customer. The job, for 20 minutes work, calculates to an hourly rate of $435. per hour.
If you are fortunate enough to have one come to you, do your best and get a good photo. And good luck on that! If you get a good digital picture, get some mileage out of it by emailing a copy of it to any company or individual you can learn about who deals in swords. Needless to say, these don’t fit in the garden variety engraving machines at the jewelry stores, mall stores, and trophy shops!
-Ken 214.250.6958 to enroll or for answers to your questions. Remember, Christmas is coming and that is a big deal to us engravers!
SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER ENGRAVING CLASSES Note: Both the September and October sessions have 6 seats available at this moment. Max is 8 students per class. The eighth person to call and enroll will get their entire class fee ($1600.) refunded when all are assembled in the room for orientation the evening before the first full day of class. That applies to Sept. AND Oct. Don’t ask when you call to enroll and pay if you’re the eighth one. We won’t tell you. But you’ll learn if you’re the one that evening…with a nice little bag of money!