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Celebrate! Cheers! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Happy Holidays! Naughty is Nice! My Christmas Angel! Santa’s Watching!
These were the inscriptions on 25 cases of Champagne bottles last Thursday. They were done in the account executive’s office. It took exactly 5 hours to do them. We had a 45 minute lunch break, so we were flying through bottles. I’m the first to admit, this is not my best work but it’s pretty and the public is quite forgiving…if they even notice…when the engraving is FREE. The exec did the color and fed bottles across his desk where the entire process took place. The front to back of the east wall of his office was stacked with 25 cases of bubbly. Lots of shuffling on his part. Lots of in-flight drill for me.
The 300 bottles will be spread evenly among 7 Market Street stores in the Dallas area and the Wichita Falls location. We anticipate those bottles will be sold quickly when there is no event going on in the stores. Of course, when I’m in the stores for a publicized engraving event those bottles, as well as un-engraved bottles can be personalized.
Yes, I know I’ve preached and warned and told everyone NOT to engrave sparkling wine. And I stand by that. It takes a feather touch which means I have to work extremely fast, as I’m s k i m m i n g across the surface. Seams are a big sweat. I must avoid being anywhere NEAR a bottle seam. As most of you know, I had a sparkling wine bottle explode in my hands about 15 years ago. Years passed before I felt I had the finesse and ‘touch’ to approach the bottles again. So, now I do. I STRONGLY recommend you do not tackle these until you can skim with that feather touch. Even then, you’re taking a big risk so don’t be tempted at something you may not be ready for. NO carbonated bottles. That includes beer and any other bottle with bubbles. Unless it’s for your sweetheart’s bath and you can’t drink it.
Below are two of the bottles; each message was engraved about 40 times. Some messages were done more than others. I expect….from previous experience….that the Naughty is Nice will jump off the shelves first.
Some tips about practicing the ‘fast’ method. First, if you know my work, you see the many differences in these letters and the ones I teach. Some the same, some quite different, and some wildly different. No baseline drawn and often that shows. No layout procedures. All shooting from the hip. And, probably more unbelievable that all that, I used ONE #6 carbide bur for the whole job….and it was not new when I began!
First, you must know the letters and their basic shapes. In the speedy version…and this doesn’t just have to be on carbonated beverage bottles….your motions are, well, speedy.
The M is 5 strokes. I begin at the bottom of the first leg. With a sweeping motion, I give the bottom a slight curve, then head straight up to the top. Without lifting the drill, I make a quick stroke down for the second leg. Without lifting the drill, I fire another leg to the top, then again, without lifting, I bring down the final leg with a quick serif. Finally, I hastily put the drill at the point of legs 1 and 2 and make a lightning-fast circular motion to the left. I have to lift it at just the right time. All that’s a challenge in the beginning, but with 200-300 of them done on flat glass with the drill, or on a yellow pad with a pencil, it eventually comes. It’s MUSCLE MEMORY.
That’s just the written description. One day soon some short videos will be posted on this and other quickie tips, hints, and instructions. Maybe I can help you out of a slump. And THIS time of the year is NO time to be in a slump! The opportunities I miss are maddening…because I’m already booked for all the good dates. However, some of those Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays this Christmas seasons will get booked on my calendar.
Are you housing a drill in the closet or in a black case gathering dust? Shame on you if the answer is yes! A busy drill…with even a semi-skilled ‘operator’…..can earn a bare-bones minimum of what we experienced engravers earn. That minimum is a hundred bucks and hour. Gospel. No fluff. No pie in the sky. It’s real.
What is most difficult for YOU with the drill? Ask me. Let me see if I can help you get it going. Throngs of people out there are waiting for what you can do. A quick phone call might help. I’m at 214.250.6958 and you’re welcome to ask a question.
Visit our site. Newly arranged. Easier to navigate after so many grumbled and groaned. Website maintenance is just one of the score or more of hats I wear and it’s never a great fit, though I’m working long hours at it and getting better every day.
Just like you and the drill.
All the best,
Oh, yes….if you’re expecting something from me in the mail, watch for the postman on Monday, or earlier.
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