This shape bowl is tough to get even, parallel baselines for your engraving.  The slanted sides make it almost impossible to get lines level with the top/bottom of the bowl in any other way without some rigged device for setting at different levels.  

      Note that on my engraving table I’ve glued down two sections of a wide plastic ruler, at an open angle.  I turn the bowl upside down and push it up against the plastic to allow it to spin on a fixed axis when I turn the bowl with my left hand.  Before the bowl is turned over, I decide where the lines of copy must be.  That depends on the amount of copy, the size it must be, and how much I want it to wrap around the bowl, or be in a relatively narrow segment.  

      Once I’ve determined those dimensions, I mark a tiny dot where each line must be.  When all the dots are marked on the side of the bowl, I turn it upside down and begin with the BOTTOM line on the copy which is the TOP line when the bowl is upside down.  I then get the right combination of books….of various thicknesses….and stack them to elevate my hand to where the pen is about even with the dot representing the line to be drawn.  

      When that height is reached, I put my fist in the position shown and move the books and my hand toward the bowl until the point just touches the bowl firmly.  When all is ‘locked’ in place with a tight grip on the pen, I slowly spin the bowl with my left hand.  Against the plastic pieces on the smooth, hard Formica surface, the bowl turns and the pen marks a perfectly level line on the bowl as long as I continue to rotate it.  

      That process is repeated for every line by my changing the height of the books until I get near the bottom of the bowl….actually, the TOP of the bowl…. at which point I can usually do the final line or two with my fist planted firmly on the table.  It takes a bit of coordination and an even pressure with the pen on the glass but when you do it correctly, it’s a surefire and accurate way of getting the lines ready for engraving.

IMG_0553     When all the lines are drawn, I position my hand on the pillow with the bowl resting on the carpet pad on my table.  I get as comfortable as possible so I can turn the bowl with my left hand, moving the bowl under the drill as needed while my right hand stays in the same place the whole time.

IMG_0571     This is the finished bowl with the lettering on the surface nearest the camera.  The view here is looking through the near side of the bowl, seeing the opening at the top.  The camera view is BELOW the rim of the bowl  This is one of the techniques taught in our Texas Seminars, along with many others.  

      If you have comments or questions, I’d love to hear from you.  


Learn Engraving  

Oh, yes, I’m still inviting your thoughts and comments about a thorough tutorial I’m now working on for the iPad.  With the recent upgrade of the Apple iBooks application, the material will also be viewable on the Mac for those who do not own an iPad.  This is an upgrade that was released only a few days ago.  

Let me hear your suggestions, ideas, and want-list for learning years worth of my experiences and teaching, in a several hours of various subjects that will be available in a choice of segments.  I think that’s called ‘a la carte’ in the restaurant.  If you’re not at McDonalds.




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