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Apr. 17th, 2010 @ 09:48 pm Seal engraving...
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I bought a starter kit for seal engraving/carving at the Tokyu Hands, along with two extra 'blanks'. With the set, you can carve a design in a piece of soapstone, to create your own seal. The soapstone is quite soft so it's possible to carve lines in it with a sharp and hard tool.
It's a lot of work, and the material is sometimes uneven -- you might hit an extra hard spot that your carving tool will 'slip' on, creating erratic lines. And because the material is so hard, you have to exert quite a bit of force to have even a chance to carve the stone -- so if your tool slips, you'll quite possibly do real damage to your design.

I'm not sure it's something I want to invest a lot of time in. Because the seals are small, it's precise work, and I think I could carve a stamp with the same designs and same effect much faster with a better effect...
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net zombie!
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From:merle_
Date:April 17th, 2010 09:12 pm (UTC)
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I found woodburning to be tricky to get even lines on due to the same "hit a hard spot" problem. Precision is difficult when friction is variable. For larger pieces it was not so bad (just hang them high up and far away), but small items were hard.
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From:ankie
Date:April 18th, 2010 01:50 pm (UTC)
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I think what professional carvers do is, as much as possible, plan around the hard spots and incorporate them in the design.

Also:
And because the material is so hard, you have to exert quite a bit of force to have even a chance to carve the stone -- so if your tool slips, you'll quite possibly do real damage to your design.

What about possibly cutting yourself ;) Do be careful please!

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From:fub
Date:April 19th, 2010 06:29 pm (UTC)
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Whereas I think that the professional carvers have higher quality blanks without the hardened spots in it. ;)

And yes, slipping with that tool would be rather disastrous. There are special clamps to hold the seals, but of course I didn't buy one of those. That element of danger adds to the thrill! ;P
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From:cissa
Date:April 21st, 2010 03:27 am (UTC)
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Be careful. I know engraving tools are famous for their ability to embed themselves into people's hands. :P

If you want a seal that's sturdier than linoleum, you can carve it in lino, use that to make a mold (room-temp vulcanization), use the mold to make a wax master 9and you can tweak it then), then get the wax cast in metal.
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From:fub
Date:April 21st, 2010 04:12 pm (UTC)
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If it's hard enough to carve stone, it's also hard enough to carve fingers and thumbs... I'm well aware of that, after an unfortunate incident with some of the knives I use for carving rubber stamps.

I'm not making a wax seal, but a Chinese seal -- the ones that you use with that red ink paste.
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