View Full Version : Nickel Engraving

Steve Lindsay
11-27-2006, 04:56 PM
Steve Ellsworth emailed his latest nickel engraving/sculpturing. I asked him how much, I want to buy it but he says it isn't good enough. I don't see anything wrong with it!



http://www.engravingschool.com/forum-pics/Steve-E1.Jpg[URL="http://www.engravingschool.com/forum-pics/Steve-E1.Jpg"] (http://www.engravingschool.com/forum-pics/Steve-E3.jpg)

11-27-2006, 05:03 PM
i,ve been carving hobo nickels over ten years and to me it looks superrr nice..

Steve Ellsworth
11-27-2006, 07:28 PM
Thanks for the kind words.
Having two masters around to cheer you on is a good thing.

This coin was quite a project. All freehand.

Couldn't have done it without Steve's Airgraver. It lends itself extreamely well to the tiny work. This one was carved and engraved. 90 v, 1 flat @ .5mm 1 flat 2mm and one Knife graver about 1/4" wide. Inlay with a pair of surgical tweezers and a bead punch. Hand powered dental diamonds and a custom 8 flute stipple tool for the finish work. Initial shaping was at 50lbs then down to 5lbs of air pressure with the stroke running short and very fast. (Joys of the Airgraver!)

In a lot of areas where there wasn't room to get a diamond in I just let Airgraver idle and let the graver with a little downward pressure burnish the finish. Other areas burnished with Lowel Corning hard bronze burnishers and piano wire burnishers for the concave curves.

Seems like this is an image that people really like so I will pursue the French Marriane's for a little while and do a variety ofthem. Maybe on some steel in the near future.

My phone keeps ringing from the collectors. Everyone wants this one but I don't know if I want to part with her for a while.

Special thanks to Bill for introducing me to this wonderful pastime of coin cutting and Steve for making the coolest tools on the planet.

11-27-2006, 07:40 PM
Is very beautiful, I dont know anything about collecting Hobo Nickles, but that seems very ellegent to me... very nice. Jim

Steve Ellsworth
11-27-2006, 09:34 PM
Yes they have a facination. While many carvers collect coins I do not. I simply carve them for the one thing i like to collect. $'s.

As you get into engraving you will eventually figure out something that you are really good at and begin to hone your skills in that direction.

I began carving Ivory in the 70's. I got the Clasic to do Ivory but fell into the nickel world not too long ago. It's fun challenging and I am pretty much assured that what ever I do is snapped up by someone somewhere. I do engrave, not the traditional things. I like to look for niche areas that are wide open rather than do what everyone else does. That in itself is hard to do. As often you have to create your own market.

I imagine in Pueblo you will be able to do quite well. Take some of your work down to the railroad tracks and visit will all the Indian jewlers who hang out there. You will get some business. Lots of tourist sales going on there. Stores there are good too. Nice town and lots going on further south and west. You don't have much competition if any to worry about there so hurry up and get good.

11-28-2006, 05:56 AM
:cheers2: I sure understand the collecting $$ part... sounds like you know Pueblo better than I do. Am not familliar with jewelers down by the tracks... but will ask about em, Thanks for the tip. I hope to focus on Firearms, and knives... Love the idea of being the ole fella with the Fabbri on the bench. Cant wait to show you guys what I'm working on... I havent started taking commissions yet... dont want to put anything underpar out there, seems like the ole saying "dont bring a knife to a gun fight" applies in this field as much or more than any other. Thanks again for the tip, Jim

Steve Ellsworth
11-28-2006, 08:11 AM
When the trains are running they make a stop there and lots of people line the tracks selling jewelery to the people who get off the train to stretch their legs. Any of these folks would be a good candidate for jewelery engraving services.

Steve Lindsay
11-28-2006, 10:15 AM
Steve, What is the history of the design? It is a variation to the old silver dimes, but you mentioned she was used before that too.

Andrew Biggs
11-28-2006, 11:51 AM
That is a stunning coin Steve. 20 out of 10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Andrew Biggs

Steve Ellsworth
11-28-2006, 12:41 PM
She was a French Republic Hero - National Symbol of France.
I am not up on the history that much. I haven't explored the history of the relationship to the Liberty Dime but it is definately there in some respect.

The Goddess Liberty and Marriane hold similar status in the minds of the peoples. I think the French have done a much better job of depicting the concept. The American coin design in my humble opinion is rather clunky looking although very popular but it's not as sexy as what the French had done. Of course that could have been a limitation of the coin process and the engravers skills and who knows what other restrictions imposed upon reproducing the female form during that time period in our country.

Taking into consideration the time period of the creation and presentation of the Statue of Liberty 1876 and it's origin (France) one would have to come to the conclusion that Marriane has been with us a long time. Standing in the harbor.

In 1916, a new Dime design was introduced to replace the old Barber design that had been in use since 1892. Designed by A.A. Weinman, the new design featured a portrait of Liberty facing left, wearing a winged cap. Because of the resemblance to the Roman god, Mercury, the coin became known popularly as the "Mercury Head" Dime. The reverse blends a Roman fasces (ax surrounded by a tied bundle of sticks) and an olive branch, indicating America's military readiness but also their desire for peace. The Mercury Head Dime series is one of the most popular in all of American numismatics. Considering Mercury was a boy, and the scupture was of a woman, well who knows.

11-28-2006, 04:04 PM
Wow the Nickel looks wonderful!

If I may ask a few questions please ..
I don’t mean this in a bad way im just looking for ways of making money $ so this is more general and not focused on any one or any thing ( some people take it wrong when I ask questions about $$)

How long does a normal Nickel take to put a head ( design) on ?
Your Nickel is wonderfull one of similar quality or “look” how much $ would one sell for ?
How do you find buyers for the Nickels ?

Thank you for your time

Steve Ellsworth
11-28-2006, 04:26 PM
Time: All depends on the artist and the tools and the complexity of the design how fast you are, how many things you do right and not get into some design bind which turns into a nightmare. Some guys whip out coins in an hour, some you can mess with for days. It depends where you draw the line on time spent.

$: depends on the quality of the coin, date full horn etc. Design is a major factor. It's a crap shoot. You can find yourself cutting on speculation or commission. There are images that everyone collects re hobos. Other esoteric things like I do sometimes are in favor, sometimes not. I guess the real expert here is Bill, he has been doing it for a lot longer than I have. I think his last quote was something like 50 to couple of thousand.

If you are good, the buyers will find you. The Hobo Nickel Society does a bit of promotion all free. They have auctions set up. It's quite a system of events.

Many of the buyers hang out on ebay do a search for hobo nickels
to learn about the art form and what is relevant go to www.hobonickels.org
find bill zach on this forum and pick his brain - there isnt anything he doesnt know about this.

Other coins are an option too.

Hope that helps

James Olivencia
11-28-2006, 05:04 PM

Danny C
12-11-2006, 01:43 PM
[QUOTE=Steve]Steve Ellsworth emailed his latest nickel engraving/sculpturing. I asked him how much, I want to buy it but he says it isn't good enough. I don't see anything wrong with it!

Do you think the "face shadow" is the problem. In the pics it is - Gives a full beard look - up to the eyes. Not good if its supposed to be a female!. I think some polishing to remove the face lines would do the trick. What do you think?

Steve Ellsworth
12-11-2006, 03:06 PM
You have to understand the humor involved.

I couldn't sell it to Steve because it's already spoken for.

All my works are either presold or go with in a couple of hours.

There are no lines on the face. What you are seeing is the reflections imposed by photographing a mirror surface coin through a scope camera.

Chrome / mirror silver doesn't have a "color" so it picks up the color of the scope lens which is black.

Since all my clients are coin collectors this rarely becomes an issue as they undestand the properties of the metal work and know my style but on occassion pics are shot in a tent to clarify or the coin can be dusted with baby powder to render the details without reflections.

Good teaching point. Glad you brought it up.

There will be more Marriane coins in the future and Steve will no doubt end up with one, just not this one.

12-29-2006, 04:13 PM
Very nice coin Steve.

I would like to ask a few questions before I start my 1st one.
Is there any rules to coin carving like leave the date or some part of the old face? Is it ok to totally face the coin?
What is used to sand the face? paper,sticks or stone?

Steve Ellsworth
12-29-2006, 05:28 PM
there are no rules except
leave the date and the liberty alone on the face side
back side is wide open if you have a low grade coin w/o full horn appearing on the buffalo
look on the hobonickel site to see examples
i would suggest you work on clunkers until you get the hang of it
it can get expensive cutting good nickels

what you use for a finish is all up to you and what you can squeeze in size wise. i use dental bits for my finish work
never found a sanding stick small enough or stones fine enough

re tools - whatever works

12-29-2006, 07:25 PM
after you carve a few coins you,ll find yourself making tools to carve coins..i,ve carving tools that i use that work fine for me, but not for the next person...one tool i,ve that i use on every carving is a cut down wooden popcycle stick..also as steve has mentioned, buy a few cheap buffalo nickels to practice on and don,t expect your first carvings to look good.. if you,ve been engraving for a while it,ll come easy.

Steve Ellsworth
12-29-2006, 10:03 PM
where is the easy part
i havent figured it out yet

12-29-2006, 10:17 PM
Thank you guys for the info.

Steve Ellsworth
12-30-2006, 10:58 AM
definately dont invest a lot of money in coins until you are sure you like and can do this

as easy as it may look, it's not.

it's not that i mean to disuade you from attempting to cut coins
i think you should give it a go

heck you might be the next star in the arena
dimensional sculpting is a talent which some have
others have to work on it to get it right and some never do
but there are varying degrees of sculpture which can be performed on the coins

i would stay rather shallow in depth at first simply because once you go deep as i do there is no turning back and you either turn out a good carving or it goes in the parking meter

staying shallow allows you to change design midstream if you are not happy withthe way things are turning out

pennies are a good thing to learn on as well as nickels of all years
the money will come based onthe coin, your abilities and reputation for turning out quality pieces and which way the wind is blowing.

be sure to check your vise when using good coins
i had to polish down my XXX vise as the table tops were not even and destroyed a couple of good coins before i knew it was happening

be ready to make some seriously small tools as you will find there is not much room to play on any coin - more so if you do inlay

24k gold inlay makes for a better sale but copper brass and precious stones work well too if they fit the scale and thedesign

you can always call me if you want to
i am around most of the time glued to the bench

just drop me an email

it wont be too long before i will have this thing set up to do voice
right now i have so many coins to cut i cant see daylight

have fun

Danny C
01-04-2007, 09:03 AM
Say, how about making another nickel just like this one, but photograph every single step of the way - then publish! Even if its a couple hundred pages long in word, you could sell it then send the WORD or PDF version. You could also copyright the "book" and have it published. Look how many people on this web site alone look for, or are suggested books to buy.

The number of tools used and the innovative way you use them would be quite valuable to those who don't have your skill.

Course you will be giving up your "secrets", but that's up to you.

I'd certainly buy it for a "buck" or two!

Steve Ellsworth
01-04-2007, 09:25 AM
I dont have any secrets. I just carve away everything on the nickel that doesn't look like the image in my head or in from of my eyes.

As far as techniques. I use my classic with flats and v gravers. !8k rotary pencils with diamond bits, diamond bits chucked into mechanical pencils and a fair bit of elbow grease. Sometimes a hammer and chisle and occasionally i just throw them across the room and stomp on them if things aren't going my way.

I suppose it would be fair to say this has already been done by Steve Adams and is on his site SGA sculpture. He is the best carver today and has a wealth of pretties to look at. He doesn't give away any of his secrets but he does go through the process. Other examples are on the hobo Nickel site.

I am in the process of doing something similar, having recently acquired a scope camera.

SL has been after me to do some tutorials for the website. So that may be in there along with other forays into non standard uses for the tools.

I doubt that I would ever sell any of this stuff. Preferring to just give it away. There are so many subjects to carve and not enough carvers to do the art form justice. Actually there is no reason to hide anything. Carving in itself is an individual art form, just like Steve's scrolls are different than everyone elses so to are my works in the coin realm. So while one may consider that there is competition it is only to see how much and what quality of an image can be pulled from a coin. It is virtually impossible for one person to copy anothers work. BEaaring in mind the artisitic bent and the variety of tools employed. Two people with the exact same setup will turn out entirely different pieces.

My style is prertty much off the wall freehand. That is to say I don't do alot of preplanning on my subjects. I just dive in and cut. Others make patterns of cut paper or transfer imagery to the coins in a fashion similar to traditional engraving. However it doesnt take long for that pattern to dissapear once the carving is underway.

I will try to get some pics in stages up for you all to look at but you will learn just as much by taking any old coin and start carving it. It's just like anything else. You develop a style without even knowing it. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesnt.

Now if you would like to contribute to my paypal account I will be happy to cut you a coin for study!!!!! Make sure that you deposit enough for 4 round trip tickets to costa rica.

More later
Have fun

01-04-2007, 12:43 PM
Like steve, i don,t always preplan my carvings..Sometimes i,ll even change the subject of the carving after i had already started on a certain subject..Sometime i,ll hang a picture of the subject on the wall in front of my work bench and carve the subject by looking at the picture and cutting it out on coin, let me add something here, i,m no artist, i can,t draw a person,s face with a pencil and paper, on a scale of 1 to 10 of drawing a subject with pencil on paper i,m a 0..So even if you,re not a artist you can still carve coins, but being an artist i,m sure would make carving coins easier..here is a carving i did last week of " Ollie " ..i didn,t have the least ideal what the finished carving would be, because i didn,t have a subject in mind when i started Ollie..I,ve still have one of the first coins i carved when i started carving 10 years ago, it looks like someone took a hammer and beat on a coin with a wood chisel, it looked terrible..This is not to say your first carved coin won,t be nice and detailed, but probably not..[ps] like steve has already mentioned, everybody will develop their own style of carving coins..

Steve Lindsay
01-04-2007, 10:01 PM
I like that coin Bill. Looks like a chubby hobo cute kid. :)

Steve Ellsworth
01-05-2007, 12:57 AM
That is not to say that you cant do well with a hammer and a chisel although the first two i did that way the other day were really hard to accomplish.

My brand x vise simply did not hold up to the impact of knocking a coin around with a hammer and punches. It really took a lot of force to make a dent in th darn things. Leads me to believe a few things about the art.

The hobo's who allegedly did these things in the old days were owners of very lare vise's and some serious tools. The rumor is that the carvers were not so much hobo's as they were engravers short on work. I read that somewhere and I am inclined to think it's true. Trying to carve one of these nickels hand holding it aound a campfire with a rock and a piece of steel or a pocket knife seems to me to be pure crap. I know American's are imaginative workers but to pull coin carving off with the finessse I see in some of these old coins just would require a jeweler bench.

Now while Bill makes it sound and look easy you have to consider how many of these puppies he has cut. He also has a reputation of being the top field dresser on the planet. Once you change that curvature on the background of the coin you are in for some real challenging work to make it look smooth and pretty. Concept being we are trying to make a coin out of a nickel that approaches a pattern dollar - in other words a minted, one off coin, not a carved one. Old nickels in good shape are harder to come by each day so making mistakes and depleting the supply is becoming an issue. Not to metion the cost of hunting them down.

The new releases of buffalo nickels are proving to be a viable candidates in the market. There is a lot of metal to work with and they are not hardened by age. They are much more affordable to work on and open the way to theme cutting with the large field area.

A good scribe comes in handy to do a rough outline of the work intended but after that it's all up to carving skill.

The hardest thing to keep track of is the relationship of the planes. Because the metal is so shiney when you work it it's very easy to get turned around spacially and have one area that is normal and another that is die cut or reversed. I have managed to do that in the past. It's really surprising to see the results of a combination positve and negative carving on a coin. Some of the master in the medalist society have incorporated that technique in their works. But they work on a much larger scale and have more room to work. A nickel is not so forgiving.

This years project will be to do some die cut coins just to see if i can pull it off. To my knowledge no one has ever tried to do it that way.

Dave London
01-05-2007, 02:02 PM
Steve E
Funny that you mentioned the medal makers. We stoped at the Gateway Arch in St louis on the way home and part of the displays was a antimated engraver with the work bench and tools telling how he had learned the trade from his father etc and how he made peace medals to give to the indians They had a bunch of medals on display also amazing work Pretty neat display

Steve Ellsworth
01-05-2007, 02:21 PM
the medalist's are an interesting collective of artists
i have recentlty been invited to join the society
and have my work shown in museums around the world

maybe then i can make minimum wage!

01-05-2007, 06:48 PM
This years project will be to do some die cut coins just to see if i can pull it off. To my knowledge no one has ever tried to do it that way.

I've been lurking for a couple of months and this is something that I know a little about. I quit engraving more than 15 years ago due to a series of traumatic events. I found Steve's website and it got me all fired up again. Anyway I work at an emblematic jewelry company as a die sinker. If you want I can cut a border and the lettering for you and you can sink it. Send it back to me and I'll harden it for you. If you do an obverse and reverse it would need to be a pinned die set. We have around 10 different presses...OBI, hydraulic, auto-drop hammer etc. Also have the trim tooling for many different shapes.

Cutting in reverse is a little difficult at first. I use kids Silly Putty to take impressions as work progresses. Sometimes I take lead proofs, oxidize them and wipe it with veryfine steel wool to see the details. I think that I am just down I25 about 60 miles from you.

I rummaged around to find some examples today from the 6,000 plus dies I have sunk. Mostly I do 2D stuff on a rather large Gorton pantograph but I do get to do some sculpting every now and then using my moderate skills.

01-05-2007, 06:56 PM
Hmm, I was going to upload some more pictures but I have a limit. I tried the Photo Bucket thing and it didn't work.

Steve Ellsworth
01-05-2007, 07:06 PM
Wow it's a small world isnt it and so glad to hear you got fired up again.
Dave London lives in the springs. I am just off linclon and 25 if you know where that is.
I am very impressed with what you are doing, you are light years ahead of me.
more later...

Dave London
01-05-2007, 08:26 PM
Hi Kent
Great looking work, welcome to the forum. Getting a lot of engravers here on the front range.:cheers2:

Steve Ellsworth
01-06-2007, 09:32 AM
photobucket should work pretty smoothly
once you get the account set up and the pics uploaded to the bucket it will give you a selection of link styles
you just copy and paste the links into the forum message

Steve Ellsworth
01-06-2007, 09:47 AM
what i was referring to attempting was to die cut the image on the actual coin rather than make a die cut for coin pressing. i have noticed that when cutting a coin, if the lighting is just right - a die cut has the appearance of being a positive image though the scope. Suppose it's king of like carving holographically if there is such a term for this. I have considered taking the impressions with puttty to check the image - this method seems to be popular in crest work. With my style there might be too many undercuts in the coin to get the putty back out in one piece.

i dont know if the complexity of doing it this way would be profitable or not. It certainly would result in an interesting coin. But I can see where I would have to come up with some different types of tools to get in and do the relief.

This company you work for sounds pretty interesting - do they have a web site. Are you set up for the medal process in the larger sizes.

BYW feel free to stop in and get fired up playing with the Classic. I would love to pick your brain.

01-06-2007, 12:23 PM
I would love to be able to meet and talk with you guys. I feel like I am trying to catch up on 15 years worth of tech and info. When I quit all I had was James Meeks book. Now it's like the national archives have been opened up for me.

Steve, If you want to put nickels in the die the pressing will flatten the reverse. The forcer of the press is usually just smooth flat tool steel. If the die is deeper than the original coin it will come out thinner as the metal is pushed to fill the die. There is some fluid dynamics of moving metal to fill dies. I was thinking of an obverse and reverse dies dowel pinned together with drill rod. Put your nickel in and get both sides done at the same time. A newer nickel is .074" thick so you should be able to cut each side to around .018"-.020" and have plenty of metal left over to fill out the dies completely. There will also be a little flashing of metal squirted out between the two dies and that's where the trim tooling comes in. A nickel is ~.836" and we should have tooling close to that. It would be unique. I did 127 parts in 6 minutes on the auto drop hammer to test out the new belt I installed. The cost of stamp and trim would probably be very little with no finsihing involved using your dies. Another thing there needs to be a certail amount of draft angle in order for the die to release the part. Around 10* is good.

I think that we have a web page and I'll look. We have 2" O1, 2 1/2" O1 and A2, 3" O1 and A2...maybe some S7 and 4" O1 and A2.

Ha, picking my brain. I think that there are four cells left and you can have one of them:lol:

Steve Ellsworth
01-06-2007, 12:36 PM
then it is a done deal
we will meet
not much to worry about with regards to advancement in technology
Steve has taken care of that
what remains is to simply have fun and enjoy what the tools enable one to do and to express one's creativity in whatever medium trip's one's trigger.

I will be more than happy to let you spend time playing with my gadgets
just let me know when you would like to come up
i am here 99.9 percent of the time.

I bet with very little effort you could talk Dave and I into showing up down there to see what you do too. It's facinating.

SL hasa coin press - but having managed a few large production facilities and seeing what people did to their hands with such monsters I have always shied away from things that go SMASH.

Pic's are great. The minature work you are showing is really a challenge to achieve and it appears that you have mastered it completely.

01-06-2007, 04:38 PM
I did decide to go into debt and get a foot control air graver and sent Steve a Bank check this past Thursday. After reading the feedback I was sold on his engineering. I keep getting these checks in the mail and I keep tearing them up except the last one. I really can't wait as I have used some GRS tools in the past and I had issues with them.

Yes I saw the pictures of Steve L.'s coining press that he restored...beautiful press. Press work can be hazardous. The press people don't use the large drop hammer as it is too scarey. I love that machine and running it is exhilarating...it's so violent.

I don't mean to hack this thread but here are a few pics of what I was doing a long time ago. They are digital pictures of 35mm prints. This is a practice plate. An old buttplate from a military rifle that I got for free at a gun shop. There are numerous problems with the scrollwork.
This is the air cleaner cover off of my old Harley Davidson Sportster.
This is a Browning single shot rifle that had gold borders and a gold prairie dog.
I was learning and I hope to catch up with that. I was not entirely happy with the engraving work just as I am not with the die work. Always trying to do better on the next one. Mostly it's little things that people never notice but I know it's there. I haven't mastered anything but I am able to stay employed.

If you and Dave want to take a tour of the workplace they do that quite often. I could probably take you through. Of course I don't find it very interesting as I do it every day...except for the sculpting which I find interesting.

I have a penny at work that Carl Mcdougal made a copy of an Indian head penny design. It is stamped over a Lincoln penny and the Indian head is embossed over the portrait of Lincoln. I'll have to try and find it for you.

Sorry for my long winded post.

Dave London
01-06-2007, 07:29 PM
Great looking work, you will love the air graver a work of art and tool all in one. If you want to try the palm control just let me know. I would also like to meet you and tour the work shop. Like Steve E I am retired and around most of the time. Home # 527-9858 Maybe when we get a break in the weather we can get together and have Steve come to the Springs.

Steve Ellsworth
01-06-2007, 07:51 PM
sounds good to me 303
H6998337 or C2508267
nice to hear you have a good tool now
if you need help with that lindsay gadget just holler
dont tear up checks - send them tome i'll help you spend them

John Barraclough
01-07-2007, 12:23 PM
Hello Kent.
I love your work, beautiful die making and engraving.
Glad to hear you have some of Carl McDougal's work.
I was lucky enough to spend many happy hours in his shop with Carl and his daughter Colleen.
Both of them were/are great medal, coin and die artists.
You will love your new AirGraver, a wonderful machine.
Best wishes, hope to meet you some day.

01-07-2007, 07:23 PM
Thank you guys. If the moderator wants to delete the engraving post that's OK as it doesn't fit in this thread.

Steve E., Dave maybe we should wait till spring time rather than plan something and have another blizzard.

John, I was sent out to Ojai to see what I could learn in a week. Carl graciously put up with me and both he and Coleen taught me a lot. I got to see the commemorative coin and dies that Coleen had made for the city of Ojai...excellent work. Unfortunately I was having fellow employee conflicts and left the company I was working for. I didn't get to use the information till ten years later. I do have a draft copy of the first 50 or so pages of the book he was writing. Don't know if he ever finished it or if he is still alive. Very nice people and very talented. I got quite a few stampings of his. I should try to contact him and let him know what he did for me.

I hope to meet a lot of you sometime.

John Barraclough
01-08-2007, 08:05 AM
Hello Kent
Sorry to report that Carl passed away over a year ago.
He was a world class talent and a wonderful, giving person.
Colleen still lives in Ojai and uses her artistic talent to do a weekly cartoon for the local newspaper.
She and I stay in touch and during her visits to my shop I have been nagging her to do some gun and knife engraving.
Hope the blizzards let up on you and my other Colorado friends soon.
Best wishes, John.

Danny C
01-08-2007, 09:30 AM
All you guys need to meet as soon as the next blizzard is on the horizon! That way you CAN'T go home and will just "have" to suffer with each others company! Just bring clothes, TOOLS, and a ready laugh.

Steve Ellsworth
01-08-2007, 11:51 AM
thats a scary thought

meeting might be better after the next blizzard which is due in friday

tried to get it sent to nebraska wher it belongs but no luck

kent - you ever considered cutting a nickel?

01-08-2007, 05:18 PM
Steve E.,
Yes I would like to try it at some point. It might take some extra thought sculpting convex instead of concave. I did find that penny of Carl Mcdougal's and I see what you mean trying to photograph coins. The feathers didn't fill out in the obverse but did on the reverse. Give you any ideas?
I heard that the next snow storm is supposed to be worse than the last one.

John B.,
I am so sorry to hear that Carl passed away. I should have let him know what an effect he did have on me. If you wouldn't mind giving me Coleen's email address in a PM I would like to send her one.

I have a lot more stuff to say about press and die work but I have muddied up this thread enough. I will start a new thread if you think that people would be interested. Have thoughts that gun, knife and jewelry engravers could use.

01-08-2007, 05:59 PM
Steve, i don,t think i would mind being snowbound out there with you and the others..Think of the coins we could carve if we were snowbound for a couple of weeks and we could also pick each other,s brain for tips and such..We would need a huge supply of pizza, pepsi and sweets..

01-08-2007, 06:31 PM
Hi all,
Thought I'd throw my $0.02 worth re photographing shiney objects. 1. You can spray it with hairspray for a quick fix. It will rinse off with warm water. or, 2. check out the 'cloud dome'. For a few bucks, this thing will make you look like a real photographer! I think it is www.clouddome.com. If not, just Google cloud dome, I am sure it will come up.
You all are posting wonderful stuff for a new kid on the block to enjoy. Thanks, hope I was helpful. Gail

01-09-2007, 07:08 PM
That's a nice device. I don't have any hair spray but that sounds like a better idea to me. I am using diopters, cranking and lowering the tripod, re-positioning the piece a lot. Seems like it would get to be a bother with the dome. Thank you for the suggestion.

Steve E.,
It finally hit me at work today what you were wanting to achieve. Just the concave cutting of a coin. I should't get so wound up, be slow to speak and quick to listen. I am sorry for not understanding and posting all of that die stuff. Maybe I am down to three brain cells instead of the four I thought I had.

Steve Ellsworth
01-09-2007, 07:33 PM
If you hadn't have posted allthat stuff about die cutting we wouldn't have know about your wonderful skills
so there is no fault in that
I would love to do some die cutting but i dont have the talent for it yet

maybe if i sniff some hairspray i can think inversly all the time!

Steve Ellsworth
01-09-2007, 07:37 PM
i use a tent of toilet paper wrapped around the vise or around the coin because my camera has to be less than 2" from the coin

less for the scope cam
borrowed a trioc today to play with and see if it works any differnt
then maybe tutorials

Steve Lindsay
01-09-2007, 09:36 PM
Thanks Gail for that link to the clouddome site! Looks like good stuff. I bookmarked it and will order that cloud dome they show with the extension collar. http://www.clouddome.com/specs/angledcollar.html

Steve Ellsworth
01-10-2007, 07:28 AM
Here are some very handy photo related gadgets and tricks for shooting the kind of stuff we do.

very cool toy


DIY lighting rigs

This is a cool little freeware program which allows you to stack images to achieve great depth of field in macro work - it works a lot like layers in photoshop but takes the confusion out. Good for those folks who have cameras which do not allow for Fstop settings and are plagued by limited range of focus. they also have some other nifty stuff.


This is about the best I have seen relative to coin photography http://www.sigma-2.com/camerajim/cjgcoins.htm?

Some really slick lighting techniques - would apply to any metal work, take a good look at the axial lighting setup there are also setups for jewelry flatware artwork - this link was on the Hobonickel Society Site.

01-12-2007, 05:09 PM
Thanks Steve for the axial lighting link. This is perfect. I wonder if thicker glass would change anything. Also two light sources and two plates of glass and bounced light...hmmm will have to experiment. Thanks again!

04-15-2007, 10:42 PM
i'm startin on my first nickel- please allow a super dumb question-- of the works i see posted showing the great hoboes, what sort of time average is required to produce these beautiful pieces? just lookin for a ballpark average.

Steve Ellsworth
04-16-2007, 07:44 AM
i can do a cut hammer punch hobo in about 10 minutes
to dress it up and make it beautiful and age it maybe a day
to do a Marriane or replicate a dimensionally complex coin couple of days

all depends on you and the tools you employ
talent speed if you make mistakes etc
if you have to stop work to swear at it that adds time
if you can work and cuss at the same time its alot faster

biggest time factor will be your tooling and confidence level