View Full Version : engraving 316 Stainless Steel

07-14-2010, 07:20 PM
Being a learner, I'd like to know if anyone can point me in the right direction for a material that is similar in hardness as 316 stainless steel for me to practice on.

This is the material that I'll be working on once I become proficient enough to engrave the bolsters on knives that my husband will be making.

Besides becoming better at engraving, I think that it would help to work on the material that I will be engraving on.


Damien Connolly
07-15-2010, 08:26 AM
Hi Renee....316 shouldn't be hard to get. Stainless is a bit unique to cut, and you would find it different to any substitute you may use. If you're using an air graver then this difference won't be as pronounced, as the dragging toughness of stainless will be overcome by the tool to a large extent. Your tool sharpening will be different however, as may your choice of tool material. Incidentaly, I've mostly used 416 for knife bolsters as it is a better colour match for 400 series type tool steels in the blades. Any knifemaker or steel supplier will be able to help though.


07-15-2010, 08:44 AM
I'd take Damien's implied suggestion and get your husband to switch to the more engraver-friendly 416 for his bolsters.

But until then, does he have any extra / scrap pieces? I know these days we tend to use thin plates and keep them around but I've read several times that the old way was to start with a thick plate, engrave until it was full, grind it back smooth, and repeat until you worked it down to a thin plate. I believe the theory was that it would take about that long to have something worth keeping.

07-15-2010, 05:26 PM
Thanks for the information. It is a he said, she said thing going on. Just spoke with hubby and he said he will be using 416 and not 316 stainless for the bolsters. He also told me where I get pieces of it to practice work on. I'll be stopping by there tomorrow on my way to our boat to see if I can pick up some "drops" at a reasonable price.

Daniel Houwer
07-15-2010, 05:31 PM
Hi Renee,
I engraved some stainless of wich I only know that the stainless pc handle of Steve Lindsay should be 330.
I use the templates and use the m42 gravers with a spacer of 19mm to get the angle strong enough to hold longer in this stainless. You also might considder to dubb the pont to keep engraving more that sharpening.
Hope this helps.


07-18-2010, 01:46 PM
Hi Renee,

I'm new at posting here but not real new to metalworking. I just thought I'd pass along a link to a very popular online store that I've purchased from before and was pleased with their service & selection.

You can purchase a strip of 1/8" thick x 3" wide 316 stainless sheet and it's not too terribly expensive.


You can look around the site and once you figure out how to navigate, you can select different alloys in steel, copper, brass, aluminum, etc...

You could even order 12" x 12" sheet and specify that you want it cut up and they'll chop it up for you (for a small fee) into convenient practice plates.

Hope it helps!

Andy :cheers2[1]: