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Old 05-11-2017, 11:07 AM
gkenney gkenney is offline
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 3
Default Attempting Bulino (Dot) Engraving

Hi Everyone,

I make folding knives and I'm teaching myself to engrave. I've just finished a piece for my sister-in-law which was taken from a photo of her with her girls. My image didn't come out as beautifully crisp and clear as the ones posted by so many of you. The fine detail such as fingernails, teeth, and eye lashes are muted but it's a dot engraving.

I'm providing the image to show I'm serious about this craft and I'm putting in the effort. While this engraving is great for free it pales considerably next to the beautiful work done by so many of you.

The engraving is on a piece of 304 stainless 3" x 3-3/4" x .165". The frame is red oak, the engraving is inset using a router (kinda rough). This took two tries to get something acceptable, eyes not crossed or wall-eyed, and the mouths having smiles not snarls.

I learned so much doing this. With regard to the task before me, this must be what a free climber feels like while staring at the face of El Capitan; excited but awed.

I learned about tool sharpening, graver holding, shading, exercising patience. Thousands upon thousands of tiny "pick and flicks". At the pace I'm doing the engraving I would starve but fortunately I have a day job!!

Anyway, feel free to comment. There's no inflated ego here; I know the difference between , "Ahhhh" and "oooh". When I feel confident enough to put and eagle or an otter on the scale of one of my knives you'll be one of the first to know.

These images don't seem to be appearing in the post so I'm including the URLs :



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Old 05-11-2017, 03:07 PM
Steve Lindsay's Avatar
Steve Lindsay Steve Lindsay is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Kearney, NE
Posts: 4,108
Default Re: Attempting Bulino (Dot) Engraving

I'd say you're doing great! I know there is a long process making that many dots! Only thing I see is if they could have more contrast. Are you using ink in them? That may help with contrast.

Steve Lindsay
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Old 05-11-2017, 05:32 PM
gkenney gkenney is offline
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 3
Default Re: Attempting Bulino (Dot) Engraving

Thank you Steve.

Unfortunately, that is with printer's ink applied. I'm using an oil based product called Speedball, Black Printing Ink, from Blick. I tried to find the stuff you recommended but was unsuccessful. This stuff has the consistency of hair gel or perhaps toothpaste.

I'm rubbing it on then using newspaper to wipe it off almost immediately. I'm finding some of it comes off while other areas stay. It is leaving a somewhat splotchy appearance. The woman's pants, from the viewer's right side, is an example of what I'm experiencing.

At first I thought this was because the dots weren't deep enough but then it is sticking in shallower areas. That seems to leave three options, wrong ink, metal preparation before applying the ink (which I've done none) or my dot producing technique is questionable (or a combination of the above).

I do appreciate your taking the time to say something. I can't expect to supplant decades of engraving experience with diligent effort over the short term . . . and I don't. I'm learning rapidly but there are so many subtleties to master which, for me, is a good thing.
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