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Hand Engraving Glossary - by Roger Bleile -  Sponsored by Steve Lindsay  -  Leave Feedback

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American Engravers
The 21st Century

C. Roger Bleile

RAKE ANGLE - The grind angle of a gravers face as measured in degrees from a perpendicular. Most gravers use a face of from 45 to 65 degrees however they may be sharpened as steep as 90 degrees. Also known as the face angle.
RECEIVER – The part of a gun that takes the charge from the magazine and holds it until it is seated in the breech. Specifically the metal part of a gun that houses the breech action and firing mechanism: In revolvers and hinge frame or basculating shotguns and rifles, called the “frame”; in some types of autoloading pistols the terms “frame” and “receiver” are used synonymously. In engraved guns the receiver is the most significant portion to be engraved due to its greater mass as compared with the small parts or furniture.

Pictured is the engraved and inlayed receiver of a Winchester model 12 slide action shotgun.
RECOIL SHIELD – In a revolver it is the flange or hemispherical boss on the standing breech to prevent cartridges in the chambers or percussion caps from moving backward far enough to interfere with the rotation of the cylinder. A frequently engraved portion of a revolver’s frame.

RELEVOUR – A word Belgian engravers use to describe a type of chisel used for preparing a metal surface for inlay or overlay of precious metal.

Pictured is a diagram of a Roland Baptiste inlay tool which is a type of relevour.
RELIEF ENGRAVING – Cutting away of the background metal so that the designs or figures appear to project above the surface of the surrounding metal. High relief engraving has the background cut away deeper than medium relief and the foreground is usually sculpted. Bas-relief, also known as “low relief,” does not have the background cut away; the background is stippled or matted to give the illusion of relief. In art high relief is also known as alto relievo.

Shown here are pictures of a Parker shotgun engraved in high relief by Carl B. Bleile of Cincinnati.
RELIEVING FACETS – In the process of sharpening a square graver, relieving facets are ground on the underside to set the angle of the belly (or width of the graver such as 90, 116, or 123 degree) and provide clearance with the metal being engraved. All hand engravers do not grind in relieving facets on square gravers, as there are numerous approaches to sharpening gravers. Relieving facets are a feature of the Lindsay Uniform Parallel Point™ method of sharpening.

Pictured is a diagram of a graver sharpened with the Lindsay Patented Parallel Point with the relieving facets and heel indicated by arrows.
RENAISSANCE ORNAMENT – Of or being the style of architecture and decoration, based on classical models, that originated in Italy in the 15th century and continued throughout Europe up to the end of the 16th century. In gun engraving “Renaissance” is used to denote a florid style of scrollwork found in Roman architecture and is most commonly found on high-grade Belgian and Italian guns.

Pictured are two Belgian Browning shotguns engraved in "renaissance" scroll, a Browning High Power pistol engraved in Browning's "renaissance" pattern and an illustration of renaissance ornament.
REPOUSSÉ - Shaped or decorated with patterns in relief formed by hammering and pressing on the reverse side. Used especially in metal, repoussé is also used to mean the technique of hammering and pressing designs in relief.
RICCIOLO or RICCIOLI – Italian: Literally curl or curls. Used by Italian speaking engravers to mean scroll or scrolls as used by English speaking engravers.
RIFFLER – A small, fine file, made in various shapes, used to sculpt or model relief engravings or inlays.

RIMESSO IN ORO – Italian: Gold inlay.
ROCOCO – A style of art, especially architecture and decorative art, that originated in France in the early 18th century and is marked by elaborate ornamentation, as with a profusion of scrolls, foliage, and animal forms. Rococo ornamentation, particularly scrollwork, is used by hand engravers today primarily on 18th century style firearms and accouterments.
ROLAND BAPTISTE SHARPENING TEMPLATE – A sharpening template manufactured and distributed by Steve Lindsay Engraving & Tools of Kearney, Nebraska and designed by noted Belgian gun engraver Roland Baptiste. The Baptiste template provides consistent shaping and sharpening of a relevoir, which is a type of chisel used in the preparation of a metal surface for the inlay or overlay of precious metal. Point

Pictured are the Roland Baptiste templates and an illustration of the finished tool.
ROLLING MILL – A rolling mill is a machine for shaping metal by passing it between a pair of work rolls. For engravers, goldsmiths, and silversmiths mainly two types are used, a flat one (with two cylindrical rolls) for rolling sheet and one with grooved rolls for rolling octagonal wire. The rolls are made of hardened steel.

Pictured are two examples of manually operated rolling mills.
ROMAN LETTERING - Roman letters are composed of thick and thin lines terminated with small crosstrokes called serifs. The serifs lend unity to letters and blend the letters into easily read words. Roman typefaces are divided into two styles: old style and modern. The chief difference between old style and modern roman letters is the serifs. Old style roman letters have soft-rounded serifs, while the serifs on modern roman letters are heavier with clean-cut hairlines.

Roman lettering is one of the most common types of lettering executed by hand engravers, the others being Blackletter, Gothic, Old English, and script. Roman letters are characterized by thick uprights and the addition of serifs.

ROSE and SCROLL - This style of arms decoration consists of a combination of small English scroll and clusters of flowers (usually roses). The most common style of engraved decoration on British sporting guns, especially in the 19th and early 20th centuries. French: Anglaise a bouquet, German: Rosenbukett mit altenglischen Arabesken, Italian: Inglesina e bouquet di fiori.

Pictured are two typical examples of rose and scroll engraving on British made shotguns, a Graham and a Purdey.
ROSE ENGINE ORNAMENTAL ENGRAVING MACHINE – A type of geometric lathe used for engraving intricate patterns into metal. The Rose engine is especially used to create guilloche patterns as often found on antique watchcases. Read more about Rose engines and geometric lathes at this thread:

ROSENBOUKET – German: Rose and bouquet. German speaking engravers use Rosenbouket or Rosenbouket mit altenglischen Arabesken to describe what English speaking engravers call “rose & scroll.” In French it is known as Anglaise a bouquet and in Italian: Inglesina e bouquet di fiori.

Pictured is the floor plate of a shotgun by Johahn Springer of Vienna, Austria engraved in the style of Rosenbouket mit altenglischen Arabesken.
ROSETTE – A circular and symmetrical design used by engravers to decorate circular projections such as hinge pins, rivets, and screw heads.

ROTARY GRINDER – A power driven tool that uses a high speed rotating cutter or burr to grind away a solid object such as metal, wood, or glass.

Also known as a rotary tool, there are basically three types of rotary grinder. The most commonly known is the Dremel as manufactured by the Robert Bosch Tool corp. With the Dremel type rotary tool the cutter or burr is driven directly from the center shaft of an electric motor. This type operates at speeds up to 35,000 rpm. The Dremel style rotary grinder is rarely, if ever used by hand engravers.

The second type operates in conjunction with a flex shaft attached to an electric motor and is commonly known as a Fordom tool as made by Blackstone Industries, Inc. Jewelers for shaping, grinding and polishing commonly use this type. The flex shaft makes it possible to have a more powerful motor and a smaller hand piece than the Dremel. The Fordom tool has a maximum rpm of 16,000 and is rarely used in the hand engraving process.

The third type of rotary grinder is operated by air pressure and is very similar to the tool used by dentists to drill teeth. Pneumatic rotary grinders are powered by air pressure operating a turbine and can run at speeds as high as 400,000 rpm and as a result are capable of more precise work because they are more controllable and do not impart the torque of a motor. Some hand engravers use this type of rotary tool for background removal instead of the more traditional method of background removal with a graver.

ROUND GRAVER – A traditional style graver which when viewed from the face has a rounded tip. Round graver blanks are found in sizes numbered from #50 to #63.

Pictured is a traditional graver blank and the face profile of a round graver.
RUNNING INITIALS – Used to denote three interwoven letters located on a horizontal plane.
RUNNING WHEAT - A design used for borders, it resembles wheat chaff laid end-to-end. Also known as "wheat chaff."

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