What they do

Engraving is the practice of incising a design on to a hard, usually flat surface, by cutting grooves into it. The result may be a decorated object in itself, as when silver, gold, steel, or glass are engraved, or may provide an intaglio printing plate, of copper or another metal, for printing images on paper as prints or illustrations; also called engravings. Originally, there was only hand engraving, however modern technology has brought various mechanically assisted engraving systems. This includes pneumatic pistons that drive the point much like a jackhammer, which greatly reduces the effort needed in traditional hand engraving.

Working conditions

Engravers are employed by manufacturers, industrial and commercial engraving firms, jewellers and combined footwear repair/key cutting/engraving shops. Some engravers are self-employed, although the cost of establishing a business ican be high. Engraving firms tend to be small, usually employing two to ten staff members.

Tools and technologies

The type of equipment used by engravers is being improved with the introduction of computer technology. Tools include: etching needles; scrapers; burnishers; hammers; rules; callipers and compasses for measuring; countersinks and chamfering tools and electric and pneumatic engravers. An engraver may also use metal plates and etching needles to produce artistic and photographic prints.

How do I become one?

Education and training

It is possible to work as an engraver without any formal qualifications and get training on the job.