Sunday, 28 April 2013

Engravers Inc.

I feel terribly guilty. I had promised in my last entry that I would show you what sort of wax I use. I am not talking about the kind of wax that some of us ladies use in our very brave battle against rogue hair. Instead, setters wax was (ha, wax was!), so yes it was going to be analysed and debated. But that will not happen today. Indeed, what I want to let you know is...( drum rolls please!):

 that I have just become a member of the Hand Engravers Association of Great Britain!

Have a look at their site

I think that this association is trying to do something highly important. Hand engraving is slowly disappearing here in the UK( actually not that slowly come to think of it). We MUST do something to bring in new people into this highly skilled craft. If we don't, well frankly, we're doomed. ( I sound alarmist a bit. But shock tactics are said to work the most.)
 Reader, YOU could become an engraver. Yes, you could. Just have a look at the website I have  showed you. There is a section about engraving courses in London. Why not go there and have a go? And if in 20 years or so, you have become a notorious hand engraver, well please mention the big influence I had in you deciding to turn your life around. (and do send me 50% of your earnings. After all, you will be rich and famous because of me. Ok, that is a joke. I meant 40%.)

But seriously, I still wonder why it took me so long to become a member. Already the activities lined up for this year sound amazing. Like the opportunity to spend 3 days in Malcolm Appleby's presence. Yes, MALCOLM APPLEBY! He of the Raven Gun. How amazing is that?  
See this link all about the Raven Gun which you can see in the flesh at the Royal Armouries, in the Tower Of London.

So yes, I am looking forwards to taking advantages of the opportunities that the Association is creating for us. Like the paperweight project for example, where you can submit 2 engraved metal paperweights showcasing your abilities. I understand that at the moment, they are exhibited at the watchmakers museum in London. How utterly exciting!

So, I am going to leave you now, with some very wise words from the Association.

"The aim of the Association is to raise the profile of hand engraving amongst potential collectors, retailers and the public. We want to create greater awareness of the craft throughout the United Kingdom with exhibitions, articles in the general media and specialist press, and through our website".



PS: here is a bit of some engraving I am doing at the moment. I cannot tell you what it is. It is a secret.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Miami Vise

Yes, you guessed it, this entry is going to be about vises. Unfortunately for you Miami fans, the city will not be featured heavily. It actually won't be featured at all. I just fancied making a pun about vises. ( Technically, I don't even think that this could qualify as a pun. I'll check with my lawyer later on and see what he says.)

Without further ado, let me introduce you to my most beloved heavy piece of equipment.

Isn't it just perfect?  Bold, blue and sturdy. I have been working with this beast for more than a decade now. I am very proud to say that it is apparently one of the last Record vises that were built in Sheffield ( UK).
I would have never thought that I could become emotionally attached to a big lump of metal, but I have. We have been through a lot together. 
I will for ever remember taking a London cab with none other than my gravers, hammer and this extremely heavy vise  as I was making my way from the Eurostar to the first workshop I was going to work in. ( Rigby's rifle makers.) 

It is a numero 3 and has been modified to accommodate the needs of an engraver. ( More particularly a gun engraver.)

As you can see, part of it has been cut. This is simply so that it can swivel freely without getting permanently embedded into my chest. ( I must stress that this has nothing to do with the fact of me being a lady. A man would have the same problem if that part had not be shortened.)

The base of the vise has also been completely transformed. A big steely rod has been threaded into it so that it can rotate  360 degrees. That rod finds itself in a hole drilled in a solid piece of oak which is bolted onto my bench. The little pits you see in the wood are not caused by woodworms. It is just what we engravers do just after sharpening the graver. We puncture wood! 

I use lead jaws in order to prevent  whatever I am working on from being damaged or dented by the normal jaws of the vise. I know!  LEAD!!  How utterly dangerous. ( Fear not, I always dress the jaws with a cloth and wash my hands thoroughly in order to avoid saturnism galore. I am a very sensible lady.)

I must also add that many items I work on are not even held directly into the vise as they would simply be crushed by its force. They get the "wax" treatment. ( This will actually be part of my next blog entry so I shall not go into details about it now.)

Well, I think that this pretty much covers up everything I needed to say about my vise! 
I must go now, but first I would like to leave you with a picture of something I have just engraved and am really proud of. A 1mm high gold inlaid letter! Ta-Daaaa!

Till next time,


Monday, 15 April 2013

Under the thumb

I am rather new to the world of blogging and I am not sure about what its code of conduct is.
So I am going to make the rules up as I go.

Here goes:

1) I will ignore completely what is going on in the news, even if a major event has occurred. ( there is only one exception to this rule, which is the eminent threat of an asteroid crushing planet earth to smithereens. If that were to happen, I would reveal all the nitty gritty things about me because anyway, there would be no tomorrow.)

2) write at least 3 posts per week for a month.

3) I cannot think about anything else right now so I hereby present the COC's blog to the house.

As I said in my very first entry, I am an engraver. I can prove this. My body bears the mark of the trade. Don't believe me? Well, here is the proof! ( if you are easily upset turn away now as this is not a pretty sight.)

See? There is a big grove in the middle of my thumb where I hold the graver. Ouch! ( it does not hurt, but I like to pretend that it does.)

I also stand all day behind my vise. Yes, I am on my feet for hours. Scientists say standing rather than sitting will lengthen your life by 5.87 years. Hurray! 
Anyway, I bought a special mat that is especially made for us people who stand all day long. At first I was a bit sceptical. Now I am just in love with this mat. It is so comfortable, I am sure I could sleep standing like a horse on it all night.

So here is a picture of me behind the vise. Unfortunately, you cannot see my mat. And that is a shame.

    This picture was taken by a journalist who wrote an article about me a few years ago. Oh yes, I indeed was on sale on the shelves of WH SMITH. ( well, at least Fieldsports Magazine, which is the publication I appeared in, was.)

    And that concludes the second post of this blog. 


    PS: I had something else to add, but it has just escaped my mind. Wait, it's back! I would love it if you left a comment in the comment section. Comment away I say!

    Friday, 12 April 2013


    this is IT!

     This officially is the start of my blog. And yes, this is also officially the point where I wonder what I am supposed to do now. I don't mean in life. I mean in terms of bloggification.

    Maybe I should simply introduce myself. So here it goes:

    Name: Katia Filipovic

    Gender: Lady

    Occupation: Hand Engraver

    Location: Top Secret

    Other facts: no

    ( there are other facts. But as this is my first blog  attempt, I do not feel like revealing too much about me. I understand that I have to cultivate an air of mystery in order to make you a devoted follower of this blog. I promise that I shall reveal more soon. Like the fact that I hate emoticons.)

    Why am I writing this blog? Well, I would like to write about something that is a real passion of mine: hand engraving.
    You see, I am a hand engraver and I LOVE IT!!!!!! I love it so much, I had to capitalise it. I understand that bold letters are the equivalent of you shouting your words. Well, this is not a shout, this is a mighty  Manowar style amplification of my love for this wonderful art.

    Sorry, my flow has just been interrupted by Durer's engraving: Knight Death and the Devil.
    I have a photocopy of this in my workshop and I stare at it from time to time. You know when they say " you can discover something new in this picture every time you look at it". Well, this applies to this engraving. Look at it today. Then come back to it tomorrow. Then let me know if you were surprised by something unexpected. ( please don't be angry with me/sue me if it's not the case. Let's stay friends!)

    I  feel like I have reached the end of this first chapter. We need to part ways. But fear not, I shall return very soon with more. More engraving. And more of me.

    Signing off,