John Jānis Šteins

:: Artist ::

Engraving letters of the alphabet

Engraving letters of the alphabet on the end grain block presents itself as a challenge for the engraver. If the goal requires a faithful rendering of the letter shapes and curves, then very careful planning and cutting will get you there. Practice and more practice continues as a sound way to achieve mastery.

These are boxwood blocks that I engraved a long time ago for use as part of a letterhead design I was working on. Not perfect by any means but an example to look at for the engraver who wishes to engrave her/his own text.

End grain boxwood has the property of almost indestructible, tight annular rings. Some Thomas Bewick blocks from the 1700’s give perfect impressions to this day.

An ambitious engraver might decide to hand engrave a whole set of type to be used in a letterpress. Quite the challenge I would think. We only need to look to the mastery of engravers like Eric Gill and John Farleigh to see examples of lettering engraved in wood. The latter developed and designed the famous Gill sans font.

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  1. Kaiverrus November 3, 2009

    Very nice work!

  2. John Steins November 3, 2009 — Post author

    Thank you!

  3. Katie Smith April 7, 2011

    Good job in engraving letters in boxwood blocks. This is not an easy task I believe since I have tried to do it before but was unsuccessful. I think I need more practice.

    Katie Smith

  4. Rachel April 9, 2011

    It would be awesome for engraving monogram letters too. Nice work indeed!

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