Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 2, Issue 4
March 2008
 
Featured Patents
 
 
 

Engraver's ballEngraver's Ball

A vise is loosely defined as two jaws that provide pressure to clamp or immobilize an object. The engraver's or jeweller's ball is a unique vise that was used in a specialized trade. Sometimes called a block, it was used by metalsmiths and jewellers to hold small, irregular-shaped objects firmly by means of accessory pins and fixtures that fitted into the moveable jaws. Sadly, this collector's example is missing these items.

Engraving is the art of incising a pattern into a backing medium. Early books and pictures were printed using wooden blocks that were engraved in the same manner as was used much later to decorate items made of precious metals—using a basic burin or graver. The design of this tool has been somewhat static; its current appearance is much the same as it was 200 years ago. However, advances in holding aids used specifically by these tradespeople were especially productive in the latter part of the 19th century. To some extent, the engraver's ball replaced the pitch bowl and other restraint systems used when engraving fine items, although the pitch and bowl method continues in repoussé and chasing work.

 
     
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