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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 31, July 30, 2006, Article 23

KENNETH DOUGLAS ON THE HAND-MADE STRUCK MEDAL

The following are two short excerpts from Ken Douglas' paper, "The
Hand-Made Struck Medal".  The first portion is about transferring
the design to the die, and the second is about starting to engrave
the design into the die.

"When I transfer the design to the die-block I first make a pattern
in clear plastic in 2D by engraving in all lettering and the design
which have all been reduced to outline form and reversed.  The die
must be in reverse for the medal to read normally. I use a 2D
pantograph to cut the design on the block.  I can set the machine
to the ratio I need to fit the working surface of the block.  The
lettering is finished this way but the 3D part of the die is modeled
by hand.

The method I would suggest is something I picked up years ago when
I visited H. Alvin Sharp.  He was a self- taught engraver in New
Orleans back in the 60's and early 70's.  What he did was sensitize
his block with photographic emulsion, make a contact print from his
drawing to fit the block, and burn it in.  This could also be done
by applying machinist’s layout dye to the block and just tracing or
drawing the design on the block with a scribe (sharp point)."

"Once the outline is established, I start with the largest burr to
rough out and proceed to the smaller burrs for the detail. Being
right-handed I hold the chuck in my right hand but I hold the die
in my left on a flat surface.  I use my left thumb-nail as a block
to keep the burr from skating and as a control.  Keep the burrs
moving so that they will not dig a hole and use it to “scrape” the
metal off the surface.  A 8/0 is good for lines and making the work
sharp by drawing it toward you.  After this burr wears out I make a
three cornered cutting tool out of it with a cut off wheel.  I can
use this for very fine lines such as hair or use the side to flatten
an area.  I use red-mounted stones for making sure smooth areas are
as smooth as they should  be.

A little modeling clay is good for checking your work after the
die is dusted with talc."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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