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What is Hand Engraving?
Engraving Forum

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Most professional engraving artists could probably engrave with any tool and turn out nice work given enough time, however tools with improved design help make the hand engraving process easier and quicker.  The AirGraver is the most advanced system for intuitive ease of use for the professional or beginning engraver.  To discover the difference, enroll, support and learn engraving from hand engraving centers and schools where all equipment on the market is made available for students to work with.  The staff and instructors of these schools are not paid to sell equipment and therefore are unbiased. They are willing to allow students to decide for themselves what works best for them.

Engraving Artist Steve Lindsay originally designed and made the AirGraver tool for himself because of a need to increase his engraving speed and yet maintain the quality of his work.  This is not say that any work should be rushed through.  In delicate areas, more deliberate work will need to be done, but there are also some parts of a project where, with confidence, faster work can be done. The amount of time it takes me to engrave a project is foremost and the speed at which the AirGraver can physically cut through metal when needed is at least three times that of the spring blow-pulse design tool Steve Lindsay used  20 years.  That earlier designed tool was designed by Steve's father, Frank Lindsay (a watch maker, jeweler and gemologist) in 1979.  The spring blow pulse design can still be found on the market.  The improved system is called an AirGraver.  Perhaps it should not be labeled a system because the tool itself is the entire system. The box that used to be upon the bench creating pulses of air for the earlier machine is not needed with the new AirGraver design. 

The AirGraver is also unique in that the speed and power increase proportionately.  This allows the benefit of increased speed to move a graver point through a cut when desired.  The older blow pulse design tool would only increase in power and not speed. The operator had to reach up to a separate box to change the speed. The end result of the AirGraver is very transparent throttle response. You can start and finish engraving jobs more quickly and the quality of the engraving is much improved. 

PalmControl AirGraver

The Lindsay PalmControl can increase the speed of learning compared to foot pedal engraving. This is because the PalmControl is intuitive and natural in the sense that what is done with your hand is what you get.  There is no need to learn to coordinate continual foot movement to every hand movement. 

Left: Cut away of a picture of the patented PalmControl

Other AirGraver features which have increased the ease of hand engraving

Length of stroke adjustment

The Classic AirGraver™ includes a ring or barrel around the outside of the tool that works in a manner similar to the focusing ring on a camera lens. The ring is used to simultaneously adjust the impact speed and power of the tool. Either the PalmControl™ or a foot control pedal is used to vary the air pressure power within each setting range. This mechanism makes one AirGraver handpiece as versatile as a variety of different-sized impacting gravers.


The patented idle of the AirGraver design prevents jumps that sometimes occur with spring-pulse designs. 

Right: Idle adjustment thumb screw shown on the PalmControl.

Replaceable Bore and Tungsten Piston

The AirGraver bore is removable. The bore's outside diameter also provides an extra chamber that allows the piston to give more of a dead-blow impact effect. Additional power is attained, if needed, with a tungsten piston. The weight of tungsten metal is approximately 2.5 times that of steel which means more power in the same sized package. A patent has been applied for, for this development. To change pistons, the handle is snapped off of the hand piece, the stainless piston dropped out and replaced with the tungsten piston. This feature as well as the previously patented adjustable stroke length gives a vast amount of versatility.

Snap on handle

The PalmControl handles snap off with only 1/4 of a turn.  It is an easy and quick way for engravers to interchange a tungsten and stainless piston. 



Additional information about Steve Lindsay Pneumatic Hand Gravers can be found at