What Are Engraving Cutters?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2019
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Engraving cutters are specialized bits for use in engraving. They fit into a motorized engraver or hand tool to allow the engraver to control the type, size, and depth of cut. Numerous companies manufacture them along with accessories like protective cases and other engraving equipment. They can be purchased through supplier catalogs and some hardware stores. It may be possible to special order products for particular uses.

Engravers maintain a library of engraving cutters for different tasks. Numerous materials, including glass, wood, metal, and stone, are engraveable, and can require different kinds of cutting heads. Cutters are sharp, with a single cutting edge for high control, and they are also very strong. Many are made with materials like carbide and industrial diamond to cut through material smoothly without chipping or cracking. Proper storage should maintain their quality so they will be usable on a variety of projects.

Two basic shapes of engraving cutters are available on the market. Some have a conical shape that creates a distinctive V-shaped cut in the material. Others are parallel and create a cut with straight, even sides. They can be divided further into full and half rounds, depending on the shape at the tip of the bit. The design determines the appearance of the cut, while the size can vary to allow for wide or narrow cuts.


While in training to become an engraver, people learn about the different styles of cut and engraving techniques. This helps them select the most appropriate tools for their needs. Engraving cutters can be used for very fine detail work as well as larger, block-type lines. When not in use, the cutter can be mounted in a rack or case to protect the cutting head. It is important to maintain sharpness, as dull cutters can damage the material and may fail to cut properly.

Some companies sell engraving cutters in kits, with an assortment of commonly used bits in one package. This can be a good deal for a beginning engraver who needs to establish a tool collection. It is advisable to review the contents of the kit carefully and to check for quality. Some companies may use lesser materials in their kits to bring the overall price down, and this could cause frustration later. Used bits are often available for sale and can be another option for an engraver who wants to save money while building up a tool set.


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