Awards & Engraving

2019 Custom Gift Annual

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A&E MID-MAY 2019 • 51 2 The next step is to align the vinyl over the surface to be etched, tape into position, remove the backing carrier sheet, and smooth into place working from one edge to limit the air bubbles underneath. 3 If you have chosen to hand cut the design, now is the time to either draw it on the vinyl, or position your artwork with carbon paper under- neath and trace. Remember to reverse the image and text so it is correct when viewing from the front. Cutting by hand is a little tricky. Slips and double cuts can leave scratches, but it does add a personal and satisfying touch to the finished piece. 4 Pre-cut stencils are wonderful. The precision and accuracy make this option a solid choice, especially if text is involved. Again, position care- fully, secure in place, remove the backing, and smooth down onto the surface to be etched. Remove the top film, a transfer sheet that holds the integrity of the cut design intact during application of the stencil, and weed. This is the process of removing the bits of stencil material to expose the glass to be etched. The finished look is that of a negative. Carefully mask all the edges and get your piece into the cabinet. 5 For optical crystal, I like to etch with silicon carbide 120 grit or finer, delivered at between 25 and 35 psi. A self-contained recovery unit with lights, an exhaust system, and a pres- surized delivery system is a distinct advantage. Etch with the nozzle at least 6 inches away until the desired depth is reached. The shadows created along the edges of the design are helpful to gauge the depth. CLEANING STEPS: 1 When I am satisfied with the etched depth, I drop my piece into a plastic container of warm water with a drop or two of dishwashing detergent and leave it for a short soak. All the residual abrasive and dust, along with the masking tape and often the resist, simply falls off. A good rinse and a clean soft cloth for drying and pol- ishing, and a treasure emerges. A&E IMAGES COURTESY WREN GEORGE

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