The Crucible Engraving Tool is a simple, easy-to-use tool that allows you to slice straight and curved decorative lines on almost any wooden surface. The Engraving Tool was designed to create geometric patterns found on old Scandinavian and Eastern European furniture. But we found it also is excellent at carving modern geometric patterns – even animal shapes.
The Engraving Tool consists of two pieces: a handle and a replaceable cutter (we include two cutters with the handle). The handle can be held like a pencil and used against a straightedge to engrave shallow lines (about 1/16” deep) in hardwoods or softwoods. The handle can also be installed into any compass that holds a pencil (more on that below). Used with a compass, the cutter creates clean arcs. You can also install the handle in a trammel to make large arcs.
The aluminum handle has a special round collet at its tip that holds the pear-shaped cutter. The high-carbon steel cutters are easy to sharpen and keep polished with simple tools (sandpaper, honing compound). The two included cutters should last more than a lifetime. (Full instructions for sharpening and using the tool are included.)
The Crucible Engraving Tool was developed during Christopher Schwarz’s research for “The American Peasant.” The book (coming in early 2024) is an introduction to European peasant furniture and the decorative protective spells engraved on the furniture pieces. The original spells were made with a pair of tools. One tool was a wing compass where one of its legs had a rounded cutter (instead of a metal point or a pencil point) to engrave curved arcs. The other tool was a knife handle with a cutter (like a hoof knife) to engrave straight lines.
The Crucible Engraving Tool does both operations – curved and straight cuts – because it can be installed in a compass. The only requirements for the compass are it can accept a standard pencil (about 0.295” in diameter) and that you can lock its legs in place. The cutting action requires the legs be locked – a compass that uses only friction won’t hold its setting while cutting.
Download the instruction sheet for the tool here.