Touch Mark | Forum

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UnderhillForge Curmudgeon
So I just got off the phone with Maria Honeck over at Honeck Engraving. I'm ordering a new stamp for general use here in the shop and also for students to mark their knives with. I've got to say, they are some wonder people over there. I'm sure that more than a handful of people already have their own stamps or other methods for marking their work, but for those of you who don't, I figure I'd write out a little bit on how to go about it. 


For me, the design part was easy and I'm not going to go into much detail in this post about designing a stamp. I personally used Inkscape (a freeware vector image creation application) to draw it out and simply saved it as a .EPS (encapsulated post script) file and emailed it over. Other formats work as well, such as DXF, AI (Adobe Illustrator) and even PNG. From what I understand they can also make them from a JPG file but keep in mind that a vector image file is scale-able and ready to use right away; if done correctly it won't need to be converted, traced or redrawn into a useful format which will take time and probably cost more money. One thing to keep in mind when designing your mark is how is it going to be used? Are you making large pieces where a 0.50" stamp will work fine, or are you planning on using it above the bevel or in the ricasso of a blade where 0.375" would work better? Personally I had questions as to how readable my stamp would be at 0.375" so I gave them a call for reassurance. Turns out, it'll work great for my particular mark. 


Other things to keep in mind are how are you going to use it? Are you going to use it in a c-frame jig like I do? Perhaps under a hydraulic or a fly press? Or just hold it with a pair of tongs? These are all things to think about. Also, are you using it hot or cold? It matters. On a cold stamp, the base of the raised image will need to be broader to give it more structure. Like the one posted below.



A stamp for hot marking doesn't need as much support for the raised image because the material to be struck will be softer. Like this image.



This particular stamp has been used very hard over the past 7 years or so and still shows very little sign of wear, but I don't do any cold stamping with it.


Honeck Engraving makes their stamps from A2 tool steel which is perfect for just about every steel stamping application. Their standard sizes go up to about 0.50" square, and then there's a few dollars more added on for sizes up from there. The length of their stamps is 3.5", however after talking with Maria on the phone I was able to upgrade to 5" which works great for me as I use a c-frame holder for my stamp that I made when I ordered my first touchmark from another company. Thankfully they could accommodate so I wont be making a second holder just for this stamp. 



Total cost, while it varies depending on the different variables you decide on, for my particular stamp was, all said and done for, slightly under $140. While that may not be practical when starting out, for someone like me who's been in the business for a few years, it was a great price for a tool that will practically last forever.


For more information on Honeck Engraving's offerings, send them an email at honeckengraving@gmail.com - at they moment, they don't have a website but may at some point in the near future and I'll try to update this post should it go live.


They've got a large order in the works right now so I'm told it may be 3 or 4 weeks until my stamp is ready, but I'm in the queue and once I have it here at the shop, I'll post an update with any thoughts I may have, a picture of the finished stamp and an example or two of its use. 


-J

The Forum post is edited by UnderhillForge Jan 29
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