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Hand Engraving Glossary - by Roger Bleile -  Sponsored by Steve Lindsay  -  Leave Feedback

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American Engravers
The 21st Century

C. Roger Bleile

TAILLE DOUCE – French: Banknote style engraving.
TENDRIL – A threadlike, leafless organ of climbing plants, often growing in spiral form. In ornamental engraving design, a tendril will be found as a flourish cut attached to scrolls and vines.

THERMO-LOC™ - Thermo-Loc™ is a special reusable polymer material that is rigid at room temperature yet becomes softly pliable when heated or warmed. Thermo-Loc was developed to hold irregularly shaped or fragile items including gun parts, knives, motorcycle parts, and wood carvings for engraving, carving, finishing and other handwork. In the soft, pliable condition, Thermo-Loc can be shaped around the item. When it cools to room temperature, Thermo-Loc is rigid enough to hold the work piece securely for a variety of operations. It is not an adhesive, it holds by closely fitting the work piece itself. Manufactured and distributed by GRS Corp. of Emporia, Kansas.
THISTLE MOTIF – A form of engraved ornamentation. Engraved thistles are common on Austrian sporting guns and occasionally found on Scottish arms.
THREADER – Another name for a liner or parallel line graver. Also known as a “stitch tool.”
THREADING – In letter engraving, threading is a term used to describe the engraving of parallel lines within the thicker portions of letters to create a bolder appearance to the letters. Also known as “clotheslined” or “clotheslining.”
TOOL MICROSCOPE – A small hand-held microscope, usually 20X or 25X. The tool microscope is about the size and shape of a ballpoint pen and used for examining the tip of a graver for damage or wear. Also known as a “pocket microscope.”

Pictured is a 25x tool microscope as retailed by Harbor Freight.
TOP LEVER – The locking lever common to break-open type guns, such as side by side or over & under double barrel shotguns and rifles. The left side of locking levers are usually engraved or cast with a checkering pattern but on engraved guns the locking lever may be engraved with a scroll, pierced, or sculpted into a shape such as the head of a duck or other motif.

TOP STRAP – The top portion of a revolver frame that is positioned just above the cylinder. On engraved revolvers, the top strap is often engraved with a repeating leaf motif or wavy lines and dots.

Pictured is the top strap of a Colt SAA engraved with a scroll and fish fin motif.
TRADITIONAL GRAVER - Gravers that have a blade type shape and are manufactured in a variety of point types that include, bevel, flat, knife, lozenge, onglette, oval, round, and square. Traditional gravers are available in both tool steel and high-speed steel. A “traditional graver may be contrasted with gravers made of 3/32” square or round stock which are then custom ground to various shapes and typically used in power assisted engraving tools.


TRAFORO – Italian artisans use this word for piercing.
TRANSFER – One of several types of patterns used by engravers to transfer a predetermined pattern to the metal to be engraved. Transfers have been the subject of innumerable and endless discussion threads on Internet engraver’s forums.
TRANSFER MAGIC – A proprietary product of T. W. Designs of Prescott Valley, Arizona that is a chemical compound used in the process of transferring designs from a printer to a metal surface.
TRANSFER WAX – A special bees-wax mixture used to reproduce the cut lines of an engraving to transfer the design from one work piece to another.
TRIGGER GUARD – The metal strap that partly surrounds the trigger of a firearm and serves as a protecting member. The trigger guard is a commonly decorated surface in gun engraving.

TWIST MOTIF – A type of curvilinear fretwork that was popular with 19th century gun engravers for border motifs and space fillers.

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