Book Report: A Beginner’s Guide to Glass Engraving by Seymour Eisenberg (2000)

Book coverThe 2023 Winter Reading Challenge has an “Instructional” category, and I picked this book up. I bought an etching bit or set thereof for my rotary tool/grinder (as I mentioned when I bought this book last summer) a couple years back and have done a little work on wine bottles. I hoped this book would offer some additional techniques and whatnot.

However, this is a serious book about serious, professional-quality glass engraving. The samples come from pro shops, including one in Milwaukee, and very early the author dismisses using an etching bit on a rotary tool. This is serious glass engraving using a grinding wheel and plate glass, and it’s not a book for beginners. Much of the book deals with setup and preparation of both the stone wheels (shaping them the way you want to for the shapes you want to produce, making a good mandril/shaft to hold the wheel, and balancing the wheel so it does not bounce or wobble) and the glass (a whole chapter on beveling glass, which takes another set of machines altogether). The book then does move into some practice you can do with your different wheels to make leaves and stems and includes some patterns, but it requires a whole workshop of specialized equipment.

I guess that the main thing I’ve learned via extensive research (that is, searching the Internet for “glass etching vs glass engraving” and then reading this lightweight Internet chaff) is that engraving is a more industrial term, and what you do with a rotary tool or the acid is considered glass etching. So this is not really a book for what I hope to do intermittently amongst my other handicraft projects, but it was at least educational in that regard.

If you want to be a professional glass engraver, you can probably learn a lot from it.

At least it filled a slot in the Winter Reading Challenge for me.

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