header header header
japanese french germany italy spain america

add button
Bookmark this site!

Ribbon Cutting or Threading


Ribbon cutting or threading is a method of achieving wide shade strokes in script lettering without brightcutting. While brightcutting is sparkling and beautiful when properly executed, ribbon cutting is less flashy and softer in appearance, as light plays differently on its cuts than brightcutting. It's just as beautiful it its own way, and considered superior by many customers.

Ribbon cutting is the method of choice for thin objects, since the cuts are much lighter and shallower than brightcut script, which can distort items made of thin metal (many baby items are notoriously thin). On a high-wear item like a signet ring, a ribbon-cut monogram will survive wear much better than brightcutting. The reason for this is that brightcuts have a deep side and shallow side, the shallow side being where the cut flares out to create width. As brightcuts wear, the wide portions of the letter get narrower and narrower, and eventually all that's left is a thin hairline for a letter. As ribbon cutting wears, the areas between the cuts develop flat spots as the peaks wear down, but the width of the letter remains.

The illustrations below show the progress of threading/ribbon cutting. In example 1, the letter J has be lightly sketched with a pencil and partially cut with a 120° graver. Example 2 shows a portion of the letter getting wider with multiple cuts of the 120. Each cut is made close to the previous cut so that the entire surface of the metal is engraved away. In other words, the object is to avoid flat spots between the cuts as all of the surface metal is to be engraved away. The cutting continues in example 3. I find it easier to begin my inside cut first, and widen the letter with successive cuts to the outside. This is a matter of personal preference, so try different ways to find what works best for you. Example 4 shows the completed letter. Three to five cuts is sufficient to reach correct width. Much more than that results in cuts that are too shallow and less attractive, as light plays better on 3-5 cuts than 10 very thin cuts.

Threading/ribbon cut lettering is also a bit easier for the beginner, as it requires less graver control that heavier, deeper, brightcutting. What can't be seen in the photo is the way light plays beautifully on the cuts as the engraving is tilted in hand.Tutorial end