NOT QUITE EXACT COPIES, BUT CLOSE. HOW I DID IT AND WHAT I GOT FOR IT.


Gifts for a tidy group of 9 companies who pitched in a pile of money for a good cause. I had a short timeline, but a good budget on these 1.5 liter bottles of what, coincidentally, is my all-time favorite red wine. The wine is The Prisoner and is a terrific blend from one of the best California wine guys.

An area high school employee contacted me about engraving the bottles as part of a larger package of appreciations for 9 businesses contributing to a special foundation for a child who died of a rare disease. No names or dates on the bottles, which was somewhat unusual; names were on some of the other of the foundation's gifts.

My goal was to make the 9 bottles all appear as though they were carbon copies of each other. Of course that's impossible with hand work. Under the most focused efforts to make them identical, it would never make them so.

To begin, I decided where I wanted the bottom baseline to be. A long strip of 3M frosted tape was burnished down with the top edge where I wanted that baseline. A dot of gold Rub 'n Buff was squeezed out and put on the edge. Rubbed it along the entire edge of the tape, with all excess rubbed off the glass, above the line.

I pulled up the tape and had a crisp hairline of gold for that line of words. No draft on this one. After a while, you'll develop the 'eye' being able to 'see' the words on a given space. I chose a #4 round carbide bur. I wanted the lettering bold, but less than the line above. I began at the far left side of the line, kept the spacing fairly tight, and got all the words on the line. I missed my visualizing just a bit since the end of 'Foundation!' is starting down the curve of the bottle, though not much. A #3 would have been too light, but it would have kept the last word on the level.

For the Thank You I chose a new #6 round carbide, I knew I had to accommodate the tail of the k and the descender of the Y. Also had to consider the ascenders on the line of lettering below. I burnished down a clean strip of tape for Thank You and did a draft with an Ultra Fine Sharpie on the tape. I had the baselines too close. On the second try, I got it right and made room for there to be minimum, if any, conflict between the baselines.

I found where I should begin the T by centering the draft above the top line. Raised the tape draft above the line and engraved the two words directly below the draft. When both lines were engraved, I put three 'starbursts' as you see above.

On the second bottle, I placed a short piece of tape...FOLDED ON THE END that I placed at the edge of the front label. I folded it so not to pull up part of the label when I lifted the tape.

I put a dot on the tape at the label's edge. I put another dot where the top and bottom baselines should be. I put dots there. Pulled up the line-placement tape and saved it for each following bottle.

I made baselines for each line of words, then begain engraving the glass, repeating those steps for the next 8 bottles after the first.

If you look close, there are obvious differences among the group. But at first blush, the bottles all look quite the same. By doing that first exercise in layout, each subsequent bottle took far less time.

Each was close to 20 minutes start to finish, color included. That's three an hour for 9 bottles. Three hours total. There was a huge crunch in the turnaround and I had to work these into a critical timeline with an event and other promised work. My fee was a bit more than what I would have normally charged for a regular size bottle with no heavy time constraint for completion.

So, the job paid a thousand, ninety-nine dollars and everyone was happy. I'm told each donor gave ten grand, so the engraving was a tiny, tiny percentage of the funds received by the generous companies.

Your questions and comments are always welcome.. Give me some feedback and tell me how I can help...either with your current engraving, or if you'd like to learn this lucrative skill. And you CAN learn it!

-Ken


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