A story about spatulas and tools used for engraving

Hello everyone, this is Shindo from MITUBACI.

In this issue, we introduce the "spatula," a tool for engraving.

You may not know what kind of tool it is even if it is called a spatula, so please look at the picture first.

It is a thin metal rod with a different tip and a plastic-like tip. It looks like a pencil.

A spatula can be used to stroke the surface of metal to bring out the luster of the metal.
Rubbing silver and other base metals with a spatula also has the effect of hardening the surface. The metal has a property of becoming hard by processing such as bending and hammering.
The spatula is pressed against the surface of the metal to achieve the processing effect.

Now, let us proceed to the description and characteristics of each spatula.

carbide spatula

A metal-tipped spatula is called a "carbide spatula" and is made of tungsten.
As the name "tungsten carbide" implies, it is a very hard material.
It is polished to a shine.
Metals can usually be polished with sandpaper or abrasives, but to polish a tungsten spatula
You need to use a diamond grinding stone or diamond paste to polish. Diamond paste comes in a syringe.
Carbide spatulas have a thin, pointed tip that allows the spatula to be applied to the smallest of areas.
Maybe I'm not using it properly, but the tip is sharp like a needle and if I'm not careful, I can scratch it.

Diamond Grinding Wheel and Diamond Paste

agate spatula

The material used for the tip of the agate spatula is agate, a type of gemstone.
Although not as hard as carbide spatulas, it is a hard gemstone and is used as a material for spatulas.
As you can see from the photo, it is thicker than a carbide spatula.
The tip is not as thin as a carbide spatula.
It can be used from the tip to the thickest part of the root so that large surfaces can be polished.
My feeling is that the agate spatula feels softer against the metal.
The tip is not sharp, so there is no risk of scratching the surface. It is better to finish the entire piece with an agate spatula and then polish the more detailed parts with a carbide spatula. If you want to polish, wouldn't it be faster and cleaner to use an abrasive and finish with a rheuter or a buffing wheel?
I guess, but polishing (abrasive) makes it shiny, but it is grinding and polishing the surface.
Too much polishing can remove the pattern or distort the surface. In such cases, a spatula finish is useful.
Since the surface is not ground down as in the case of polishing, only the area struck by the spatula can be illuminated without distorting the pattern or shape.
A spatula is a tool that can polish very delicately.

Finishing work with a spatula

The surface finish of MITUBACI work shocks "Snowflake" is explained as an example.
The surface texture is simply put, uneven with various patterns.
Here it is with snowflake texture applied.

In this state, it's textured and the whole thing is a shiny silver color!
Then, "blasting" (matte finish) is applied as is.
The entire surface then becomes white, matte, and matte.
As the name of the texture suggests, the finish is white, like a snow-covered surface.
It's beautiful too!

Immediately after blasting

This is where the "spatula" comes into its own.

By applying a spatula, only the protruding parts of the texture are illuminated.
The contrast between shiny and matte areas is then clearly defined.

What do you think? Don't you think it turned out even better?
While shiny silver and gold finishes are very beautiful, it is the use of a spatula finish that dares to use a matte finish to create an attractive finish.

It is very fun to work by hand with a spatula, changing its expression as it is processed.

Personally, this is my favorite way to finish textured items.

We encourage you to challenge yourself when choosing textures at the workshop. 

A story about spatulas and tools used for engraving
Experience the handmade.

All of MITUBACI handmade jewelry courses are conducted by professional artisans.
All our final prices are indicated on our website for your consideration with ease.


Refer to the price list on our website for a detailed breakdown with no hidden cost.