Personalised axes as leaving gifts

Personalised axes as leaving gifts

Posted Posted in Personalised gifts, Wood

Gordon from 152 Medical Squadron brought me two beautiful Gransfors Bruk axes. He wanted me to engrave them as personalised leaving gifts for one of the group.

Useful and beautiful leaving gifts

The Squadron wanted something really special that their colleague would love and remember them by each time he used them. They decided on top quality axes from Sweden! A larger log splitter would be perfect for cutting logs for the stove at home, and he could take a small, light hatchet on his regular hiking and camping trips.

Gordon wanted both axes engraved on the wooden handles so when they were being used or hanging on the shed wall, they’d make the recipient smile. And laugh!

Small hatchet
Small hatchet

Personalising the axes

Gordon wanted the Royal Army Medical Corps regimental motto ‘In Arduis Fidelis’, meaning ‘Faithful In Adversity’ engraved on the log splitter. On the hatchet, he wanted one of his colleague’s choice turns of phrase that he was well known for. There were so many, it took a while to decide which one to choose!

He really wanted to watch the axes being engraved, so he brought them to the workshop.

Where is it best to engrave an axe?

I’ve engraved Gransfors Bruk axes before. That time, the customer wanted the leather  head covers engraved with initials.

This time, Gordon wanted the wooden axe shafts to be engraved. As the handles are relatively straight and have a gentle curve, I knew this would give good results and the text would have an attractive 3D effect.

Engraving wooden axe shafts

Once we’d double checked the Latin spelling, I set up the artwork. Gordon really liked the Algerian font we’d used to engrave some cask ends, and we agreed that it would suit them well.

I scaled the text to keep the engravings on the relatively flat area on the spines of the shafts. As the shafts have the Gransfors Bruk logo on one side, we engraved the other sides so only the text or the logo would be seen.

Gordon was delighted with the engravings and couldn’t contain his excitement for the presentation a couple of weeks later!


Have you got a product you’d like to develop but aren’t sure how? Contact us or ask for a quote.

Personalising a hammer

Personalising a hammer

Posted Posted in Leather, Personalised gifts

engraving reached A customer asked if I could personalise a hammer by engraving it. He bought a good quality one as a present for a friend who had started his own joinery business, and wanted to personalise it with his initials. Could I help?

What materials ?

This Estwing hammer is cast in metal as one unit and has a lovely leather binding around the handle.  My customer wanted the leather handle engraved. As leather engraves well, we arranged a time for him to pop round with it.

With jobs like this, I like it if the customer’s present. We can set up the artwork together to make sure it’s what they want. I can also check the best options for locations where items can be engraved. And customers love watching their items in production.

Where to engrave the hammer?

First, we had to decide where to engrave it to best effect. We chose the top part of the handle near the head. It wouldn’t be handled much and the area is always visible to the user. His friend is right handed, so we settled on the left side of the handle as it always faces the user.

Setting up the artwork

Firstly, we decided what area we had available. Secondly, I set up the artwork. My customer liked Times New Roman, and we scaled the letters to that they were 28 x 8mm.

Finally, I set up the hammer in the machine. The hammer’s handle tapered in the area we wanted to engrave, but the area was still flat rather than curved. This is important to help the laser maintain focus whilst engraving and this delivers best results.

Can you see the slates I used to prop up the hammer head in the photo? I did that so that the tapered part of the handle would be at 90 degrees to the laser head. I’d also engrave in the middle of the handle where the surface is flattest.

Personalising the hammer

After the first engraving, we saw white dust around the initials. I realised that the leather was varnished or coated for protection and the engraving had just gone into that. You can still see some of the white dust in the photo.

After the second pass, the engraving reached the leather itself and the mark was darker and clearer. My customer loved it and couldn’t wait to give his friend such a thoughtful gift.


Have you got a product you’d like to develop but aren’t sure how? Contact us or ask for a quote.

Personalising a Mr Cogsworth clock

Personalising a Mr Cogsworth clock

Posted Posted in How to, Personalised gifts

A customer asked if I could engrave a clock for his girlfriend’s birthday. He said it was made of wood and that there would be flat areas where I could engrave. It all sounded pretty straightforward, so when it arrived, he brought the clock round to the workshop.

A few surprises

Connor’s girfriend is Mr Cogsworth mad, so he’d bought her a Mr Cogsworth Dysney clock! When we had a closer look, it became clear that it wasn’t made of wood, but resin.

I know that I can get good engraving results with wood. I’ve engraved a resin items like sunglasses before, but this resin looked different.

The only way to see what results I’d get would be to test a spot.

Avoiding expensive mistakes

I asked Connor how much the clock was. It was much more than I’d expected! The last thing I wanted to do was engrave it, cause damage and have to pay for it. Connor understood by dilemma, but wasn’t quite ready to give up.

All I could suggest was to find a place where I could engrave a small, simple shape like a star where it would be hidden. If it worked, it could add to the message. If it failed, Connor wouldn’t hold me responsible.

A test engrave

We realised that the chamber for batteries and time adjustment was a flat panel held onto the back of the clock with magnets. This was perfect. It would be easy to remove and place flat in the machine for engraving. And I could engrave on the inside of the panel where it would be hidden.

I set up artwork for a small star and engraved it at the top of the panel. It worked! The star looked creamy in comparison with the orange background. There was a slight indentation too. Connor was delighted.


engraved Mr Cogsworth clock

Engraving a message

We set up the text that Connor wanted. Then we had to decide where to engrave it!

There were two options.

  1. We could engrave the outside of the panel where it would be seen but wouldn’t be noticed so much at the back of the clock.
  2. We could engrave on the inside of the panel under the star I’d engraved.

Connor loved the second idea and thought it would be fun to give his girlfriend the battery separately. She’d have to put it in herself and then she’d see the message in a secret place.

Feeling very pleased with ourselves, I engraved the text below the star with a heart beneath. We were both so relieved that everything turned out well!

Have you got a product you’d like to develop but aren’t sure how? Contact us or ask for a quote.

Personalised axes for Best Man gifts

Personalised axes for Best Man gifts

Posted Posted in Leather, Personalised gifts

Iain got married last Saturday. He presented his Best Men with high quality axes that he’d asked me to engrave for him. This is how we did it.

Engraving high quality axes

Iain knew he wanted axes, and he wanted them personalised for his friends. He searched for personalised axes, but he couldn’t find any of high quality, so he decided to buy the axes he wanted. He brought them to the workshop and we discussed how he wanted the engravings to look.

We had two options – to engrave the wooden handles, or the leather head covers. Iain decided he wanted the head covers engraved on the presentation side . There were logos on the wooden handle.

Axe head metal isn’t usually compatible with laser engraving as I’ve found from past experience, and the engravings would be more likely to be damaged during use.

I engraved a  leather cartridge belt recently. Iain had seen the pictures on social media and liked the effect.

Personalised text

After some thought, Iain decided to go with his best men’s initials and the date of the wedding. He wanted to keep things simple and bold, so we settled on the Arial font. There was a nice flat area on the leather covers for  30 x 30mm engravings.

We agreed that the engravings would look best orientated so the text of the engravings and axe branding all read on the same plane.

I created proofs for him to approve, making the initials 48 point and the dates 24 point to create neat 33 x 23mm rectangles that would fit the covers nicely.

axe after engraving

Engraving the axes

I set up individually in the in the laser to get the engraving positioning just right.  Then I wedged some perspex blocks under the blades to lift the areas to be engraved so they were as flat as possible to keep the laser in focus. This was much easier to do withthe covers were in position on the axes to keep them steady.

Iain loved the results and picked the axes up a couple of days before the wedding.


Have you got a product you’d like to develop but aren’t sure how? Contact us or ask for a quote.

Personalised bespoke wedding gifts

Personalised bespoke wedding gifts

Posted Posted in Furniture, Personalised gifts

It can be so hard to think of personal, useful and beautiful wedding gifts. A customer had a flash of inspiration and wanted to know if I could help.

Bespoke piece of furniture

Jess bought a set of large, chunky, interlocking coasters from a furniture maker. They formed four arrow shapes fitting around a four pointed star in the middle. This set really was a piece of furniture. Together, the group measured around 520 x 520mm and the pieces were around 15mm thick. Not your average coasters.

Jess had clubbed together with four other family members to commission them. They each wrote a message of love and support that they wanted to have engraved on the pieces.

Setting up the artwork

Jess gave me a list of the messages and names to be engraved on the pieces. She gave me an idea of how large she wanted the text on each coaster and the three fonts she wanted too. Jess also sent a sketch of how she wanted all the text arranged on the pieces.

I arranged the text for the star in a 60 x 60mm box, and set up 180 x 80mm text boxes for the largest areas of the arrows measuring 260 x 130mm. Jess and I agreed that it would look best if I kept the text on each piece centrally justified, lined up with the left sides of the arrows furthest from the arrow points. All the text was kept to the same size.


Engraving the coasters

Once Jess was happy with the proofs, I engraved the coasters. I aligned each piece of artwork with each coaster section, and used a deep engrave to give best definition to the text for maximum impact.

Jess was really pleased with how the coasters turned out, and the messages made them extra special.


Have you got a project that you think we could help you with? Contact us or ask for a quote.


Other blogs you might find helpful about coasters include  Oak awards for The&PartnershipMug mats for The Learning Cauldron, Personalised coaster wedding favours and Branded coasters for Welsh Oak Frame.

Engraving granny's handwriting

Engraving granny’s handwriting

Posted Posted in Artwork, Personalised gifts

A customer asked if I could laser engrave six wooden chopping boards with her granny’s Highlander recipe as gifts for her family for Christmas. To make the gifts extra special, she had scanned her granny’s recipe from her old recipe book. She  wondered if we could engrave the boards to look as if her granny had written the recipe on the boards herself.

My customer prepared the artwork herself and got it right first time.

Scanning handwriting for laser engraving

We need artwork for engraving in black and white with no greyscale. This is very important because the laser either engraves or doesn’t engrave. It engraves black and doesn’t engrave white. If the artwork is greyscale, the software interprets greys as being either dark enough to be black or pale enough to be white and engraves accordingly. The laser creates shades of grey in the way that old fashioned newsprint did, by engraving concentrations of black pixels. As the laser engraves each black pixel, black and white artwork works best.

It is also important that if artwork if presented in jpg, png or bitmap format (as my customer did), the graphics must be of print quality, in other words, 300dpi or greater. Unwanted pixellation will be engraved, so customers should provide good, clean unpixellated images for best results. Engraving is only as good as the artwork is.

Engraving the boards

The text was very fine, as you’d expect from handwriting. We performed some test engraves and got good results using a deep engrave to give the text good definition. My customer loved the engraved boards. Having a fresh reminder of her granny in her kitchen was special as she prepared to start her own family.