5-Ball Factory Racer Closing in on New Cam and Ignition

We were fortunate to hook up with Heather New, of New-Line Engraving several years ago. Since I was about to switch out my CrazyHorse engine ignition with a Blackhawk Motorworks cone cover I needed to come up with a classic point cover for the new unit and the 5-Ball Factory Racer. It was a natural choice to send her a chunk of aluminum, or I shoulda sent a piece of brass, but oh well. Either way I knew she would bring the project to life.

Heather started engraving in a small shop in downtown Edmonton in the Early 80’s, where she took care of over 100 jewelry stores. “I was engraving everything from I.D. bracelets to wine goblets to pocket watches, and more,” said the raving redhead, “items which other engravers said could not be done, I soon learned to do!!! This was when I first met Frank.”

Frank Gurney was (and still is) the best Hand-Engraver in Canada. “He is a true artist and craftsman, and along with the Alberta Apprenticeship Program, arranged for me to be his understudy,” Heather said. “I was thrilled!!! I learned so much from Frank in those years, confidence, trouble-shooting, and above all HUMOR!!!! We spent hours working and laughing (hoy-deedle-doy!!). He taught me so many things before he eventually retired out near Victoria, B.C.”

She then moved on to the largest Jewelry stores in Canada. “I was doing all of their machine engraving, as well as custom wedding bands, and one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces,” Heather said. “They treated me like gold, and I will always be thankful for the kindness I experienced there. I relocated near Calgary, Alberta, and began working for a gigantic company with more talent than I had ever seen gathered in one place. I naturally did the engraving there, and also moved on to operating CNC machines, and hand-carving moulds used in casting.” She became a programmer, writing the programs, which would later be used by the CNC machines to cut the actual moulds.

She started New-Line Engraving in the summer of 2005. “I hand-carved an inspection cover for my good buddy ‘Chicken’ and with her over-whelming encouragement, (she cried when she saw it) I decided to branch out into custom bike carving too (after all, a derby cover is just like a signet ring, only BIGGER.”

So here’s how the short, two-week process rolled:

Cover the piece in white water-soluble paint, and transfer the artwork onto the surface

I highlight the general outline, scratching the paint leaves a more permanent mark than pencil, and you don’t rub it off as you work!

For removing large areas you can try a dermal, but they tend to vibrate too much for any fine work…I used small gravers hooked into a pin-vice to cut in between the letters,
as this cover was done mostly under a microscope.

I also use fine sandpaper, jeweler’s files, and burnishers to “round-off” curves (as seen on her legs), and give some dimension to whatever artwork you are dealing with…
Details like hair, the features in the face, and fine shading are all done with fine gravers and files.

I then add an aluminum-oxidizing agent, which blackens the entire piece. When it is re-polished, the highest surfaces will become shiny again, while the black remains in all the nooks and crannies of the background. (I only do this by hand—a buffing machine can remove hours of work in a heartbeat!!)

“If anyone out there in Cyberspace wants to give it a whirl, I am always here with support and tips,” said Heather


NewLine Engraving: http://www.new-lineengraving.com/

Blackhawk Motorworks:

Compu-Fire Ignitions: http://www.compufire.com/

Custom Chrome:


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