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Glass engraver

Glass engravers use electrical and hand tools to create designs on glass.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £14,000 to £30,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements, although an HND, degree or foundation degree in art, design or contemporary crafts might be useful.

You’ll usually need a portfolio of your design work to do a course or to start work.

Paid or unpaid work experience can help you build your portfolio, improve your understanding of glass engraving techniques and show employers that you have an interest.

The Guild of Glass Engravers has more information on course providers.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • good coordination skills for delicate work
  • creative flair, with an ability in art, particularly drawing
  • the ability to concentrate and work alone for long periods
  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • business skills, with the ability to market and sell your work (if self-employed)

3. What you'll do

You’ll cut inscriptions, produce original designs or copy existing ones on items like bowls, decanters, glass panels, goblets and mirrors.

You’ll use a range of equipment and techniques, including:

  • point engraving – marking the glass with a hand-held diamond or tungsten carbide point tool
  • stipple engraving – building up the design by hand using tiny dots, highlighting areas of light and shade
  • drill engraving – using a rotating tool in the handpiece of an electric drill
    copper wheel engraving – using machine-driven wheels to shape the cut, and a mix of oil and grit to do the cutting
  • sand engraving or sandblasting – using grit to remove areas of glass
  • acid etching – applying acid to areas to be decorated
  • hot glass techniques – engraving combined with glass blowing skills to create different effects
  • laser engraving - creating a design on glass with a laser

Each method of engraving needs different skills.

4. Salary

Starter: £14,000 to £18,000

Experienced: £20,000 to £25,000

Highly Experienced: Up to £30,000

Some engravers are employed on piece rates and are paid bonuses.

Engravers working shifts may receive a shift allowance or extra pay for overtime.

These figures are a guide

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work between 37 and 40 hours a week.

If self-employed, your hours will be more flexible and depend on the needs of your customers.

You’ll be based in a workshop or factory. Conditions could be noisy and dusty so you may need to wear ear protection, goggles and a mask.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could progress to senior engraver or supervisor. You could also go on to become self-employed and work from home or set up a small workshop.

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Last updated: 09 October 2018