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Engravings

In addition to the technical aspects developed to order for each sporting gun and rifle, giving it its ballistic “personality”, the ornamentation applied to each weapon also makes it a personal item, unique in appearance.
The engravings are applied to the metal parts of a gun using four main techniques: hollow bottom, intaglio, overlay and chasing. These can be used separately or combined on the same gun to obtain ornamentation that has the required level of sophistication.

1. Intaglio

1. Intaglio

This process consists of creating fine grooves on the metal using a graver or a chisel capable of cutting steel.This technique has been used for a very long time in the printing industry on sheets of copper, producing detailed patterns and designs. In our case, it is the most frequently used method for engraving guns. In addition to its precision and degree of detail, it enables the execution of a wide variety of scrolls and hunting scenes. The English style from the early 20th century is one of the most commonly used (“anglaise véritable à bouquet”).

2. Hollow bottom

2. Hollow bottom

The first step of the hollow bottom is, in fact, intaglio. The drawing is transferred onto the gun, and the contours and the shapes of the scrolls or scenes are established. Those parts that the craftsman wants to “blacken”, in order to bring out the patterns, are then “excavated” with gravers. These zones are said to be "en champs levés", meaning “in a raised field”. They are therefore below the rest of the surface by one or more tenths of a millimetre. Finally, various methods are used to darken them: “matis pointé”, by bead work, etc.) to achieve the required appearance and intensity of blackness.

3. Chasing

3. Chasing

Chasing is a bas relief applied to the steel. Instead of suggesting the volume by lines and shadows, the volume is modelled into the steel mass and is therefore real.

4. Overlay

4. Overlay

This enables the creation of any pattern on the gun by adding other, usually precious, metals (gold, silver, etc.). The effect is achieved using the dovetail method. What this means is that once the lines or scenes have been cut out, the engraver uses a graver to form an undercut, or dovetail, intended to contain the added metal. Some of the “raised sections" of large surfaces are also used. As pure gold and silver is extremely malleable, they will integrate by “mattage” with the previously traced patterns and remain in place.
The overlay can take the form of lines or contours, or even “applats” (animals or other). It can either be levelled in line with the treated surface or left in relief (and given volume as with chasing). Large areas of overlay are usually engraved and shaded as with intaglio work.
This technique is also referred to as damascene.