The Plaque Engraving Process

The Use of Plaques

A plaque is a magnificent way of marking a special occasion. Originally given as an award of recognition, the use of a plaque has now rapidly expanded, as has the design and the materials in which it can be made from. A plaque can be both informative and beautiful. Engraved plaques may be used to recognise an historic event, to mark a significant milestone or in memory of a special or important person. Whatever the intended use, the making and engraving process of the plaque remains the same, as outlined below.

plaque engraving

An example of plaque engraving (image via 4kclips, Shutterstock)

Plaque materials

The breadth of materials available for plaque engraving is quite incredible and, to some extent, the material you choose will be determined by the location and use of the plaque. For plaques that are going to be positioned outside and exposed to the elements, it is important that a durable material such as stainless steel or cast bronze is used. Plaques that will remain indoors may be designed from a wider variety of materials, giving scope to a larger breadth of design and can include brass, glass and different varieties of aluminium.

The Engraving Process

Where plaques are engraved manually (often for those requiring fine or intricate detail) a tool called a burin is used and allows the craftsman freedom of movement across the surface. The skilled worker is able to engrave as light or as deep as required and uses free hand to take the design wherever needed.
Alongside, technology has developed in such a way as to allow machines to engrave plaques with designs and wording for all manner of uses. The finalised wording and pattern of the intended plaque is first printed in black and white on a sheet of paper, which is then wound tightly around a roller and sealed into place. On an adjacent roller a sheet of pliable metal is again wound around and this scans across to it’s neighbour, engraving a replica where it sees black text or pattern and not engraving where it identifies blank white space. This technology enables engraving to be efficient whilst maintaining accuracy and high quality. Using this technology, we can engrave plaques to be ready the same day as when an order comes through.

Plaque Finishing

Once a plaque is engraved, it is then finished to add both protection and a pleasing aesthetic. In some cases, a very thin layer of steel is added over the top. Check out some metal engraving ideas in our recent blog post. This does not detract from the finish but will add longevity to the plaque, especially for those that will be hung outside and exposed to the elements. Additionally, the plaque may be framed in wood or another material of choice to provide an eye catching design that really stands out.

Able Engraving has many years of experience in all of the above methods and can provide a wealth of knowledge when discussing your plaque and plaque engraving requirements. Please do call us to talk through your options, we look forward to hearing from you.