‘What used to take years to learn, can now be picked up in days’
GRS are an American based manufacturer who have been producing premium quality engraving and setting tools since the mid 1960s. Their aim has always been to make these two highly skilled techniques easier and more attainable by way of improved technology and product innovation and today they boast a 700 strong product range which is shipped to 120 countries worldwide, achieving precisely that.
Many believe that engraving in particular is a dyeing art whose heyday has long since passed. By way of complete contrast GRS believe that craftsmanship is at an all-time high right now, thanks in part to the availability of superior quality tools which in short, make the technique easier.
What does GRS produce?
The GRS range is extensive, but one of the products they are best known for producing is their pneumatic Graversmith, Gravermach and Gravermax systems which are suitable for both engraving and stone setting. They come in a variety of different configurations and offer a unique combination of consistent speed and power. The speed is set and fixed and therefore constant and the pressure is controlled by a foot pedal or (if you prefer) a hand piece giving the user enhanced control and power to achieve great results.
As you would expect, GRS also produce a whole host of additional supporting products to go with these complex systems, such as different shaped hand pieces as well as the gravers themselves, plus a series of sharpening tools (GRS Graverhone VS Sharpening System, 998 G243) and accessories to keep your gravers in tip top condition. My personal favourite is the GRS Easygraver Sharpening Fixture, 998 G250 which, by way of a series of angled holes, allows your graver to be securely held in the perfect position to achieve the correct cutting angle every time; but the ingenuity doesn’t stop there, far from it.
GRS Easygraver Sharpening Fixture for Creating 105 Degree V-point Gravers – 998 G250
The GRS BenchMate range encompasses a series of tools designed for the bench, to support, secure, hold and facilitate your working at every stage. Take for example the BenchMate Encore QC Starter Set. This system will securely hold work away from the bench itself allowing full access, manoeuvrability and clearance, thus removing any obstacles you may previously have encountered. In addition, the whole thing can be rotated 360° without the need for any extra tools which is a great feature. As part of GRS Quick Change (QC) system, other accessories from the range (including GRS Acrobat Versa Stand with Leica A60 Microscope – 998 G282) can be easily added, dropped and locked into place, creating a superb, multifunctional support system.
Work blocks and vices are another speciality and are available in a myriad of different options to suit all requirements. At times looking like something which has dropped from outer space, these sleek silver orbs are machined from solid stainless-steel offering strength and security whilst allowing full tilt and smooth rotation thanks to a double ball bearing system. The one pictured below is the original version, first produced by GRS, weighing in at a substantial 19 lbs and with a maximum jaw width of 76mm.
Everything created by GRS is done so with design expertise and extensive knowledge of technique which shows in their products. It comes at a price, but it is a price worth paying as once you buy into a GRS tool system, the possibilities become truly endless.
Written by Joanna Varney
Joanna has worked in and around the jewellery industry for well over 20 years. She has designed and created her own pieces as a designer maker, as well as working in jewellery retail on a much larger scale, producing designs and NPD for some of the UK’s largest high street retailers