When I got my hands on the Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 for the Petrolettes Wrench-Off I was sure something needed to be done with the clutch, stator and valve covers, although I wasn't quite sure what. The initial plan was to cold-blue them with some gun bluing fluid, but a whim, at 11 pm one night made me click purchase on Amazon, having the Dremel tool delivered to my door the very next day.
Now, let's be clear about this: I've never wielded a rotary tool before, nor did I ever engrave anything, especially metal. That very same day I asked my husband to fetch some aluminium sheets and I drilled away for a good few minutes before realising the results were... Well, to put it mildly: absolute shit. The lines were faint and I couldn't quite figure out how to angle the burr correctly to the metal. Nevertheless, I proceeded, removing the aluminium clutch cover and bringing it up to the spare room in my apartment.
I spent a whole day marking out the designs freehand with a Sharpie, and then, finally after some profuse sweating and serious self doubt, I decided to go for it. First, I equipped the Dremel with a diamond burr, which is easier to control in lower speeds, and I marked out the designs. The lines were shaky and faint at first, but my intuition was right: the alloy in the covers was more giving, more workable than the sheet aluminium I practiced on.
After marking out the designs at low speeds with the diamond burr, I switched to a tungsten carbide bit, that allowed me to dig deeper into the aluminium, carving out the background and leaving the raised runic inscription. The feathers got the same treatment by a tiny little carbide bit, giving depth to each line and stroke.
Finally, I used gun bluing liquid to darken the background, and later hand sanded the blackened area to get rid of some of the drilled texture, giving it almost a hammered, worn out look.
The stator cover followed suit, although I skipped the diamond burrs this time, going straight for the big guns and following a loose, free hand design, adding and removing elements as I drilled away.
The symbols and the designs on the covers follow the Gungnir concept, and are inspired by Norse Mythology, with the clutch cover having a huge ægishjálmur with a runic Circe in the middle which reads "Gungnir" in elder futhark, traversed by a spear. The stator cover meanwhile has the same ægishjálmur design, but smaller and the runic inscription says "Gefinn Óðni" with three additional picture panels: two of ravens and the middle one representing a little Valkyrie with a horn of mead and a sword, inspired by actual archeological findings.
I've been getting many questions in the past few days about the engraving project: the designs, the method and general tips and tricks. Hopefully I've answered some of the questions in this post!
All of this madness took 5 or 6 days, I'm not exactly sure, as this was an all consuming art process.