A complete beginners guide to Motorcycle engraving

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.  

I had to be careful and steady my had as the Dremel tends to pull away. Find the direction that works for you and do short lines or dots. Also, always use eye protection,  mine is from Wiley X.

I had to be careful and steady my had as the Dremel tends to pull away. Find the direction that works for you and do short lines or dots. Also, always use eye protection, mine is from Wiley X.

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.  

Motorcycle cover engraving royal enfield

 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. 

Viking valkyrie engraving motorcycle royal enfield