Digger (tool)

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Four different wood engravers

A graver (also merely prick called; formerly pointer Burin, Sculper, Scorper) is an engraving tool , that since the Renaissance is in use. It is mainly used for processing metal ( copper engraving , steel engraving ) or wood ( wood engraving ).

The graver has a wooden handle and is almost always moved directly by hand and not hit with a hammer . The handle is usually pear-shaped to allow a firm grip. Usually the end of the handle facing the cutting edge is flattened so that the fingers do not obstruct the forward or downward movement. The cutting edge is typically made of hardened steel .

The length of the digger is between 8 and 11 cm. The cross-section can be different. The sharp blade is there

  • from a surface sloping from above, also called the cap or shield and
  • the downward-facing edge or surface that meets the cap and thereby forms the cutting edge (called the orbit or ventre ).


With the development of copper, steel and wood engraving, the grave engraver quickly became a preferred tool for artists and other people working with these materials. It was part of the standard equipment of late medieval workshops. In the early modern period , the burin was one of the instruments used in embarrassing questioning in inquisition and witch trials ; Whether it was also used as an instrument of torture has not been proven; In several cases, however, it is recorded in the trial files that the defendants only made confessions after being threatened with “prickling”.

to form

Different names used to be used for the various works, or some are still used today:

  • Gravestone in the narrower sense: used exclusively for copperplate engraving
  • Knife pointer (Onglette, knife-toe): sharply wedge-shaped in cross-section, the edge of the wedge is the path and forms a very sharp point with the triangular cap
  • Spit sticker
  • Flat graver
  • Triangular graver
  • Bolt graver
  • Round graver
  • Oval burin
  • Thread engraver

See also : List of tools

Web links

Commons : Gravestones  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  • Otto Lueger : Lexicon of the entire technology and its auxiliary sciences, Bd. 4 Stuttgart, Leipzig 1906, S. 602. online

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Ludwig A. Veitmeyer, Torture tools and their application 1769: Constitutio Criminalis Theresiana