Saturday, July 9, 2011

My dream machine the glass engraving lathe from Kurt Merker GmbH

Well what can I say... some girls want shoes and a purse, some a new car or a new phone... As far as I go; I want a lathe! I am working very hard to get it though I wont probably know what to do with it when it gets here... I will be quick to learn. This is the KMK1 from Kurt Merker in Germany. here is their link:

It is featured in the book Techniques of Glass Engraving by Peter Dreiser and Jonathan Matcham (2nd edition) and it seems lovely! The idea is to learn the copper wheel engraving which is sadly and "endangered species" art; one that by all meanings isn't easy to learn and I am sure it will take time to do so but it will not be impossible and it will be rewarding. This is their lathe and you can visit their website (though you will have to contact them regarding price) I would say the lathe will set you back about $4,000 us dollars (with out the wheels) and almost $6,000 with the wheels. Some people might think "whats the point of spending that much?" but there is something in me that tells me it is the right thing to do... and so I'll do it! In the mean time however I will keep on engraving with my drill and sharing with you all the beautiful work of the amazing artists I admire, and aspire to be like, as well as the things I am learning by trial and error. Here is the lathe pictured with the diamond wheel set.


  1. Hi Leenah, If the lathe you are buying is a Kurt Merker, then they are engineered perfectly. Make sure it has a thrust bearing and a "ringing board". The Merker lathes I have woked on had them.the down side to one of the lathes was a variable speed control which I found fiddly to set which can be annoying when you are in a hurry to do a job.Also yopu could do with a mandrel of the same size with which to cast you spindles for the copper-wheels as I found that to puchase them blank was expensive....Send me a mailing address and I will send you an instructional VCD that should give you all the information you need on casting and making copper wheels and their spindles... Hope this helps- Kev...

  2. Me again, I have tried to reply to your original message but I don't seam to have any luck so I have posted my reply as a comment. This lathe doesn't see to have a ringing board fitted but they are not necessary,It might have a non adjustable thrust bearing but I can't tell from the 'photo ( The merker's I have worked on were models from the 1980's) and the saying over here is "you only get what you pay for" and in the long term, with your enthusiasm it will be money well invested...Good luck and I hope that the Drug that is glass gives you as many pleasures that it has given me.

  3. Hi Kev! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer, I have replied to you via Facebook and I am glad to hear this is a good buy! thank u so very kindly for replying =0)

  4. Leenah I can't believe I just saw this do you FIND these incredible people and sites??? Have you got your lathe yet - you will have to tell me all about it!!!! I need to write to you my dear - I met David in person, in North Carolina - I will write to you soon!!!

  5. Hi Leenah,
    I am glad to see that you have a Love for Engraving. I have been engraving s for 39 years and am self taught! I hope you got your lathe!

    1. hi Catherine =0) I have seen your work and it is quite nice. I did get a machine. I actually got one from the Czech republic a few months ago and I am still setting it up and trying to learn where to get the stone wheels and the other stuff along with the motor =0) thank you so much for the comment.

    Im developing a very cheap machine and setting up workshops here in Stourbridge in the West Midlands with the old masters from Webb etc
    keep and eye on and

  7. You're absolutely right. I am a student in fine arts and I know a lot about the technical glasses. Glass etching
    is part of a very great art, I still say today that this is a very noblest work. From another point of view, the price can be very exorbitant to these small machines but it is to create productions of prestige and fortunately today it is possible with the new technology, to have an advanced precision but also to save time. For the price, I think we just make some comparisons on the site I found, there are not too bad:

  8. Hi Leenah,
    I've done some stipple an simple drill engraving, but have always been most enthralled by copper wheel engraving. While a Spatzier or Merker GNH machine is the "old school" standard for Copper Wheel glass engraving, I agree with you that the MKM1 is my new "Dream Machine" and I've just got to find myself one. After watching Peter Dreiser's DVD on engraving with Copper Wheel, just the amount of time and energy to set up the spindles and mount new copper wheels, I would have to think that diamond, even though much more expensive I assume, would still be the way to go. The MKM1 being so portable and being able to use, diamond, stone or copper wheels and being such a self contained "kit" so to speak, with trays, pan, backsplash, elbow pads, etc. that it is the nicest engraving lathe I've seen yet, even if the price is a bit out of this galaxy. I would be interested in knowing how you tracked down your lathe, which one did you find, and how your efforts are going. I am semi-retired from the US Air Force, have been a woodcarver and artist for years, so I know I would have no trouble with the multi-level intaglio carving with the wheels once I got used to working with them, I just have to find a lathe I can actually afford or make payments, loan, etc. to make it happen; But, the MKM1 is STILL my first choice, although I wouldn't turn down a Spatzier if it popped up and was something I could afford and had a good set of spindles with it.

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