Burin. An engraving tool with a diamond or lozenge shaped cutting edge, often used for engraving lines, lettering or fine detail in dies. Burins are made of tempered steel with an oblique cutting edge shaped in such a way that light pressure cuts a thin line, heavier pressure cuts a wider and deeper channel. The flared cutting edge also has the advantage in that any cut made in a die has an automatic bevel, necessary for any striking work (the die can strike and withdraw without the piece "hanging up"). A burin is also frequently used for inscribing a medal after it has been struck, burins are used for script style lettering requiring narrow strokes and wide stems. Burins are also called lozenge or diamond point graver. See graver, engraving.
excerpted with permission from
For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators
COMPILED AND WRITTEN BY D. WAYNE JOHNSON
Roger W. Burdette, Editor