David Bruck – Master Die Engraver

Jul 5th 2011

[caption id="attachment_335" align="alignleft" width="294" caption="Dave Bruck engraving a steel plate which will become one of the dies for our Spirit of America Collection"]Dave Bruck engraving a steel plate which will become one of the dies for our Spirit of America Collection[/caption] After earning an Associates Degree in Commercial Art from the Community College of Allegheny County, South Campus, and a couple of years of experience at a sign shop in Pittsburgh, Dave Bruck received a phone call from a friend that would soon determine the future of his career. Steve Adams, who worked at Wendell August as a master die engraver, said there was an opening for someone to work side by side with him. Dave jumped at the opportunity and has never looked back. Growing up in Grove City, Dave was excited at the chance to return to his hometown and work at Wendell August, where he had already been employed as a polishing craftsman between college breaks. He took the initiative to chisel a steel die at nights in his apartment to show what he could do and presented it to then-owner Bill Knecht. The year was 1980…after many years of fine tuning his craft, Dave is considered to be one of the most talented die engravers in the world. Dave's focus is all things made by God, opposed to architectural elements, or anything that is built or manufactured by man. Those are big shoes to fill, but all who see his work are always impressed with his abilities. Some of his most challenging projects involve carving out human or animal anatomy. “It takes a lot of skill to make a person or animal look realistic,” he explains. Remember, when Dave is "cutting" a die (the industry term used for die creation) he has to actually create a negative image, similar to that of a film camera. That negative image will have a piece of bronze, aluminum, pewter, etc. hand-hammered into by a craftsman to create the positive image that you see in a Wendell August piece. Very difficult. Outside of the shop, Dave has volunteered with the Boy Scouts for the last 10 years. He also enjoys the outdoors, is active in his church, and has an interest in restoring old cars.  Dave is married to Eva and has three sons: Aaron, Tristan and Clinton. Next time you pick up a Wendell August piece look really closely at it. Somewhere hidden in that artisan-crafted design is two little letters, DB. When you find them, think of Dave. It is his passion and wonderful talent that made that piece possible.