Apart from the smoke prints, which seem quite magical, I experimented with another couple of techniques which work in different situations. Often the imprints on metal tools aren’t perfect, so it may be impossible to produce a good print with the smoke technique. These techniques involve the use of a very soft pencil or graphite stick (both at least 6B) .
One technique involves using graphite in a similar manner to the smoke print. Rub the graphite stick over the imprint. Apply the clear tape to the mark, in the same way as for the smoke print. This doesn’t work so well with fine lettering or details. A second technique is often used to make rubbings of objects with texture, like coins. Place a piece of white paper over the imprint and rub with a pencil. This technique works well with defined imprints, but those with fine details will not work very well. The example below shows some successful (left) and not-so-successful attempts (right). The biggest problem is that due to fine imperfections on the surface, the background will not be uniformly dark.
One final technique uses a graphite marker as a glare suppressor, and simply involves rubbing it over the mark. This has the effect of helping to reduce the amount of reflection produced by the surface. I then use natural light, and photograph the imprint at a slight angle.
The ease of copying marks is also dependent on the type of marking. Markings that are imprinted with U-shaped straight furrows are easier to imprint than those that are V-shaped.