The wood engraving process – Materials

The Wood engraving Process – Materials

Photography © Richard Ellis, Old Town Studio

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The wood engraving process

Holding the Tool

Step one: Hold an engraving tool like a computer mouse but with the index finger to the side. Cup your hand over it, thumb one side, fingers the other.

Step two: Let the handle bed against the heel of the hand; push from there.

Step three: Guide with the fingers, do not wrap them under; if you do, you will jab into the wood, not skate over it.

OR

Cup your hand over an engraving tool like a computer mouse, but with the index finger to the side. Bed the handle against the heel of the hand, thumb one side of the shaft, fingers the other, not wrapped under.

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Engraving

Step one: Block in one hand, tool in the other, find the right angle at which to cut by lodging the tool in the wood and lowering your hand towards the horizontal.

Step two: Cut no more than 1cm before re-positioning your hand across the wood.

Step three: Keep the tool relatively still and turn the block against it when cutting a curve – engraving is a two handed process.

04. Keep the tools sharp.

OR

Block in one hand, tool in the other, lodge the tool in the wood and lower the hand till the tool will move and cut (if the fingers are under the tool it won't go low enough). Cut no more than 1cm before re-positioning your hand on the wood. Keep the tool fairly still and turn the block against it when cutting a curve – engraving is a two handed process. Keep the tools sharp.

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Printing

Step one: Use a roller (brayer) to roll out ink on an impervious slab, and transfer a fine film to the block.

Step two: Place the paper onto the inked block.

Step three: Print by burnishing the back of the paper with a smooth object; do not let it move, or cockle it or tear it at the edges of the block.

OR

Using a roller (brayer), roll out ink on an impervious surface, and transfer a fine film to the block. Place paper on the inked block. Burnish the back of the paper with a smooth object; do not let it move, or cockle it or tear it at the edges of the block.

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Materials

All you need acquire to begin wood engraving is:
Some wood or engraving plastic
An engraving tool – a spitsticker should be the first
A tube of printing ink
A small roller or brayer

You will also need these things which you may have already:
A sharpening stone
Smooth paper to print on
White spirit and rags for cleaning up

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All materials are available from T N Lawrence & Sons and blocks from Chris Daunt