I was really fortunate to be given a whole load of wood cutting/carving tools by a relative a few weeks ago (I’ll post some photo’s of the tools later in a second post). So wanted to give wood block prints ago, as a part of working on experimental prints. I now know that you carve on the end grain of the wood, not along the grain (as you’ll see I’ve done below). I was so eager just to work with the tools and the wood that I didn’t give myself time for researching about techniques etc.
Below you’ll see a series of photo’s of two cuts of Soft Pine wood that my father in law found for me to practice with. I aimed just to make marks to get used to the feel of cutting into the wood and using different tools. Obviously this isn’t the ‘right’ way of cutting wood, and because of that the marks aren’t of any intricate quality or precision, but they do make interesting prints at the end…
Cut’s made with small gouge tools
The three pictures below are of three small sized gouge tools I used to cut the first block of soft pine. I wanted to record which ones I’d used a record of the marks they make.
This is the first print I took of the soft pine block. I had some trouble figuring out how to best print it, so you can see it’s blurred at the edges where I’ve managed to move the paper/block whilst rolling the back of the paper. I tried inking the block then placing it on top of the paper and turning it over to roll on the back of the paper. This was fairly tricky!
This print was a bit more successful in terms of an even print, there’s still some blurring but not quite as much as the first one.
Cutting with v-shaped gouge and extra small gouge’s
I wanted to try using a different shaped tool, so found this small v-shaped gouge. I wanted to make a point of the v-shape so made some marks by just pushing the tip directing into the work in a stabbing motion. I then tried some straight lines, and cross marks. Given I wasn’t cutting the right side of the wood I found this quite tricky!
The ink transfer isn’t very heavy in the first of second print, I inked the wood a fair amount so I’m sure if this is because it was tricky to get enough pressure on the back of the paper when printing. It could also be because I was printing on a side of the wood that had probably had some form of treatment (i.e. staining) and this might have made it harder for the ink to sit on the surface of the wood.
Below is a photo of a very fine gouge tool, it gave some nice delicate lines. But it was very tricky to work around the knots in the wood. I wonder how using this tool will be on the end grain of the wood, probably a lot easier!
The two photo’s below are of two types of tool I don’t (currently) know the name of, hence the unknown part. They were quite tricky to work with as they don’t behave the same way as a gouge tool. I’m hoping when I’ve got some more information about the tools, I’ll be able to use them in the correct way and experiment without damaging them.