The ‘Woodcut Artist’s Handbook’ arrived yesterday along with some practice blocks of wood and one piece of basswood. My plan was to establish which tools were used for what/how to hold them and then do some mark making.
I had a bit of confusion with which side of the practice blocks I’m meant to cut into. It’s probably not too clear from the photo above but that side of the block appears like it’s had a layer of varnish applied to it, Whereas the other side of the block appears to have just been sanded. There was no information on which side should be cut into/printed on so I assumed it was the non varnished side.
Sorting Tools for use on practice blocks
The book that arrived yesterday had some good drawings and explanations of individual tools and their functions. To help me know what tools did what I thought I’d group some of them and then cut a practice block each with the different tools and print from that.
Veining Tool – is a small version of the parting tool or v-shaped tool. It’s used for tiny details that couldn’t be achieved with a larger tool.
Scorper tool – Also known as a round graver or scample and is used to clear areas and cut broad lines and create harsh stippling effects.
Tint Tool – made to create parallel lines of the same width to generate grey tones or tints.
Gouge tool – Gouges create round lines and are often used to clear large areas that won’t be used for printing away.
Bent gouge – can also be referred to as a spoon gouge is sometimes preferred as it can allow you to cut at a deeper angle into the wood and clear away a larger surface area.
Parting Tools – Otherwise known as v-shaped tools these tools produce a tapered line. They’re very popular.
Now here comes the catch I began trying to cut some of the practice blocks, handling the tools in the way the book suggested and found it incredibly hard. The tools barely scratched the surface of the wood. I suspect this isn’t just me being a novice and not using the tools before, but that the tools are blunt or misshaped. The only problem is I don’t have the tools to drastically sharpen or re-shape them, seeing as I only have some stones and sandpaper no larger more powerful machinery. This may mean I have to abandon doing any wood cut’s for this project.