Today's postings

  1. [Baren 34797] wood ("Mark Mason")
  2. [Baren 34798] Re: Blocks in the UK ("Mark Mason")
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Message 1
From: "Mark Mason"
Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2008 10:10:24 -0000
Subject: [Baren 34797] wood
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Following on from Barbara's message regarding wood, I wholeheartedly agree. It's not worth the suppliers, or Barbara's time as Mall manager to order 1 block.

I checked with Barbara beforehand to see if I could order a full sheet of Shina, cut down to blocks by the supplier in Japan. It did take a few emails by Barbara on my behalf to sort out, of which I am very grateful, and I received 24 lovely blocks which will keep me happy for some time. I do apologise to Barbara if I caused her hassle.

Here's why I had to go down this route:
The problem we have in the UK is that there are NO suppliers of Shina woodblocks (and the Basswood blocks sold by Lawrence's are ridiculously expensive and "type high" which makes them uncomfortable to cut using woodblock tools. The wood breaks easily too. Have a look here: http://www.lawrence.co.uk/acatalog/Basswood_Woodcut_Blocks.html and double the price you see to get the value in Dollars).
In the US you are lucky to have McClains and to benefit from their domestic shipping. But in the UK it's either international shipping from McClains in the US (Expensive) or international shipping through the kindness of Barbara and Matsumura in Japan which by my reckoning worked out cheaper (But not cheap, I agree). At the moment the exchange rate is very good for us in the UK with 1 worth slightly more than $2 which makes ordering and paying for international shipping a little less painful.

I think there's a business opening in the UK for an Importer/Stockist to supply Schools, Art Colleges and individual artists with blocks rather than us all having to grub around for offcuts and DIY store materials which are just too coarse for developing fine linework. Some kind of co-operative bulk buying scheme between artists may be another route.
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Message 2
From: "Mark Mason"
Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2008 10:21:38 -0000
Subject: [Baren 34798] Re: Blocks in the UK
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Hi Eli,

Yes, I went down that route. One custom furniture maker very kindly helped me out getting some blocks planed for me as was fascinated by the whole process of woodblock printing, but the only offcuts he could let me have were only a couple of inches square, which may have made for a nice little engraving, but not a woodblock print. The other furniture maker I contacted ignored my first call and then gave me a flat "no" even when I offered to pay. He must have got off the wrong side of his workbench that morning!

I'm glad you've had success though, maybe the furniture makers in your neck of the woods are more accommodating than up here.

Best wishes,
Mark.