Today's postings

  1. [Baren 34925] fruit woods (Raymond Hudson)
  2. [Baren 34926] congrats James (Cucamongie #
  3. [Baren 34927] Re: fruit woods (Reneeaugrin #
  4. [Baren 34928] Re: fruit woods (David Harrison)
  5. [Baren 34929] Re: fruit woods (Reneeaugrin #
  6. [Baren 34930] Re: Carving fruitwood (Tiberiu Chelcea)
  7. [Baren 34931] Re: Carving fruitwood (David Harrison)
  8. [Baren 34932] Re: Carving fruitwood (Formschnider #
  9. [Baren 34933] Re: Carving fruitwood (Julio.Rodriguez #
  10. [Baren 34934] Re: Carving fruitwood (rsimola #
  11. [Baren 34935] Re: Carving fruitwood (Formschnider #
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Message 1
From: Raymond Hudson
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2008 08:59:45 -0500
Subject: [Baren 34925] fruit woods
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In a class in Hangzhou, we were given one piece of pear wood. It had
been glued together from smaller pieces, but it worked like a dream.
Lu Fang, the instructor, preferred ginkgo but it was rare and not
available for students.

Ray Hudson
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Message 2
From: Cucamongie #
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2008 10:24:55 EST
Subject: [Baren 34926] congrats James
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James, CONGRATS on the grant, that sounds like a fascinating trip and I'm
sure it will provide inspiration for a lot of wonderful new work.

Well-deserved success and wish you all the best

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Message 3
From: Reneeaugrin #
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2008 11:28:50 EST
Subject: [Baren 34927] Re: fruit woods
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Hello all,

Long ago, my Dad had to remove a cherry tree, I asked him to save some
slices for me. This was about 15 years ago and now I have found someone who can
plane it smooth for carving and printing. Can wood ever become too dry? I am
also glad to know that walnut is not so great -- I'll find another use for

My square block is ready for ink, yeah!

Happy printing and carving,

_www.reneeaugrin.com_ (

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Message 4
From: David Harrison
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2008 16:37:01 +0000
Subject: [Baren 34928] Re: fruit woods
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Hi Renee,

Wood won't just keep drying indefinitely, unless you're in an area with zero
percent humidity. That only accounts for a few places on Earth, so it should
settle down to match the average ambient humidity for your (or your Dad's)
area. I would think that 15 years is more than long enough for that! A friend
who air-dries lumber over here -- sadly nothing that's useful for printmaking
-- says it takes him around three years.

If it's been air-dried properly it should also be less prone to shakes and
cracks than kiln-dried wood.

And if it was kiln-dried, it it will still reach equilibrium with the
surrounding moisture content if left long enough...


David H
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Message 5
From: Reneeaugrin #
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2008 11:47:00 EST
Subject: [Baren 34929] Re: fruit woods
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Thank you David,

The cherry slices have been patiently waiting in the house ever since they
were cut. Here in Oregon we don't really have a zero humidity problem :).
Looking forward to working with them, maybe a portrait of my Dad.

Trying to catch up, welcome new Bareneers, congratulations to all who's work
is deservedly recognized and many thanks for those who can post and blog
with so much wonderful information and beautiful work.


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Message 6
From: Tiberiu Chelcea
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2008 09:32:02 -0800 (PST)
Subject: [Baren 34930] Re: Carving fruitwood
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I have a question regarding all these wood types. People talk about "fine lines" or "fine detail". What exactly is a "fine line"? How wide should a line be to be considered "fine"? 1mm, less than that?

I'm not trying to start a flame here, but I'm really curious. I don't have experience with a lot of wood types, I've carved on birch plywood, pine, and some cherry. I'm sealing the plate with gesso before carving, and can get really narrow lines (
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Message 7
From: David Harrison
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2008 17:43:08 +0000
Subject: [Baren 34931] Re: Carving fruitwood
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Hi Tibi,

Which sort of gesso are you using? The acrylic type or the old-fashioned
powder stuff mixed with rabbit size?


David H
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Message 8
From: Formschnider #
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2008 13:15:29 EST
Subject: [Baren 34932] Re: Carving fruitwood
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for detail nothing on the market in North America is better than hard maple.
You can do a wood cut that has all most as much detail as wood engraving.
In fact I have done the same image as a wood engraving and as a wood cut
using plank grain maple and i have fooled wood engravers as to which is which.
One of the advantages of hard maple is that it doesn't splinter and with the
proper tools you can cut thin lines much thinner than in maple. It just
takes time to learn to deal with the woods hardness but the rewards are well
worth it. patience grasshopper.

john c.
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Message 9
From: Julio.Rodriguez #
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2008 13:22:04 -0600
Subject: [Baren 34933] Re: Carving fruitwood
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"fine lines fine details...."

I think one thing to take into consideration when evaluating different
types of wood is it's 'printing' that I mean that while
it's important to consider the carving phase and the ability to produce
fine lines and fine details if we plan for the block to have a 'long'
print life some woods may not hold up as well as others after repeated

This is not as important for us artists whose print runs are usually quite
small but back in the day when hundreds or thousands of prints were pulled
from wood blocks for commercial use I imagine the publishers wanted blocks
that would hold their 'edge' and detail under repeated printings.
of fine old prints can determine when looking at a print if it was pulled
from 'fresh' blocks or from worn down blocks.

I know that Dave Bull does print runs of about 200+ prints always using a
traditional baren. I have not heard him complain about his blocks wearing
down....but perhaps if he was using a press or a ball-bearing baren the
blocks would show a bit more wear ?

Julio Rodriguez (Skokie, Illinois)
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Message 10
From: rsimola #
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2008 11:22:54 -0800
Subject: [Baren 34934] Re: Carving fruitwood
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I don't know what the official definition is about fine lines. I just
consider anything less than 1mm to be a fine line. I don't find it too
hard to get a fine line when the line is incised, but I do find it
difficult when the line is to be in relief. And when it is in relief,
that is when I most worry about the wood splintering or problems with
the grain of the wood. I will try using a coat of gesso. I just tried
trick of using wood-burning tool to heat-set a laser-printed copy of my
design onto my board for Exchange #36. It worked pretty well for my
first try, and I bet a coat of gesso put down first would make the
transferred design even clearer.

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Message 11
From: Formschnider #
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2008 18:49:33 EST
Subject: [Baren 34935] Re: Carving fruitwood
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hand printing esp with a wooden spoon wears down blocks a lot faster than
press printing. wood engraved blocks used for news paper mast heads where
known to print 1/4 million copies and not be worn out. I knew a wood engraver
who used to print her wood blocks by hand and often had to re engrave areas
with very fine lines. Because in hand printing you put lots of uneven
presure on small spot at one time a press prints in a even line and with even

john c.