Today's postings

  1. [Baren 36600] Posting (Gayle Wohlken)
  2. [Baren 36601] Re: New Baren Digest (HTML) V44 #4483 (Aug 14, 2008) (Marilynn Smith)
  3. [Baren 36602] Dremel ("Jeanne Norman Chase")
  4. [Baren 36603] FW: Registration and cost benefit analysis ("Lee Churchill")
  5. [Baren 36604] electric chisels ("bobcatpath #")
  6. [Baren 36605] RE: electric chisels ("Maria Arango")
  7. [Baren 36606] Dremels and nomenclature (Jennifer Martindale)
  8. [Baren 36607] keeping paper damp question (Linda Beeman)
  9. [Baren 36608] RE: electric chisels ("Mike Lyon")
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Message 1
From: Gayle Wohlken
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 14:21:54 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36600] Posting
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Bareners, may I remind all of you to post only once a day, pllllease.
If you are having difficulty restraining yourself (which we all do, I
suppose) I suggest you sign up to receive your Baren messages in the
"Digest Version" rather than the "Regular Version". You can do this
by unsubscribing from the regular version and then re-subscribing to
receive your messages in digest form. This makes it easy to peruse
all the messages at once and do your replies all in one post. I have
been receiving complaints from those who do follow the rules of once-a-
day posting. Thank you kindly, folks, and I know it's difficult to
restrain ourselves when the posting gets exciting. The Digest version
is the answer to all this. Try it out. I use it, myself, and find it
much more convenient than myriads of messages coming to my mailbox all
day. This way, I might get three digests a day on a busy day (never
mind the one day a week or so ago that I received eight!). A digest
of the posts makes it easy to see at once what issues I would like to
post about.

Here is the sign-up page. Make sure you unsubscribe from the regular
version first.

This is a general message to you all. If it keeps happening, I will
probably be writing to you individually. You don't want that, do
you? ;-)

~Gayle Wohlken
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Message 2
From: Marilynn Smith
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 14:28:54 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36601] Re: New Baren Digest (HTML) V44 #4483 (Aug 14, 2008)
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Regarding power carving tools. I have a Proxxon, my husband bought it
for me as a Christmas gift. It works great for removing large areas,
saves the hands. I still prefer my hand held Japanese chisels for
fine carving, but the power tool is grand for clearing. Woodcraft
states they no longer carry this tool, but there are other
alternatives. Perhaps Graham used the Dremel years back and they have
improved on it? Jeanne, the lurker, you have been using a power tool
have you not?

Question, The powder pigments sold on the Baren Mall work well for
water based ink. Has anyone tried to mix them with linseed oil to
make an oil based ink? Looks like we will take an airplane to Baja
this season and that limits my ink choices. Some things I like oil
based for and I can't fly with them. Did I understand this one right,
does Createx work like oil based on woodblock?? Meaning can you roll
it with a brayer? I already have those and could take them on a plane.

Thanks everyone
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Message 3
From: "Jeanne Norman Chase"
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 14:58:19 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36602] Dremel
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To answer your question, Marilyn.
Yes, I do use dremel tools and believe me when I say I would rather not.
Nerve damage in my right wrist has caused a problem so I cannot use any woodblocking tools anymore.
After the feathering that occurs in the use of dremels, finallly solved that with fine sandpaper, Then there are teeny tiny dremels that can work pretty well for me in details. But never as well as a good woodworking tool.
The details of David Bull, Mike Lyons, Dan Dew and others could never have been made with a dremel.
At least I can do "something" .So hooray for dremels.

Happy Printing

PS, I am out of the box now, and the little disagreement of late has pushed me out. Always make lemonade. ; . )

Jeanne N.
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Message 4
From: "Lee Churchill"
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 15:04:33 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36603] FW: Registration and cost benefit analysis
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Hi Steffan

You've mentioned that you don't use the paper strip technique any more
but I thought I would mention an experience I had that others might find
useful/interesting that your technique brought to mind.

A friend who makes her living as a printer once saw me carefully peeling
very stubborn tape off a sheet of Mylar that I was using for registering
several editions of prints and pointed out to me that time = $$. If I
spent an hour peeling tape when I could spend an hour printing a cost
recovery job than the $2.00 saved by not tossing the Mylar was really
about $80.00 wasted in my printing time - saying, in theory, I could get
four prints finished, selling at $20.00 per. I had never thought about
that (generally, because my work is relegated to 'off' hours, I don't
think about my time as having a $ value...) but once she had pointed
that out I realized that many of my habits that I had thought were
saving me money were actually somewhat false economies... I haven't
changed them all since I do most of my work for pleasure rather than
employment BUT it has made me rethink some of the more tedious ones.

Looking at your registration technique, pulling figures from my
imagination and using my poor math skills....adding the strips and
taking them off would consume a fair bit of time - if you look at it as
lining up, attaching and removing taking 2 minutes per print and you
start with 45 sheets of paper, that's at least 1.5 hours...whereas
tearing the excess paper off takes about 30 seconds per print (using a
tear bar and eye, approximately 23 minutes) with the torn paper (based
on a $5.00 large sheet torn into 4) maybe being a loss of $0.08/sheet or
$3.60 for the edition of 45.

.... so is the $3.60 and over an hour of time worth doing punching

J Just some food for thought....



A good question. My mentor always recommended using the larger stock,
punching holes direct. But I don't like to throw away that much paper!
There's another print in all those little strips, if you edition wisely!
Scotch Tape and old copier paper destined for the recycle bin are far

Also, I've switched from the paper strips to the thick vinyl litho
registration tabs...
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Message 5
From: "bobcatpath #"
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 15:52:35 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36604] electric chisels
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thanks for the info on dremel, Maria ,and Graham
i recently found a RYOBI detail carver while i was cleaning out my mothers
garage and
i recall that we have discussed power carvers before
have you used these Maria ?
it has a 3/8 th inch U-gouge tool,
how doesthis one move thru the wood ?
side to side , or forward- back ?
i suppose i could just start it up and see for myself
but that's why i do love the BAREN
because I can ask questions first

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Message 6
From: "Maria Arango"
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 16:31:29 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36605] RE: electric chisels
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Yeah! Fire it up and see what it does! Maybe it's a roto-rooter and you can
unplug your sinks with it.
If the Ryobi has a 3/8" U-gouge it is a reciprocating (forward/back) power
I own a Ryobi, an old Dremel, a cordless newer Dremel and a wonderful
Foredom :-) with flex shaft attachments for Dremel and Foredom and
reciprocating attachment for the Foredom. I don't ever want to be accused of
not having enough tools.

The reciprocating tools are held against the wood and they push themselves
against the wood with your guiding help; they actually just move back and
forth fairly rapidly. Kind of feels like cutting a turkey with a power
knife, almost no resistance at all if your bits are sharp.
The thing that bothers me most about all these tools is the blasted noise
they make, and the dust the rotary bits produce; I wear a dust-mask if I
carve for a long time with them. I don't particularly have weak hands but
I've heard that the vibration can get bothersome on hand muscles for some

Here are some prints produced with the help of rotary tools:
the sun "shine" on end-grain maple

the "rain" effect on cherry

almost all the squigglies on plank maple; this is actually the perfect use
for these tools, very random marks, tightly curved; it's just like drawing
with a pen


       Maria Arango
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Message 7
From: Jennifer Martindale
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 17:21:24 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36606] Dremels and nomenclature
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Thank you for the ideas about using Dremels etc. I do already have a dremel with the pen type attachment, so I will try out various experiments. Thank you to all who have helped get me started. Several years ago I had tendonitis badly for several months when I was doing a lot of marquetry. Since then I have been very careful not to repeat the problem. I use a a sort of strapping glove I bought in a sports shop for carving, and I have wrapped some of my frequently used knives with a strapping used for raquet handles, also bought from a sports shop. This gives the hand something wider to grip which generates less tension in the hand... or so the theory goes. So generally I am always willing to try out 'softer options', even if it is for use in between doing things 'the proper way.' I like the idea of training up the 'other' hand. I certainly have done this for a lot of things, but have not tried with the carving. Good thinking.

Talking of doing things in the proper way, Graham was asking about naming the process I was describing in the owl sequence: ie is it moku hanga or is it lino. Perhaps someone will tell me, as I am never sure of the correct naming of what I do. The current experiment has been in using lino, or rather vinyl flooring, as the block material , all other processes such as damp Japanese paper, dry pigments mixed in water, glue, hand printing with a baren etc are all the same as moku hanga. Does this name only describe the technique when used with cherry? or does plywood, other woods, lino etc. still get the same label. In other words is it the process, or the materials, or the hand printing with water colours? When I last exhibited, some of my images ended up with rather wordy descriptions, in the interests of not misleading people. In fact I have not used the term moku hanga in case it is not! It would be good to have some shortcuts, or better definitions. Any takers?
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Message 8
From: Linda Beeman
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 17:31:25 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36607] keeping paper damp question
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Since moving in December I have changed from ink to watercolor prints. (I have less room). I have been doing smaller prints with 4-6 colors that I can print in a day. If I start early. Now I have a larger 8 block print cut and ready to go that will have probably 12 colors. Some colors will be printed 3 or more times to get the depth I want. This is going to take at least a week (probably 2 or more) to print - depending on my stamina and all those life interruptions. Like eating. And sleeping!

My question is this: how do I keep the paper damp until the printing is done? I am using a damp blotter, misted paper and plastic bag right now which works perfect for me. Do I need to mist the blotter again if things start to dry out or the paper? Is mold a problem?

PS to Graham: I spent two years in Canada in art school. When I moved back home my family didn't even understand what I was saying, eh?

Linda Beeman
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Message 9
From: "Mike Lyon"
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 17:35:13 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36608] RE: electric chisels
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I've used reciprocating electric gouges -- they work the way they're
supposed to but I have never really liked nor appreciated them. They're
noisy, even the heaviest have some unpleasant vibration -- but for anyone
who is unable to use hand tools, this sort of thing might be a Godsend.

I've used Dremel and other 'small' hand-held rotary tools with a number of
different kinds of bits -- fluted, abrasives, toothed -- wheels, cones,
cylinders -- you can make iterative marks pretty easily, you can get some
interesting effects by allowing the tool to bounce around, and you can SORTA
draw with them like a VERY SLOW moving pencil but I haven't found ANY
attachment for a Dremel which can remove material as quickly or accurately
as traditional hand-tools... Also rotary tools tend to 'climb' at an angle
to the intended direction so it's difficult to be very accurate. Even sharp
rotary tools leave a burr. Sanding lightly with 400 grit after carving
usually cuts off the burrs (sand paper should be supported by a block to
prevent 'rounding' the edges of printing areas).

I've used everything from hand-held laminate trimmers up to 5HP variable
speed plunge routers (WAY, WAAAAAAY faster and more powerful than anything
Dremel-like, but basically the same kind of rotary tool) with various router
bits -- hand guiding these it is VERY easy to lose control and cut WAY more
material than you intended -- hard to see exactly where you're carving and
SUPER NOISY -- but they can clear large areas VERY quickly and almost
effortlessly -- can also take a finger or a hand off in an instant!

My BEST results carving with power tools have been with routers moved under
computer control. I've been experimenting with that sort of thing for about
four and a half years now. I 'program' the path and depth the router will
cut in advance. If I use, for example, a 45 degree conical 'V' bit, I can
engrave a very fine line which is no wider than it is deep -- accurate to a
few thousandths of an inch -- using such a bit and controlling the depth, I
can carve very tiny lines, very sharp and acute angled corners and, once
I've outlined printing areas, I can clear non-printing areas quickly using a
larger diameter flat bottomed bit.

This sort of equipment will NOT help anyone who wants to carve
improvisationally, but for those who design images and block in advance, it
can allow one to work MUCH larger and more comfortably and accomplish more
work in less time than with hand-tools.

Do-it-yourself folks with a good workshop, electronics expertise, and a
local electronics surplus store can make their own for super-cheap. New
equipment of modest dimensions might cost a few thousand dollars and up.
Equipment capable of carving full sheets of plywood start around 8 or 10
thousand dollars. Price increases with size and accuracy and so on and
there is really no limit to how MUCH you might be able to spend..

There's quite a LONG learning curve for self-programming and a much shorter
but still lengthy learning curve for off-the-shelf software which may cost
as much (or more) than the machinery.

42x77 inch woodcut from 17 blocks carved by computer controlled router:

-- Mike

Mike Lyon
Kansas City, MO