Today's postings

  1. [Baren 36653] Re: Sanding blocks (PLAWING #
  2. [Baren 36654] Re: Sanding blocks & Printing with india ink (Tiberiu Chelcea)
  3. [Baren 36655] web site (Barbara Mason)
  4. [Baren 36656] better prints? ("bridget pilip")
  5. [Baren 36657] Re: Printing with Indian Ink (Jan Telfer)
  6. [Baren 36658] Re: Sanding blocks & Printing with india ink (Charles Morgan)
  7. [Baren 36659] Re: Sanding blocks & Printing with india ink ("Louise Cass")
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Message 1
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2008 13:16:59 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36653] Re: Sanding blocks
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While studying with several Master carvers last summer in Japan, one recommended "option" was  to cover the shina block with a thinned white glue, then fine sand when dry. It helped me to print flats smoother and cut fine lines without loss of detail.

Preston Lawing
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Message 2
From: Tiberiu Chelcea
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2008 13:35:27 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36654] Re: Sanding blocks & Printing with india ink
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Thanks again everyone for the advice and the clarifications regarding planing vs. sanding. I might have to limit myself to sanding initially, since planing might be a bit harder to arrange. Being used to printing with oil-based inks, having to print something twice to get a good coverage seems a bit of a bummer, but I guess that's the way things are. I will have to figure out the printing pressure too -- right now I'm pressing with all my upper-body strength (and I'm pretty big), but it seems that a lighter touch would be needed to avoid embossing and/or picking up ink from fine 'white' lines.

As to the "why gesso" question the most important reason is that the surface of the wood becomes stronger and it's much easier to carve very fine detail, even in soft woods (like pine, for example), without worrying too much . In my experience, it never flaked or peeled off, even after repeated printings & cleanings -- maybe it has something to do with using acrylic gesso. In addition, I was never able to get any grain whatsoever to show (that's probably something that I'll have to look into at some point), so was never concerned with the character of wood. However, I've never tried linocuts, so maybe all these rationalizations are just moot.

Several people suggested using shellac for the block: is there a less toxic alternative to shellac that I can use, maybe something like acrylic varnish or some other acrylic based products? Or am I overestimating the toxicity of shellac?

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Message 3
From: Barbara Mason
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2008 14:05:53 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36655] web site
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I wandered around in your site, nice work. How big are the woodcuts? They look more like engravings. They look large but that might be misleading as they are so detailed. I like the work on glass, a lot of work for one print. An admirable collection of work.
My best
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Message 4
From: "bridget pilip"
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2008 14:07:43 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36656] better prints?
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Am taking Richard Steiner's (advanced) workshop this week here in Portland,
Oregon... Hope all you exchange participants will receive much improved
future prints from yours truly.
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Message 5
From: Jan Telfer
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2008 14:34:53 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36657] Re: Printing with Indian Ink
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When I was in Japan last visit Hiroshi Tomihari took me to an
exhibition of a famous Japanese printmaker who carved his woodblocks
very deeply and quite roughly put Indian Ink on the printing edge of
the raised block design with a "dobber" and then put the paper on the
top of that and then the ink adhered to the paper...... It was given a
specific name too Hiroshi told me but I don't remember what it was

My next visit to Japan is coming up in a months time when I arrive in
Nagoya on the 18th September and head to Tokyo, Oyama, Ome and Narita.
My nephew is being married on 27th September to Nori a Japanese girl.
I am looking forward to meeting my daughter's host families again,
Hiroshi and Yai Tomihari and David.... what a wonderful bonus that will
be for me from little old Australia.... meeting the "King of Baren".

I am feeling a little intimidated about travelling by myself this time
in Japan, but I have left plenty of time between towns and people to
get "lost' for hours in between!! My last two visits to Japan have
been with my Japanese speaking daughter, Nicki, and then accompanied by
Nicki's host families from one family to the next and their daughters
speak a little English.... well I have my Japanese maps all ready in my
hand luggage with the addresses in Japanese and if I put them upside
down I may get some giggles if nothing else this time!!

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Message 6
From: Charles Morgan
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2008 15:21:00 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36658] Re: Sanding blocks & Printing with india ink
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Concerning your fears about the toxicity of shellac ... you should not worry. The shellac itself is fine, being an exudate from a certain kind of beetle, I believe. The only real worry is the solvent, which will be a form of alcohol. Many commercial shellacs are dissolved in methanol. Here is an msds sheet for methanol:

In large amounts, it can cause problems, but I do not think you need worry about the very small exposure (mostly inhalation) you will experience when shellacking a block ... just use decent ventilation.

If you are worried about it, there are alternatives. Luthiers that I know simply buy shellac lumps and make their own shellac solution by dissolving the lumps in ethanol ... pure grain alcohol from the liquor store, if your liquor store is allowed to sell it. Or you could use pure isopropyl alcohol from the drug store. Or you may be able to get denatured alcohol at your paint or hardware store ... denatured alcohol is ethanol with noxious stuff added so people won't drink it. Ethanol is the alcohol in booze and is no more toxic than the booze you drink; isopropyl alcohol is "rubbing alcohol" used in hospitals and doctors' offices for sterilizing your skin prior to injections.

Cheers ...... Charles
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Message 7
From: "Louise Cass"
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2008 15:23:18 GMT
Subject: [Baren 36659] Re: Sanding blocks & Printing with india ink
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Hi Tibi - I have used (white) shellac thinned with approx 50 percent
alchohol to harden woodblocks that need it for years and years - but then I
also use oil paints - really almost any material used sensibly in a well
ventilated environment is okay - I know people differ over this but the key
words are good sense and ventilation as well as reading labels carefully! I
seem to recall that Maria A. has also recommended a few coats of linseed oil
seasons wood nicely before cutting - I can't see using gesso at all - you
would certainly lose any possibility of wood grain or textute coming


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