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Subject: Second unit of instruction: Carving and tool care

Sekioka-san (Yusuke, first name) from Tokyo, a master carver who apprenticed for about 12 years with the collaborator of his father (who was a printer), Okura Hambei, came to give us 2 1/2 days of instruction and it has been terrific. It succeeded in teaching us a lot but we also all feel physically tired for reasons you’ll understand.

Here are a few of the things that he taught us.

1. That it’s possible to get a lot onto 4 blocks, i.e., sides of wood. The attached photo shows the many lines and areas of color that it was possible to fit onto just 4 blocks to get an Ukio-e classical print.

2. The direction of travel of the U gouge or Maru-to matters in making a clean cut. See attached photo. Where the maru-to cuts in the directions shown by the arrows the inside of the curve, the desired piece, is cut clean. This is the part of the wood that is pressed down by the gouge as it travels.

3.We learned about the order of carving for medium and large areas, with the hangi-to (knife with the point) going first to make the outline, the maru-to cleaning about 1 mm from the cut, the Hira-to cleaning the center first and the last mm second.

4. Sekioka-san then taught us about repairing and sharpening tools, and that was a real education. I have learned about sharpening of wood carving tools from the book by Lee (of the Lee Valley Co. in Canada), but that . . .
[Long item has been trimmed at this point. The full blog entry can be viewed here]

This item is taken from the blog Lake Superior Woodblock Prints.
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