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Is the flat side of the knife on the wood or the bevel side?
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Author:  Dave's email inbox [ Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:33 am ]
Post subject:  Is the flat side of the knife on the wood or the bevel side?

I noticed the asymmetrical difference between left-handed and right-handed hangi-to.  As your photos indicate, for the right-handed cutter (as I am) when drawing the blade toward myself the bevel is on the right side of the blade.  My question is, when performing this action, is the reserved wood (that will hold the ink) to the right of my knife, cut along the beveled side of the blade, or to the left, cut along the flat side of the blade?

I noticed in your recommendations for cutting hair that both sides of the blade are used, depending on the side of the hair that is being cut.  But for less delicate work, what is the practice?  Surely, for left-handed and right-handed knives to be designed differently, there must be a preference or a "right way."

Thank you for your time,

Author:  David Bull [ Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Is the flat side of the knife on the wood or the bevel side?

There is indeed a 'right way', and that is (for most work) to keep the flat side of the blade against the 'reserved' wood. If this is not possible - as it is not when cutting some of those hairlines - then you usually make a 'relief' cut first, a short distance away from the line, to allow the wood to 'escape' when being cut.

But for many people, the way that the blade is sharpened is confusing, it seems that a right-handed blade isn't sharpened the correct way for right-handers.  Here's how it works (for a right-hander):

- Hold the knife in your fist, blade downwards, thumb on top of the handle.
- Tilt your hand so that your thumb moves to the left, and the blade to the right
- tilt it far enough so that you can see the point of the blade outside your hand.
- lean over your hand, insert the blade into the wood so that the flat side of the blade is against the reserved wood, and cut by drawing towards yourself.

You will thus be able to clearly see the cutting edge of the blade as it moves along.

In recent years, many contemporary printmakers have reversed this cutting method, and are tilting their hand the other way - bringing the point of the blade to the inside of their hand, and cutting. But when doing it this way, the bevel side of the blade runs along the reserved wood. For them, it's not too important, because they are cutting roughly, and using only plywood, etc. But when cutting fine lines in hard wood, the traditional system is clearly the best way ...

Author:  Dave's email inbox [ Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Is the flat side of the knife on the wood or the bevel side?

Thank you so much for your careful description of how to properly handle the hangi-to.  It is much appreciated.

Author:  Hideki Arichi [ Wed Oct 28, 2009 12:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Is the flat side of the knife on the wood or the bevel side?

Where are the recommendations for cutting hair?!

Thanks.

Author:  David Bull [ Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Is the flat side of the knife on the wood or the bevel side?

Hideki Arichi wrote:
Where are the recommendations for cutting hair?!

Getting a bit enthusiastic for 'Your First Print'! :)

But OK, I'll be glad to help! Take a look at this (old) page on my site; hopefully it gives a good overview of how hair-cutting is done:
http://woodblock.com/encyclopedia/entri ... 15_02.html

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