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Is basswood suitable for wood blocks?
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Author:  Joseph Arcolio [ Sun Nov 22, 2009 3:33 am ]
Post subject:  Is basswood suitable for wood blocks?

I have access to basswood .Is it suitable for carving blocks for print making ?
Joseph.J.Arcolio@valley.net

Author:  David Bull [ Sun Nov 22, 2009 3:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: wood blocks

My own experience with basswood - with a single print - is that it is very fibrous, and most unpleasant to carve. Also, when it came time to print, I found that it was extremely sensitive to the water content of the pigment, and warped far more than any other wood I have ever tried.

But going by your email address, I see that you are a 'neighbour' of Matt Brown, who - I believe - uses basswood quite a lot. Might be worthwhile getting his opinion, which will obviously differ from mine!

Author:  Christian Mueller [ Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Is basswood suitable for wood blocks?

I did some research to find a replacement for Shina in Germany, and turns out that Shina is basswood :D

Shina is the name for Tilia japonica, a species of Tilia, and basswood is just another name for the genus Tilia.

So it depends where you buy your basswood, and if someone in your neighbourhood uses it a lot, chances are good that it's suitable for printmaking.

Author:  David Bull [ Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Is basswood suitable for wood blocks?

Remember though, that shina plywood - where the 'shina' is only the top thin layer - will behave very differently from solid blocks, both in the carving and in the printing.

I was inspecting some colour blocks carved on shina plywood a month or so ago in printer Numabe-san's workroom (for a Paul Binnie print), and he was very happy with them; they were stable and printed smoothly. But my experience with trying to print a solid basswood block (for a Matt Brown print) was a disaster - it warped and twisted, and wouldn't take a clean impression at all.

So as always ... make some good experiments before moving ahead too quickly!

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