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Making own woodblocks - experiment 
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Joined: Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:03 am
Posts: 4
Post Making own woodblocks - experiment

It's time to experiment a little with wood, and it's kind of fun, because my knowledge of wood is not great. But I hope
we can solve some does and don'ts together.

The experiment is to make woodblocks for printing.
The center will be plywood and the surface thin veneer, the options are 0,6-2,8mm from a diversity of woodsorts, but
with a few suitable for japanese woodblock printing.

The Hard blocks(for detail cutting, as keyblocks)

Birch ply is suitable for cherryveneer

The Soft blocks (for colours)

Pine ply is suitable for alderveneer

These advice are taken from a GREATbook named
The Art and Craft of Woodblock Printmaking : Woodblock Printmaking with Oil-bases Inks and the Japanese Watercolour Woodcut (ISBN-10: 9515580854)
Everyone should read it, the japanese woodcut section is informative and just great.

So we need ply, veneer and glue of some sort, and sandpaper, and some more stuff i'll guess..
Let's roll.

Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:00 pm
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Joined: Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:03 am
Posts: 4
Post pine Plywood
I bought a 12mm plywood(fir tree) 2400m x 1200mm, about 2,9 m2. price 32 euros.
And it would give 27 Obansize blocks(39x26,5cm)!

I had to handsaw the big plywood, that was sweaty :D
I cut some Obansizes and some bigger sizes, the obanblocks with sidegrain, and the bigger with vertical grain.

Very helpful people at the woodstore, and they just laughed when they heard that I just had my bicycle in the snow weather and no truck.

Next thing is to buy birch ply and tin veneers.
If someone know what kind of glue is suitable to paste the thin veneer to the ply, please let me know.

Cheers ( I love my bicycle)

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Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:26 pm
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:30 pm
Posts: 194
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Post Re: Making own woodblocks - experiment
Magnus, thanks for keeping up up-to-date with your experiments.

As for the bicycle, you are a man after my own heart! The 'baby carrier' on the back of my own bicycle was long ago converted to use for carrying wood back from the lumber store!

I have no idea if your plan will work, but I would perhaps suggest that you use a thick veneer, rather than the very thin one that you mention. Thin veneers are trouble, and you will almost certainly find small pieces chipping off, once you start carving.

Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:56 pm
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Joined: Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:03 am
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Post Some more shopping..
Hello again folks.

Today I had a day off and I jumped on my ride, and hunted for some more wood, this is the results of the huntingtrip.

Three blocks of fine birch ply, and this time I didn't have to handsaw the ply :D

And I wanted some thicker veneer(thanks for the suggestion David), but they didn't have any, so i bought 8 small pieces to play with.
To see, feel and smell, and test with :D

I will write some observations of the different types of woods.

Peer - It's a really fine, dense grain structure, looks like it could work for detail works perhaps.
Cherry - American cherry, looks good, a little more porous than the peer.
Alder - this is the wood the book recommended to apply with the fir ply(soft blocks) fine grains structure.
Olive - Just looks so beautiful, like a watercolourpainting.
Lace wood - Really interesting texture, like crocodile dandees boots : )
Curly Birch - Very hard cheat, took this for the texture too..
Maple - A wood recommended from the book, for hard blocks(fine details). Really really fine surface, I just love the feel of this wood.
With streight grain, resembles peer in feel.
Ash - Verystrong texture, with strong vertical strains, should show in the print.

Really refreshing to have some real wood in my hands, It speaks so much more, straight language..
Im still referring to the book, because I don't have any own experience jet, but soon this will change.
Im interested to see what kind of texture these veneers leaves when printed, and just testing if it's even possible
to carv 0,6mm thin veneers. This is all I got, so I have to test with these, I'll hope to find thicker veneers in the future, but for now these have
to do.

Next step is to find out what glue/glues would work to stick the veneers to the plywoods.
The birch ply had some strong waterresistant glue they told me, so I guess the ply wount "suck" any water, if so, does a 0,6mm veneer
suck up the water and pigment by itself, this tiny skin of wood :D
(I have no tools either)

Till next time
(feels kind of speaking to myself in a room, but it's okey, it's kind of nice :)

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Fri Dec 03, 2010 4:36 pm
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:30 pm
Posts: 194
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Post Re: Making own woodblocks - experiment
speaking to myself in a room

Magnus, don't worry about this. First, remember that it's early December now, and a lot of people (me, for one!) are very busy with the approaching year-end and holiday season preparation.

But the second is more important - these pages will be here for a long time, perhaps a very long time. Every day of the year, (literally) hundreds of people visit the woodblock.com website, usually parachuting in from a Google search. Even the pages of this support forum, new as they are, are already getting many repeat visits.

So don't worry about the immediate lack of response to your contributions - the data you are providing will become part of the overall 'package' of information available to those who follow you later on ...

Thanks for keeping us in touch!

Fri Dec 03, 2010 11:19 pm
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Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2010 2:16 am
Posts: 11
Location: Kongsberg - Norway
Post Re: Making own woodblocks - experiment
Hi Magnus!
I'm looking foreward to hear your results. Post pictures!
My testing with Shina plywood was no good. The outer veneer is too thin for my taste.

Kind Regards,
Aase Maj

Mon Dec 06, 2010 4:40 pm
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