JOHN De POL'S

HOW TO MAKE A WOOD ENGRAVING

1. The subject is drawn, and redrawn, on tracing paper, using no. 2 and no. 3 pencils, until the desired composition is reached. The tracing must be precise so as to provide an accurate guide for the engraving took. Once a line is cut, it cannot be changed.   (See Appendix A, Drawings)  

2. The highly polished surface of the block, in this case Venezuelan boxwood, is rolled up with a dense black oil-base letterpress printing ink. It is rolled several times, over and over, to completely cover the surface with a thin smooth layer. The block is then allowed several days to dry. 

3. The block is now rubbed with a small amount of tallow, using the stub of an old candle. It is kneaded with the fingers, which warms and spreads the tallow to provide a smooth thin coating. 

4. The face of the tracing is carefully placed down on the surface of the block which has been sensitized by the wax coating. The edges are folded, wrapped around and secured with tape to the back of the block. 

5. The back of the tracing is firmly rubbed back and forth with a burnishing tool, or the heel of a spoon, so that the graphite drawing is transferred to the waxed surface of the block. 

 
 
 
 
Return to Page Five  Turn to Page Seven