JOHN De POL'S

HOW TO MAKE A WOOD ENGRAVING

6. The tracing is removed to reveal a good transfer of the image which appears as dark gray on the black surface. 

7. Sharp tools are a necessity. These cut the dense hard surface of the block with ease. A tool is first ground down on an Indian bench stone. The point is then honed down on the square white hard Arkansas stone to impart a scalpel-sharp triangle-shaped cutting edge having a jewel-like brilliance. The rig is a specially made device to hold the tool at the proper angle while sharpening. 

8. The shaft of the tool is held between the thumb and forefinger, with the wooden handle placed firmly in the palm of the hand. It is then pushed, plow-like, through the surface of the block deep enough to see a shaving. 

9. The tracing is suspended at the edge of the lampshade where it may be referred to as the engraving progresses. The image is fragile and easily rubbed off. A piece of thin card is placed on the block to protect it, as well as to protect those lines already engraved from the heel of the engraving tool. 

10. The engraving proceeds, using a medium size spitsticker (elliptical tint tool) which has curved sides and makes single lines. The lines are reworked to even them up, and to smooth them out. With just several tools, the most detailed composition can be accomplished. These would be three medium sized spitstickers and two scorpers (gravers-one round and one square) for clearing large areas. (See Appendix B, Tools for engraving) 

 

 
 

 

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