Chapter 6

THE STUDENT’S BOOK OF

WOOD-ENGRAVING

CHAPTER 6

PREPARING THE BLOCK

eric gillWhen you have worked out the design to your satisfaction, the next step is to blacken the surface of the block so that the work can be seen as it progresses. This is best done with ordinary writing ink. There are engravers who advise rubbing the surface lightly with powdered bath-brick and water to take down some of the high polish before applying the ink. There is , however, a danger that one may take off some of the surface along with the polish and so cause some of the blacks to print unevenly. Some engravers use Indian ink, but this is inclined to be too thick, and sometimes chips off during the engraving of fine lines. I find ordinary ink quite dark enough. It will sink into the wood and cannot be rubbed off, even although several prints are pulled while the work is proceeding and although the block is cleaned with turpentine after printing.

The lines cut by the engraving tool show up so well against the blackened surface that they can be seen just as easily on the block as on the print; and no proof should really be necessary till the whole design is finished. Then, if it is found that any additions are required, it is a simple matter to add them.

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