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Good wood for engraving.

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  • Good wood for engraving.

    Hello! I have a small question, what wood is good for engraving? What is good for hand tools and what can i use when using machine tools. Can you tell me something about different woods and engraving. I am quite new in this.

    Thank you!

  • #2
    Hi Timmo, welcome aboard.

    Wood engraving (carving) big, big subject. You can get some books on the subject, try Amazon.

    As to materials, best carving wood with out any question is Lime. Jelutong is another that comes to mind is used in pattern making. If precise detail is required use Box, but this only comes in small pieces.

    Tools, in my opinion you can't get any better than Pfiel carving chisels, but they do come at a price. One consolation is that you can usually start out with just a few and build up your tool kit. Or try Whittling using just the one or two knives, and see how things go.

    Good luck with your endeavour.

    Tam "now a hobby woodturner"

    There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey. (John Ruskin 1819-1900)


    • #3
      I assume you are want to engrave on wood to make prints. Then the best wood beyond doubt is box. Do not let the small sizes worry you. In the Victorian period the Illustrated London News (ILN) used wood block engravings and a full page (nearly A3) was made up of 6 jointed blocks. They also used double page engravings that were nearly A2 using 12 blocks. Somewhere I do have an illustration from a Victorian book showing how they are bolted together. If I can find it I will scan and add it to this post.

      When the ILN was in a hurry to publish, one engraver would carve across the joints and then the blocks would be split between several engravers to complete before re-assembly.

      With regard to carving tools, the most critical thing is to make sure they are very sharp. Once the tool has been sharpened on a fine oil stone, it then needs to be honed on a leather with grinding paste. Continue this until the outside or back edge is almost mirror smooth. Not only does this make the cutting edge sharper, but it make the toll run over the wood more easily.

      Hope this is of help.



      • #4
        This is a wood engraving kit I have with the chisels, ink and the endgrain boxwood etc. There was a shop called TN Lawrence in London which supplied all the stuff. Anyway what happens is you carve away the stuff you want leaving white leave what you want black apply the ink to the wood and put the paper on top and firm it to get a print. You can get a superb quality fine and flowing lines that you cannot get with pens and pencils. It used to be a highly regarded art at one time with colleges teaching before photographing along with etching and litho printing and there are still a few people doing it these days. As well as hard wood you can do it on plastic and I have seen some superb plastic engraving.

        Last edited by Turn That; 20-07-2011, 08:32 PM.