Woodblock Prints

Occasionally back in the day,  I would breakout the linoleum blocks and the speedball cutting tools, and carve out a design to make block prints.  My experience in making prints spans from potato carvings to cardboard stencils, linoleum and wood blocks.  As designs became larger, complex, and multi-color, the time it would take to carve the block plates, made finishing a project difficult at best.

Then, the laser cutter…..

Using the adobe suite of products I created two black and white drawings to be translated to wood blocks.

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Unlike traditional transfer/carving methods, I decided to utilize the 60W laser to etch the images into poplar wood vs. carving.  I chose poplar for its hardness and ability not to warp as easy as pine or other softer woods.  60W laser setting was 100 power, 60%speed, 500 PPI

The image below is a 5″x7″ laser cut of the black plate of the rooster image.


Top-Left is the black plate for the left facing rooster.  Bottom-left is the red plate for the left facing, top-right – red plate, bottom right – black plate

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The following image shows the red left-facing plate printed, and the black plate inked up and ready to be printed

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The first red/black rooster print, along side the right facing black print.

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And of course, if you do one, you have to do many.





The rooster head above was cast in aluminum at the space on July 25th.  Steps of the process are outlined below.

First, carve rooster out of plasticine modeling clay.  The clay comes in many forms and can be purchased at most art stores



Next, make a 2 part mold.  The left image shows the plasticine rooster in a bed of sand, dusted with parting compound.  (parting compound helps separate the 2 parts to remove the clay core)

I then mixed up a batch of resin bonded sand (90 Mesh sand, resin and catalyst) and covered the clay core (about 2 inches high)

The right image shows the cured resin bonded sand with the clay core still in place.  I re-dusted with parting compound and mixed another batch of sand.  Note the 3 dimples that were added to help “key” the mold when reassembling.

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After the second batch of sand cured (24 hrs) I split the mold apart revealing the open mold on the left and the clay core in place on the right.  Removing the clay, you can see the 2 halves of the mold ready to be reassembled for casting.  Note the “key” locations on the right image.

The pour hole (sprue) that was carved into the middle of the neck for pouring the metal, is not shown.

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After pouring the metal, allowing some cool time, you can see the mold broken apart in the left image.  Remove the pour sprue, and clean up the flashing (seen in the right image) and with a little polishing, its good to go.

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I encourage everyone to try it out!