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Re: Wood Block Prep

I thought I was told by Toni Eichenberg that it took forty years or more for
the glued Boxwood bocks to be cured enough for carving--and that preparing
the wood for creating the blocks was a Turkish art that was dying out.
Furthermore that towards the end of his life, Fritz Eichenberg had a
terrible time finding sources for prepared boxwood blocks suitable for him
to carve upon

Louis H. Silverstein

At 12:08 AM 2/12/97 -0500, Michael E. Morin wrote:
>On Tue, 11 Feb 1997, Lee Cooper wrote:
>> I have been struggling with the cutting of several wood blocks and have
>> tried some end grain as well.  I finally broke down and bought some boxwood
>> to use instead of pieces from me scrap wood box containing cherry, mahogany
>> and several others. I have taken my boxwood and sawn it nearly type high
>> slices across the grain.  I have tried sanding with a belt sander.  While
>> they look good and feel smooth by furniture makers standards I find there
>> are still low or high spots when I try to print them, of course after I
>> have carved them.
>> The boxwood is wonderful, smooth and firm and even.  How do I go about
>> preparing the blocks for end grain carving??
>> Thanks for any and all insight.
>If your boxwood is still green (fresh cut) slice overthick disks like
>salami.  Boxwood only comes 6-8 inches in dia.  Make one saw cut from
>outside edge through the annual rings to the center of the slice.  Let
>dry at least a year.  The saw cut will release the wood's inner stress
>and instead of a spider's web of cracking the wood will shrink evenly,
>enlarging the thin sawcut into a wedge shape.  In other words all the
>shrinking takes place in one spot, like a pie with one slice missing.
>Some woodturners use PEG solution (polyethelene Glycol?) to soak the wood
>blanks first which reduces the shrinking considerably.  Oil the dried
>blanks with danish oil or tung oil.
>Sanding is best done by adhering the various grits of sandpaper to a
>perfectly flat surface (I use a leveled litho stone but a piece of plate
>glass will do) Rub the block into the sandpaper until flat.  You will find
>that you will produce a flatter block rubbing the block instead of the paper.
>Flatten one side to final grit.  The back of the block can be made
>paralell (sp?) several ways.  For large blocks (8x10+) the best is to find
>someone with a power drum sander or drum sanding attachment for a radial arm
>saw.  I would use a millimg machine or a power router.  Any router or router
>jig book should have plans to make a simple surface planning jig.  If your
>blocks are small glue the finished side to a larger flat plywood sheet with
>a layer or 2 of newspaper white glued between the block and the plywood.
>Once planed the block can be popped off the plywood with a shape chisel.
>Sand of the newspaper, oil and your ready to engrave.
>     M I C H A E L   M O R I N                M.F.A., M.L.S.
>Director Celtic Press               Instructional Media Librarian
>  Buffalo  New York                  D'Youville College Library
>                    ba202@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>         Co-Moderator Buffalo Free-Net Preservation SIG
>    Member Buffalo Free-Net Information Development Committee

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