Sunday, February 25, 2007

Preparing Some Wood

Got a big week coming up in my teaching schedule-- the 2D classes at both of my schools will be starting woodcut projects. With bad weather coming into the area and possibly no other time to do it, I went up to the Studio early this afternoon to cut up a bunch of the wood I bought recently. First, used my ancient scrolling saw to cut my 2'x4' panels into 36 smaller pieces of 8"x6" each. (I only need 28 for the classes, but it's good to have a few extras for demos and such.) The blade is designed to leave the top free of splinters, but no such luck on the back sides, so I used sandpaper to clear those off, then set them aside.
I get itchy when I'm not actively working on something, so I next cut another piece of wood, this one large enough for a 10"x7" Everyman print. With pencil I laid out the exterior borders, then applied wood filler. As shown in the photo, I use a plastic putty knife to first spread thick along the grain, then pull the knife on its edge to scrape it back up again, leaving just a thin layer in the cracks. Let it dry, and reapply to any areas that I missed the first time. I let it completely dry again, then take it outside and lightly sand with 220 sandpaper. The result is a glass-smooth surface that is much easier to draw on (and erase), less grain to break up the solid black areas, and less splintering while cutting. I redrew the faint pencil lines, then called it a day, getting home just before the snow. I'm still working out some ideas for this next saint, so it may be a while before I'm back working on this block, but I'll be ready when the time comes.


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