Printing woodblocks in an etching press

(Entry by Ruth Leaf)

Materials needed:


Before drawing the image on the block a very thin wash of india ink and water can be brushed on the block (lots of water with a little bit of ink). This allows you to see where you have cut. The image can then be traced with carbon paper or drawn directly on the block.

After the first block is cut, prepare for printing by turning the the roller down to touch the thin strips on either side of the bed - tight enough to keep the strips of wood in the press but not so tight as to make a mark on them. Ink your block and place it in the registers. Put the paper over the print. Place the chipboard over the paper, and roll the print through. If the impression is too light you can add another board and roll through again.

It's better to use more boards than to make the press too tight. The pressure should not be so tight that the block jumps when the roller moves off. Lower the roller or add boards and print until the the ink is properly distributed.

If your press has adjustment dials note the numbers after you are satisfied with the print, so that you don't have repeat the testing.

To transfer the image of the first block to the second block:

This page Copyright Ruth Leaf 1999