Preppin’ the Woodblock

Preppin’ the Woodblock

I spent most of my weekend prepping two large cut pieces of  birch plywood. Each block measures 24×36″ and is 3/4″ inch thick. Both sides of each block will be carved so I went ahead and prepared all sides. Below are pictures of the process. Not pictured is  my regular trip to Lowe’s where I carefully examine each piece of birch ply in stock and obsess over wood grain and knots. I also take advantage of their complimentary lumber cutting service on site so I don’t have to make any unnecessary sacrifices to the Lumber gods via hand saw.

First, I have to have my ideas worked out in my sketchbook before I even think about prepping my blocks.

I stain the blocks a warm hue. This helps me in the later stage of carving so I can better see my mark making.

Once the stain dries, I sand them with a fine grit sandpaper and thinly coat them with polyurethane to help prevent splintering while carving.

After the polyurethane is dry, I freehand the image onto the block and adjust as needed. I then proceed to block in the design with black sharpie.

Two of the four designs ready to be carved.

Two of the four designs ready to be carved.

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