Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Spoiler: More event stamp carving...

Just a quick update on the event carving that I've been diligently working on (lies, all lies).

It's taking a heck of a lot of time - I would estimate that I've put over 15 hours into this so far.  But I'm making epic progress, I have completed everything under the dome/atmosphere, and everything outside is somewhat easier. I figure two more hours into this and I'll be done... Glory day.

Monday, May 28, 2012

How to annoy local letterboxers *or* Why I'm loving this soft linoleum...

Okay, as a follow up to the last post, an update on a real carve of the new soft grey linoleum I picked up at DeSerres last week.  I've been contemplating the best ways to annoy local letterboxers, and I figure changing up my signature stamp again would be most effective.  I've been contemplating a new carve, which is both an image and letters, and I thought this would be perfect to really test the new material.

It looks shiny because the xylene was still damp.  But you can see the flawless transfer.
First off, my worries about being able to transfers onto this material given its dark colour are completely unfounded and I am more than happy with the results of my standard xylene transfer.

As you can see, the xylene actually produced a flawless creamy transfer onto the medium.  It looks white in the image to the right because it was still a little wet and reflected the light off of it.

Although the image was in black and the material is dark grey, the transfer was so good that it made no difference to me compared to transfers onto white material while carving under my magnifying light.

Here with a different angle to avoid the light glare, you can see that the transfer actually looks like I took a sharpie to it (I did not).  The image is clear and easily carvable.

You can see the lighter grey in the carved out portions here.
Next, the carving itself was really easy.  The material is really quite soft - more so than any other materials I currently use (pink stuff, Firm Cut, MZ, NZ).  As you carve, the carved out hollows actually look slightly lighter grey.  The material actually handles a bit differently - not better or worse, just different - and I think would take some getting used to. Carving the letters with the knife was a breeze, so was carving the image with gouges.

The hard part was physically holding the material because it is so thin (I hold my carvings in my left hand while carving with my right, rather than leaving the material flat on the table while I carve).  My happy solution was to tape it to a piece of acrylic which worked great.

Here are the completed and stamped images from my new signature stamp.  At the top is the impression using traditional dye ink, below is from pigment. 

I'm not sure how well this material would do with a highly detailed image.  Something makes me think that the material would not lend itself to them, particularly over a letterbox's lifespan.  But I'm talking about the REALLY highly detailed images.

Because the material is so soft, carving is a pleasure as the tools zip through the material without any force.  In fact, I could fault this stuff by saying the tools move through it too easily, but I suspect that is more from all the carving I've been doing on Firm Cut lately.

All in all, very, very happy with this material and I will be definitely buying up a whole ton of this stuff next time I'm out Oakville way.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Testing out new material: soft linoleum

Greetings everyone! Hope you are having a fantastic Victoria Day long weekend, full of letterboxing goodness!

Thin soft grey linoleum on the left, largest size of Speedy Carve on the right.
I've been doing some excellent letterboxing myself, which I will likely recount here later, but I just wanted to check in and tell you how happy I am with a new carving material I tried out recently.

The short story is this: all in all, I would definitely use it again.  It carves really, really well with both knife and gouge.  The stamping registrations are the best of any material I've used, by FAR, and the price certainly can't be beat.
There are some definite downsides with this stuff - I think the dark colour will make xylene transfers hard, if not impossible, for detailed carves, and the stuff has to be mounted - it is far too thin to be just put in a box by itself.

I have no idea what it is really called, but it is a dark grey, thin, flexible, linoleum that I bought at DeSerres for super cheap ($7 with no coupon for a size comparable to the $30 sized pink stuff from Michael's).

Anyways, see the pictures below for my comments.  I'm going to try with some transfers - I'm wondering whether my colour laser printer that transfers nicely might not work if I print in yellow rather than black... stay tuned!

Trying to free hand draw - you can see how thin this stuff is and how hard it is to see the pencil lines.

I went over my drawing with black Sharpie - much easier to see.  Carving with the gouge was an absolute pleasure.

You can see how thin it is here - I could actually cut the material with a standard pair of scissors.

Cut out and outlined - probably less than 30 seconds after I started.

Done carving - just have to cut the image out to get rid of the background.  I did this with a hobby knife, was super easy.

Mounted it up just like I would any other stamp.

Show time: absolute flawless registration.  I literally gasped when I saw it: the stamp registration dark areas are completely coloured in when using ColorBox pigment ink, hardly having to press at all. The areas in the lower left are lighter only because of the shine from the wet ink - the whole dark area was inked really nicely.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Spoiler: ten thousand cuts

Just a little more of the upcoming event stamp. I'm prone to cutting myself because I actually hold the material in the air rather than safely down on the desk while carving. On a related note, I just found out that I am woefully behind in my tetanus boosters. Oops.

The entire sky is now complete. The tree is next, then the man.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Girls, girls, girls...

So, I've finished all my carving for Wink Wink, Nudge Nudge and spent some time this morning putting together a logbook for this short pinup word of mouth series that will be posted just before the event.

The leading ladies for the soon-to-be-planted letterbox series 

In the past, I've not been so hot to trot about logbooks.  I love old logbooks and the joy they bring when finding an old box, but putting them together in the past has really not been my thing.  It was always that list niggling thing that needed to be done before I could get out and plant - usually meaning that it was an afterthought and there are some pretty crummy logbooks out there in some of my older boxes.

That's changed in recent boxes and I've been trying my hand at different types of book binding.  I actually went so far as to pick up a couple books on it while visiting the Toronto craft show a few months back.  I've taken my time on a couple logs now... In particular, I spent quite a bit of time on the Touch of Voodoo logbook, though no one has mentioned it... I hope it is holding up well, it has no stitching...

So, with the need for a new logbook for this new series, I set off this morning to make a cute logbook to match the series.  Here's what happened:

All done, now they just need to be planted.  Everything seems to be falling into place for Wink Wink, hope you can make it!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Some of the things I've been doing today...

Today, I carved two stamps for Wink Wink, planted two boxes, bought and sprayed two whole boxes of lock 'n locks... And it's not even 4.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Day of Sorrow

I've done it.

I've done the unthinkable.

I've... killed my Staedlter 1v.  *sob*

All I wanted to do was sharpen it.  It needed sharpening.  It *deserved* sharpening.  So I went to Home Depot, got everything Kirbert says I need, and went at it.  Now... *sob*... Now, It will barely dent my rubber, let alone cut it.

What have I done?!  WHAT HAVE I DONE!?!

Please stay tuned for memorial information.