Monday, February 8, 2016

The Ultimate Carving Material Guide is coming!!

OMG guise! Guise... GUYS!  You should see my craft desk.  It's amazing.  It's beautiful.  It's covered, just absolutely covered... in carving material.  All amounts, all sizes, all colours of the rainbow (not really, but more colours than usual).

Since I have been going through carving material a lot more than usual, I have put orders in for a whole bunch of different types of carving materials which have slowly been coming in.  My desk is just about covered in carving material (it's beautiful) and I'm a little teary over here.

So here is the plan: although some of these I've carved before, many are completely new to me.  COMPLETELY NEW! I'm so excited, I can barely contain my carving knives.  I need to come up with a design that I am going to carve in each of the mediums, and then report back - all scientific like - and let you know what I think.  The problem with other online reviews is that they are usually about one or two carving mediums and you have no idea if the person has actually compared the carve with other mediums...

Thirteen (13) different carving materials.
See that photo? See it! That's what I have so far.  Starting with the pink stuff I have in the bottom middle, here's what I have going sorta clockwise around the photo:
  • Speedy Carve (2013) by Speedball
  • Speedy Cut Easy by Speedball
  • Soft Kut Print Block by ???
  • Clear Carve Lino by Richeson
  • very dark grey lino from DeSerres
  • Softoleum from Above Ground
  • Speedy Carve (2009) by Speedball
  • EZ Cut by Dick Blick
  • Clear Printmaking Blocks by Blum
  • Blue Easy-To-Cut by Dick Blick
  • Moo Carve by NCTC Inc.
  • OZ Kut by Stampeaz
  • OZ Kut - B by Stampeaz
 Aren't they beautiful? Aren't you jealous?

Okay, missing from this stash: Speedball's Speedy Cut (*vomits a little in mouth*), MasterCarve (which I believe has been discontinued), other Stampeaz formulations (are they all gone now? Just OZ?), and the few different types of carving material that I see from asia (some of which the AQ Boards refer to as SLQ). Am I missing anything?

I'm thinking I might actually order any of the remaining types of carving materials out there just so I can round out the set so that I can do an epic, comprehensive and charted review and comparison.  Love it.

Okay, so off the top, here are the things I am going to report back on:
  • Price per square inch
  • Thickness, in mm
  • Floppiness
  • Crumbliness 
  • Transferability
  • Ease of slice - gouge and knife
  • How well it holds fine detail
  • How well it inks - various inks
  • How well it prints large negative areas
  • How well it holds up after washing/scrubbing
  • Each medium's super power
  • Best uses
Am I missing any factors you'd like to have feedback on?  Email me or comment below - I'm happy to add other characteristics to the matrix if anyone has any particular factors they consider.

Happy carving!

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