Friday, July 1, 2016

Carving Material Review: Moo Carve by NCTC Inc.

Moo Carve carving material
Happy Canada Day! Just a reminder: for all of my carving material review posts, I've been adding all of the results in a summary format - and ranked in terms of my preference - in the "Stamp Carving Material Comparison" link on the right side of my page.

My next review is finally of the Moo Carve that has been sitting on my desk for a while.  This Korean carving material has some pretty nice reviews online, but one that alarmed me: that it was just like Staedtler's now-discontinued Mastercarve.  I couldn't stand that stuff, it was like carving a big stale marshmallow.  Ick.  As a result, I've never actually used this stuff before.

Unlike some of the other carving material from Asia, this one is actually fairly available in North America.  You can buy this at some US-based craft or art supply places, and pretty frequently it is available on Amazon or other places online.  Having said that, I think the cost has already been built in, because this stuff is fairly pricey.


This stuff comes plastic wrapped with its distinctive royal blue cardboard wrap.  Inside, I was disappointed to see one of surfaces of the material looked like this:

The contrast is up on this so you can see all the ripples.
I wouldn't want to carve anything that had a lot of positive areas on it because I would be worried that the ripples would print.  The other side was a lot better, but certainly not perfect.

It's fairly firm and not really floppy (the piece I had was about 4x6"). It certainly had a lot of give and could be bent if you pressured it, but as I said, it wasn't floppy.

Size and Weight:

The material is about 11 mm thick and pretty average in terms of weight/density.


I was very pleased with the heat transfer on this  - it came out really clear and gave really nice lines.

A nice heat transfer onto Moo Carve.  Ignore the splotch on the sail boat - user error.

Crumble Factor:

Very low - I wouldn't worry about pieces breaking off either...  It has enough of the rubbery factor that things do stick together quite well.


It wasn't until I started carving that I got a good sense of this material.  While overall I quite like it, it was a little too much like I imaging carving skin would be like, so, well, there's that.
As always, I started carving the letters and the material took to the knife really well.  Not a lot of pressure needed for the carving, but the skin-like factor means that the material moves quite a bit around lines so there is the possibility of uneven cuts (I say possibility because I was quite pleased with how the lettering turned out).

Gouge carving wise, this stuff was a pleasure.  It really does fall into the carving cliche of "carves like butter!".  Again, there's the possibility of wibble because the material flexes when you're carving into it, you can see it in the image below - see the print to the left and the wibbly border?  That should have been a nice straight line...

Oops, forgot to take a picture of the clean carved stamp...


Click to enlarge: from right, the printer, StazOn, VersaMagic, and the stamp.
No complaints - I would be concerned if I used the wrong side of this to carve with though!


This is a great middle of the road carving medium.  I like that it isn't hard on my hands to carve, but wish the surface was a little more reliably even.  Depending on whether you can get it for a good shipping cost, it might be worthwhile to try out!

1 comment:

  1. Based on your review, it looks like they improved Moo Carve. Years ago, when Mastercarve and the Staedtler gouges were still available, I reviewed this stuff. It crumbled easily.