Thursday, March 31, 2016

Carving Material Review: Dark Grey from DeSerres

Okay, so this is another review for a carving material that I first started using a few years ago.  This stuff doesn't have a name or any other info on it, but it's a softer lino that I've been able to use for stamps before (somewhere in the history of this blog you'll find a post about the first time I used it... wait, that was FOUR YEARS ago?!)

The upshot of this material is that it is inexpensive.  A fairly large sheet (it's really more of a sheet than a slab) is only about $8.  And it's in store, so no shipping.  (I pick this stuff up at DeSerres in the linocut area, they don't seem to sell any of this stuff online.)

This slab is dark grey.  Like really dark - it occurred to me the first time I bought it that it might be too hard to do a transfer on it, but I have found that it works under bright light... more on that later.  The texture is quite velvety without a plastic-y feel.  It's soft and thin enough that it bends and flops easily.

Size and Weight:

At just shy of 3 millimetres, this material is very difficult to carve unless it is laid flat on the the table/mat or unless it is mounted in someway to give it support.  It's very light (weight-wise, anyway).


I used acetone and xylene to transfer on this material in the past, but it works really well with heat, too.  Having said that, use a light touch with heat since the heat can warp it - and cooling down doesn't seem to correct it.  So here you see it: it's very dark.  Quite dark.  Under my magnifying lamp, the contrast between the dark grey and the black is much better - but it isn't ideal.

Very dark transfer.

Crumble Factor:

None.  This stuff doesn't pill or in any way crumble when rubbed or mauled.


It's kind of interesting to make slices into this with either a knife or gouge because the dark grey lightens up considerably, which is nice to see.
See how the grey gets lighter once you slice into the material?

The material is fairly dense making it a little bit hard for knife cutting - about the same pressure is needed for OZ Kut and hand cramps are likely after you carve for a while.  However, the material doesn't move away from your knife/gouge while carving, which is good.  The  material breaks well without that elastic connection problem.

Please ignore the ring finger stabbing.


Flawless.  I think the velvety texture does it.


As a cheap alternative, this material works for experienced carvers.  You must have a bright light and be fine with having to mount the stamp afterwards.

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