Friday, April 8, 2016

Carving Material Review: Soft-Kut

Soft Kut carving block
So this was one of many different carving materials that I bought from Dick Blick.  The cost for the block was very reasonable, so I added it to my list.

My first thoughts about this material are: ew, gross.  It's floppy and feels like compressed marshmallow.  Very floppy and yet its texture made me think of Speedy Cut and so I had very low hopes.  While it's not my favourite carving medium, it's certainly decent and workable... Read on for more!


The material is light grey and, as I said, very floppy.  The texture is quite velvety and nice to feel, with no pilling although there feels like a powder is on the material, though nothing comes off when you handle it.

Size and Weight:

This material is about 6 mm thick and quite light.  It really does feel like compressed marshmallow or feel like skin.  


My heat transfer went well.  There wasn't any melting or problems with the transfer - in fact, the material gave a really good dark transfer.

But, when I went to cut the piece out of the larger slab, I have to admit: the cutting experience is like cutting through flesh (I mean, what I *expect* it is like to carve through flesh, I'm not a murderer...).

Crumble Factor:

Pretty much zero - the material has incredible stretch and flex which can be tricky, but zero amount of crumble or pilling.


Overall, I wasn't too happy with carving the soft-kut, partly because my style of carving involves holding the piece I'm carving up and under my magnifier (as opposed to letting it lay flat on the table and carving while it is down).  While holding it, the flop factor made it really hard to keep the material positioned so the transfer wasn't distorted while I carved.

Knife carving is a little tricky.  The material has a rubberiness that results in a bit of a jagged pull/pause/pull/pause motion that is hard to control.  The lettering here in this stamp was tricky to say the least, but it helped a lot to use a sawing motion with the knife to control what was being carved.

Gouge carving it was much easier.  Actually, it was really rather nice - smooth cuts and no jerky sensation like knife carving.  If I were going to be carving some large piece, I would imagine you wouldn't get tired carving this because it is soft and doesn't require a lot of force to carve.


It inked up and stamped well.  I was concerned that it might flex when putting pressure on the stamp - a larger one might suffer this problem.


 It's okay, not terrible.  I might want to mount it if it were a larger stamp.

1 comment:

  1. Ah yes, the grey stuff from days of yore. It can be quite good for the patient carver.