The block is commonly made of pear-tree or box, and differs in thickness according to its size. The surface for the engraving is on the transverse section of the wood; the subject is drawn upon it with a pen and Indian-ink, with all the finishing that is required to have in the impression. The spaces between the lines are cut away with knives, chisels, and gouges, leaving the lines that have been drawn with the ink.
The taking impressions from blocks of wood differs from that of copper-plate in this, that in the latter they are delivered from the incision, while in the wooden blocks they are delivered from the raised part.
_To Prepare Box-wood for Engraving._
The wood being chosen, and cut into a proper form and size, it must be planed as evenly and truly as possible, and will be then ready to receive the drawing or chalking of the design to be engraved.
Now take white-lead and temper it with water, by grinding; then spread it first thinly on the surface by a brush pencil, and afterwards rub it well with a fine linen rag, while yet wet, and when it is dry, brush off any loose or powdery part by a soft pencil.
If the design be sketched on the wood by drawing, it may be done by Indian or common ink (but the first is far preferable), either by a pen or pencil, or by a black-lead pencil, though that scarcely marks strongly enough for finer work.
Return to The Household Cyclopedia of General Information