Home > Mail Art, Printmaking, Product Reviews, Shellie Lewis' Art > Product Review: Staedtler Master Carve Block

Product Review: Staedtler Master Carve Block

Staedtler-Master-Carve-Block

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I had tried a few different kinds of soft carve media blocks as an alternative to linoleum. I did not like any of them! The prior brands were easy to carve but were not good for fine lines -or even clear lines- as the edges would cut raggedly or crumble. I carved the blocks as soon as I bought them, in case the soft media blocks can dry out and harden with time like linoleum. Then I tried a Staedtler Master Carve block and it was totally different, holding fine, clear lines like linoleum while being as easy to carve as a pencil eraser. I am so hooked on this product!

This is the carving I did with the block. I used Dockyard Microtools 1 – 2 mm V and U gouges to do the carving. I wanted the pattern of the cat to be hair-like and to also have cuts in the block delineate the fur. I also like carving with gouges a lot, seeing the line appear in one cut as it curls away from the block. Sharpie marker is helpful to get the design on the Staedtler block so it can be carved; once the ink was dry it did not smudge or wipe off.

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Carved block before printing.

Carved block before printing.

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I was thrilled with how smooth and easy the gouges cut through the block. This media would be great to carve with an Xacto knife or any other block print cutting tools. I carved the background around the cat because I wanted to print the noise and have that as a comparison to the positive image.

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Winter-2015-by-Shellie-Lewis-WEB

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I used my preference of an oil-based intaglio ink to print. Oil-based ink takes longer to dry but does not smudge and has a richer, deeper color. Both the positive design and the background noise printed wonderfully with the Staedtler Master Carve block. I used an Asian paper with some mulberry tree fibers and shiny silver flecks in each sheet for printing. The final print on this paper is very lovely. It makes me feel like a cozy cat is curled up on a snowy day so I titled this piece “Winter”.

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  1. KIT
    September 16, 2015 at 3:53 am

    OmGosh gurl…the kitty is a masterpiece! Thanks for the valuable tip on the block. I tried carving a couple of times and the block just crumbled. 😦

    • September 17, 2015 at 12:23 pm

      Soft blocks run a range of quality. I also noticed the Staedtler Master Carve came wrapped in plastic, and maybe that discourages it from drying out or maybe it is just to keep it clean.

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