In my 'spare time' this week I've been testing out some woodcut tools,
trying to determine which is the best option
when teaching classes and for students to purchase for their own use.
|Top: Pfeil Chisels (left), Edward Lyons Wood Carve Set (right)|
Bottom: Yoshi Japanese Woodcut Tools, GX (left), box of 7 (right)
Here is the range of options I've got to play with at the moment:
Swiss made, constructed with chrome vanadium alloy.
These are serious wood carving chisels!
Great quality but less maneuverable.
I have a set that includes 9/5 & 9/7 gouges, 12/6 & 12/10 60-degree V's,
and fine tips 11 & 12 with palm handles for detail.
Dimensions of tools: Handle length 13.5cm, diameter 2.2cm, shaft length 11cm.
Cost: $50-$100 per chisel!
This set of 6 have straight handles (but also comes as palm or ball handle options)
or can be purchased individually to suit your needs.
Made from high-carbon tool steel, they are heat treated and tempered
to the ideal hardness for carving wood or lino, and easily resharpened.
Set has 2 gouges, a knife, a V tool, a straight chisel and a bent chisel tool.
Dimensions of tools: Handle length 10cm, diameter 2.2cm, shaft length 6cm.
Cost: Approx $100 for set of 6, or $20 each.
Yoshiharu Japanese Woodcut Set (available from National Art Supplies)
Set of 5 (on left) with soft grey rubber handles, 'easy' on the hands and non-slip.
Comes with strong plastic case, each tool colour-coded with blade shape.
Can be sharpened. (GX are slightly better quality than the TX range)
Dimensions of tools: Handle length 13cm, diameter 1.5cm, shaft length 2.5cm.
Set of 7 comes in cardboard box, with thin 15cm wooden handles. Can be sharpened.
Dimensions of tools: Handle length 15cm, diameter 1.5cm, shaft length 2.5cm.
Cost: Approx $70 for set of 7
The ones with wooden handles can also be ordered separately for $10 each.
There are also the very economical Chinese boxed sets
stocked by some art supply and hardware stores, often for ridiculously cheap prices.
I dare say 'you get what you pay for' as far as quality goes,
they don't respond well to sharpening, but sufficient for a one-off project.
Cost: Approx $10-15 for set of 10.
Our students are generally using MDF to make woodcuts, rather than grained wood,
as it is easier to cut and sufficiently durable for editions of less than 50 prints.
I am keen to get your feedback and ideas from those of you who make woodcuts
as to what tools you use, and if you have any other recommendations...
What do you think??? Any feedback welcome!