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F. Morley Fletcher

This is needed for driving the larger chisels.

Fig 5

In printing colour the paper may be slightly damper than it should be for key-block impressions, and a heavier pressure is necessary on the baren if the colour masses are large. If the baren is pressed lightly the colour will not completely cover the paper, but will leave a dry, granular texture. Occasionally this quality may be useful, but as a rule a smooth, evenly printed surface is best. It will be found that smooth, even printing is not obtained by loading the block with colour or paste, but by using the least possible quantity of both, and nearly dry paper.

These are all the tools that are needed for block cutting. For keeping them in order it is well to have oilstones of three grades:

Fig 6

The paper made by the Japanese from the inner bark of young shoots of the mulberry and certain other plants of similar fibre is beyond all others the best for wood-block printing. It is in itself a very remarkable material, and is used in Japan for a great variety of purposes, on account of the strength and toughness due to its long silky fibre.

Beside the printing of flat masses of colour, one of the great resources of block printing is in the power of delicate gradation in printing. The simplest way of making a gradation from strong to pale colour is to dip one corner of a broad brush into the colour and the other corner into water so that the water just runs into the colour: then, by squeezing the whole width of the brush broadly between the thumb and forefinger so that most of the water is squeezed out, the brush is left charged with a tint gradated from side to side.

by F. Morley Fletcher


1. A carborundum stone for rapidly re-covering the shape of a chipped or blunt tool.

2. A good ordinary oil stone.

3. A hard stone for keeping a fine edge on the knife in cutting line blocks. The American "Washita" stone is good for this purpose.

Plate IV
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