POSITIVE ENGRAVING QUALITIES, TIPS ON BLOCK CARE, COMPARISON WITH OTHER ENGRAVING MEDIA, SUBJECT RANGE, A GALLERY OF PRINTS
POSITIVE ENGRAVING EXPERIENCE
SMOOTH TOOL TRAVEL -- Rather than be constrained in style by short stroke or stippling, on Resingrave long, sinuous cuts are easy to execute along with tightly curved ones that remain non-mangled at their corners (the "varicose vein" look). Combined with easy control of cut width variation, a copperplate style is readily achievable.
CRUSH RESISTANCE -- As a synthetic medium, Resingrave is not prone to crushing when engraved, as happens with end grain hardwoods that leave white whiskers at the commencement of bold cuts in the print. Combined with Resingrave's engraving sensitivity for fine detail, very small irregularly shaped white space can be cleared precisely and cleanly, a great set for the black line style.
VARIABLE LINE WIDTH CONTROL -- Resingrave has a very sensitive response to alteration of graver angle as it travels to create cut width variation. Stacked in parallel alignments, this was a favorite technique of highly skilled commercial engravers in the 19th century who used it to generate graded tones. A good example of the technique on Resingrave is provided by this engraving by Barry Moser of a portrait of Pliny.
RESPONSE TO POWERED ROTARY BITS -- Resingrave responds very well to powered rotary bits, such as those made available to popular tools made by Dremel® or Foredom®. Unlike many other plastics, Resingrave will not char or melt and any pits or grooves created retain sharp, clean edges. Being able to use rotary bits with Resingrave affords the opportunity to clear out large white space areas effortlessly as well as conveniently, and generate a fine stippling effect with twist drills for graded tone.
PRECISE LOCATION OF CUTS ON TONED BLOCK SURFACE -- The ability to reveal cuts instantly as they will appear in the print means that they can be located with extreme precision. Such a quality is invaluable when straight, or particularly curved cuts, must be laid down in parallel. Engraving of fine detail is also greatly benefited by this opportunity for precise cut location.
RESINGRAVE'S PHYSICAL QUALITIES OF DENSITY AND INTEGRITY -- Engraving of fine detail is achievable on Resingrave to a degree attainable with boxwood because close crowding of fine cuts does not result in crumbling of the block's surface.
USEFUL TIPS ON BLOCK CARE AND USAGE
MINIMIZING THE RISK OF CHIPPED CUTS -- Resingrave can still be at risk of chipping under very heavy tool pressure especially toward the end of bold cuts. Go slow and ease off the tool pressure as much as possible. Also avoid plunging the tip of the graver into the block and prizing back. Keep gravers well sharpened and if needed use a powered rotary bitburr instead to create the bold cut.
CLEANING INK OFF BLOCK SURFACES AFTER PRINTING -- Resingrave is chemically very resistant to solvents (except methylene chloride in paint stripper). This makes it all easier to clean the block after printing but care must be taken not to expose the fiber board support for more than a few minutes to water or denatured alcohol or it will swell.
BLOCK WARPING -- This can happen to any plastic clad engraving block after prolonged exposure to excessive humidity or dryness. Resingrave blocks can be safely rescued by fanning with warm air or applying a moist pad, appropriately, to the unclad side.
FIXING MINOR ENGRAVING ERRORS ON RESINGRAVE -- These can be conveniently repaired with an off-the-shelf epoxy resin glue kit. Engraving accidents or design alterations, following the cleaning out of existing cuts, can be plugged with the repair resin and sanded back flush with the block surface ready for re-engraving. Further information can be found in the official Relief and Intaglio Printmaking Methods on Resingrave Blocks manual available for purchase.
RESINGRAVE COMPARED TO OTHER ENGRAVING MEDIA
END GRAIN HARDWOODS -- Because of annual growth rings in this natural medium, steel gravers have to travel through alternating harder and softer textured woods. This tends to make the graver travel in a slightly jerkier fashion, especially the less dense end grain hardwoods. Also, the less dense, the more crushable the stack of "xylem tubes" with more susceptibility to bruising and denting along with some loss of engraving detail.
SYNTHETIC MEDIA (PLASTICS) -- Except for Resingrave, formulated especially for wood engraving, plastics are off-the-shelf materials intended for other applications, not readily available for retail sale and usually needing preparation such as cutting apart and mounting for engraving use. At least they are relatively cheap and useful as practice materials. Plastics range in texture from soft and gummy to hard and rock like. Many excellent engravings have been created from synthetic media but within the stylistics constraints of their particular physical properties. The softer ones yield clinging tailings at the end of cuts which is hardly user friendly and the harder ones can chip and skid.
A GALLERY OF PRINTS WITH RESINGRAVE
Following is a collection of print images by Resingrave inventor and master engraver Richard Woodman illustrating the wide range of subject content achievable with Resingrave engraving. (Subjects below include: Portraits, scenery, wild life genre, architecture, greeting card, vegetation, marine as in ships, occupational, humor, and historic)