Thursday, September 18, 2014


As the saying goes, "Some days the bear eats you and some days you eat the bear." It's not often I get to eat the bear and the other day the bear certainly took a bite out of me. I had been starting to engrave a new block (Star-Nosed Mole) by clearing some large areas that I knew were definitely not going to be in the print. Usually I wait to make sure, before removing large areas because once the wood has been removed it can't be put back. Of course, since this was a large area and the Foredom electric engraving tool I use removes wood  quicker and easier than hand tools, that's what I was using. As I was breezing along with my task, something happened. I probably pulled the tool when I should have pushed. The bit went tearing across the wood in the wrong direction! (note the photo)

I've been asked if the electric engraving tool is easier or quicker than the hand tool. The answer is, sometimes, yes. But it also can have a mind of it's own and does what it wants to do. This was one of those moments. It's like any other power tool. It needs to be used with care. But then, so does a hand tool. I've had accidents with hand engraving tools as well.

There's another saying, "If the world hands you lemons, make lemonade". I looked more carefully at the block I had been engraving and could see that it had low areas (which I should have noticed before drawing and starting to engrave). As I looked at what I had drawn on the damaged block and looked back at the sketches I had made prior to starting the block I became dissatisfied with the composition I had chosen from the sketchbook. So, the bottom line was that starting over on a new block was a good thing.

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