Experiments with a plank

I found a couple of bone dry planks when I was retrieving one of our Jack Russell Terriers from an old farm building and asked the farmer if I could have them for some woodcuts. Once I got them home I sanded the face back a little to smooth it down and then reduced the back to bring the block to roughly type height. Then a swiftly drawn image of a fish onto the cutting surface and started hacking. When I started the cutting stage I found that a millimetre or so down into the wood were the signs of long dead woodworm but I decided to persevere and find out how it printed despite the fragility of the printing surface. Here’s the result, a five colour woodcut of an underwater view of a Ruffe, or Pope, with one colour printed from the surface of the wood before cutting, three colours from paper stencils and the final image from the cut plank. Did I learn a lot? Yes I did, and this experiment was well worth the patient effort because the next one will be ‘easier’. You can’t beat learning from your mistakes and I definitely wasn’t expecting wood crumbling to dust.


  1. Very ipressive John. Must be a reflection of my changing fishing tastes as its at least fifty years since I caught a Pope, upper reaches of the Lea I think.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I still catch them when I’m fishing for Pike bait in the old Nene that runs through the village and I always put them back, I love the colours. The old LAA method of laying on with a tiny worm or maggot always works. All the best, John

      Liked by 1 person

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