I have been struggling on with my old speedball linocut tools for many years. Dutifully sharpening them but recently it has been more and more difficult to keep the blades sharp and has made carving clean neat lines very difficult.
It is difficult sometimes living in country NSW, to get access to good information and art supplies. As for printmaking and linocut supplies they can be sparse and inconsistent across art supplies stores with many shops only stocking basic beginner tools. I have over the years come across different linocut tools that I have bought and tried but I never found any really comfortable to use.
Recently on my twitter feed I saw a short post by UK illustrator Nick Morley who specialises in the most amazing linocuts, referring to his ‘trusty Swiss gouges’. Intrigued I looked up ‘swiss linocut tools’ and found them – they are made by Pfeil.
Nick Morley also has a blog – Linocutboy.
So after a bit of searching I found them at Carbo-Tec and they were on sale! They come individually or in sets and they were on sale until 12pm Saturday – just in time I rang and they were duly shipped arriving this afternoon.
I bought 2 – the 0.5 and 1mm to trial, and am now sorry I did not agree to an early birthday/mother’s day gift for the full set. Will have to wait now until I can afford them.
They are lovely and sooo sharp, am so wanting the full set.
This particular linoblock design is part of a new series of ‘Wildflorals’ – Australian Wildflower inspired pattern designs. I will post more about the soon. They are quite complex linocut works requiring lots of small carving work. I carve generally quite deeply for the type of style I work in, so it is essential the tools I use are really sharp especially given the RSI issue I struggle with in my shoulder in particular.
I think linocut carving tools and what you ‘like’ to use can very subjective depending on the effect you want, the style you work in and even down to the size of your hands. So if you are looking for yourself you may find you like the larger flat handled carving tools, I like these types that fit into the palm of your hand with straight blades. But after just a couple of hours with these new carving tools I am very happy, so far so good.