Creatures of Habit (with guest write up by YUKE)


Carvers, like many other groups of people are creatures of habit.  We tend to do things the same way every time, once we settle on a method and/or tools that we like.  The problem with that is that, every once in awhile, this comes to a screeching halt when someone sticks a wrench in the works.

This happened to those of us that love to carve on OZ cut from this week.  Some of us were suspicious as the listings for OZ on the site started to dwindle.  I bought up 10 slabs of 4×6″ OB (b grade) when Kudichan pointed them out to me in the bargain basement at stampeaz because I figured it was a good time to buy a bunch “just in case”.

The manufacturer that provided stampeaz with OZ no longer wants to make it.  In case you missed it the first time: THE MANUFACTURER OF OZ NO LONGER WANTS TO MAKE IT.  Like Linden Leaf put it, some of us are dying inside. 

Luckily, my new friend YUKE provided us a nice summary of carving materials for our retreat last month.  She has provided it to me for you all to share.  She gave each of us that attended the retreat a small piece to try out.  I hadn’t tried mine yet because I was happily carving along with my pink and OZ.  I didn’t think I needed to try the other materials.  I am now very thankful that I have these samples!  Pink has it’s place, but I am now on my quest to find a material that has the durability and holds tiny detail and fine lines the way that OZ does.


Here is Yuke’s write up of all things carving:


These are my notes-Your milage may vary-esp with carving!

Also, magnification!!!  Good light!


Each item below has also been discussed on the boards if you want to do a search for more info than this overview provides.


Image selection:

Clip art sites

Dover Clipart books   or order from Amazon

Coloring books-“adult” and children



Search Google by: word+

                                         line art

                                        Line drawing

                                        Clip art

                                        Coloring page




You can also use google advanced search to limit your search by line art, clip art, and black & white. I have gotten different images using the advanced function.

Advanced search:


I often manipulate my images using:

Microsoft Paint



I like this one because you can specify the degree you rotate something.



Of course you can always use photoshop, or others, but the above are free .

(**editor’s note: some other useful sites that I use to edit photos are Lunapic, Rapid Resizer, and Picture to People)



Transfer Methods:

My transfer methods are often image dependant.  If the image is one I have “assembled,” often I can only use pencil.  One with a lot of black, or a complex image, I looking for something else.  If I want to carve now, and can’t get to a copier, I can’t use wintergreen. One image I tried three different transfer types before I found one that worked the way I wanted. Good to have options!


Transfers are also printer dependant. You can always take it to a local library/work/copy shop and try that copier.

Sometimes transfers are Material dependant, just to add another complication.

Link to AQ showing diff types of transfer methods:


I “seal” all transfers with StazOn-it helps stop smearing, and I think it puts a “skim” layer on the carving material that I like.



I use a 0.5mm mechanical pencil

Adv: Works on all printer types/materials, works on images that don’t print well

Dis: not as fine detail? though some have, a pain for lots of black or complex designs



Gypsy Ladybug is the queen at this! For her 100% acetone works best, for me regular nail polish remover

Adv: GypsyLadybug’s looked like preinted on the material!

Dis: Smell. Soens’t work with all printers



Havne’t tried

Adv: Some love

Dis: Doesn’t work with all carving materials.  Don’t know about printers.



Works FANTASTIC to “clean” a botched transfer off your carving material. (won’t take off the StazON)

Adv: I have gotten some very good transfers.

Dis: Smudgy/Touchy. Some don’t like the smell (I don’t mind).  Doesn’t work with all printers.  I have to go to a copier.


Parchment/Overhead Transparency

I use a method similar to above-except I print it out once on the Overhead transparency paper on the “fast draft: setting on my printer.

There are different overhead transparencies depending on your printer type.  Check Amazon.

Adv: I have gotten some very good transfers.  No taking to copier

Dis: can smear, need correct printer setting



Haven’t tried


Dis: smell, Printer dependant


Carving Material:

Carving material is often image dependant.  I have heard OZ doesn’t do as well for large black areas, but can’t be beaten for fine detail.


The letterboxer Bumble has done extensive reviews on the different types of carving materials:

Bumble chart: Comparison of materials:



Various sizes on link

***currently unavailable

This is too “hard” for me-though thanks to LindenLeaf I will give it another try.

It has a “wrong” side-that is written on.

Some say to lightly sand it first to have it take ink better.  Doesn’t work as well for large areas of black.  

(editor’s note: You can use OZ for larger areas of black if you use a press)


Buttercut: Link on page above

Haven’t tried this one yet.



Was too soft for me-but could take getting used to.

There are two kinds-I’ve used the beige-hear the other color is even softer. I can’t imagine it.



This may or may not be available anymore from the seller SweetLoveQiner. It has “pockets” of variability in it.


“Amazon Chinese” AKA Chinese Sandwich AKA…..

I get this from the link below, although it is available from many places, also including ebay and etsy.


“Pink” Speedball Speedy-Carve

Alas, good pink.  I have heard that the “new” pink is semi-better.  For a while, it was terrible. I haven’t tried the latest.

(editor’s note: “new pink”, AKA Pink with a date after 2012, is what I carve most of my things on.  It carves very nicely and stamps beautifully, but is only moderately durable and must be carved with a nicely sharpened gouge to get finer details.  It won’t hold as much detail as OZ)





My favorite! Be careful not to undercut.

          Wire Knife

Kirbert sharpens the end of a piece of wire and carves with it.


You carve with these as if they were a knife-not scoop out like a gouge.  Tracor Supply/Feed store dells large gauge needles for animal injections.  Haven’t tried

(editor’s note: You can see the Woodshed’s write up on this blog page.)




          Staedtler-No longer made L To be jealously guarded and passed down in your will.


           Speedball-has diff handles-some people like the “Pen” type”   


           Various woodcarving tools-Expensive.  Haven’t tried




          Miniturize/0.5 KnottyKnitterDirtMonkey squish in the Speedball and make a 0.5


          Other-Kirbert reversed one side of a Staedtler and some people liked that


Sharpening gouges:

Or just sent to Kirbert





I always use the thin craft foam that already has the sticky on the back because I am lazy and don’t want want to wait on it to dry.  It also doesn’t warp. 

Gypsy Fiddler “scoops” out some of the back with a gouge and uses E6000??or Gorilla Glue??



Kirbet’s favorite, Can warp, although LROSEM uses to good effect. 

MUST use foamy between wood and stamp.




I always start with the most difficult part first.  “e” and “o” of letters (and “s”)   Eyes of faces/animals.  Then the rest of the face.  Then paws of animals.  If the face and expression don’t look right, then I haven’t wasted my time with the rest of the carve. (Except if I’m trying a new carving material)





Smaller can be trickier.



Think of lettering as just shapes.  Script, not black letters.  Tricky letters first. (“S”  awful, awful “S”)






Can be done with “cross hatching” or “lines”;parentId=909441




General Carving tips

I use a needle to “poke” out a tiny dot and make highlights in eyes.  I have heard of some carving using a dremel?????  Never tried.


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