|Good thing, my hands were getting pretty crippled.|
After this, I am certainly due for a new set of tools, as mine were pretty old, cheap, and now are incredibly chipped.
So now it's ready to print, right? Not quite. There's one important step that I'd actually forgotten about on previous projects: oiling the block.
Oiling the block is very simple and will save you lots of ink. Unfinished wood is dry, and being porous by nature, will suck up liquid like a sponge. You'd have to roll on several layers of ink before you could even run a print, which will probably turn out ugly and splotchy. Oiling is akin to painting with primer but it retains the texture of the wood and color of the ink.
All you need is some mineral oil and an old, but not totally filthy, rag (so not your wedding dress). It is important that you use mineral oil as other types of household oils are odorous and will turn rancid. Mineral oil is also used as a natural laxative, so it can usually be found in any drug store.
|Take a spoonful if you're in the mood for a colonic|
Put some oil on the rag and rub it over the board, especially the areas where ink will be applied.
|Notice the slight color change|
The wood will suck up the oil quickly at first, so several layers will probably have to be applied. The color will darken a bit, as it would if you applied stain, and this won't effect your ink. Stop once the wood stops absorbing oil.
I've got to go back and oil my first block, but after that I'll be ready for printing!