An Explanation from an Old Wood Carver

Japanese wood carver

My favorite wood for carving? Pear.

As far as I’m concerned, it is the best.

Like all the other fruit wood it is hard,

but more than that, it wants to grip the gouge

which helps me carve the lines I want to carve.

Now maple is about as hard as pear.

And it too can be carved against the grain

and won’t tear out like many other woods.

I’ve only carved a couple blocks with it, but

the wood is slippery. It’s harder to

control the gouge and keep it in the line.

Mahogany is a hard wood, but too soft

to let me get the detail that I want

my prints to have. And walnut’s beautiful,

but unlike pear it has an open grain

and if I carved a walnut block those holes

would show up ruining my finished prints.

So pear, like partridge in a pear tree pear,

is what I use for making wood bock prints.

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