Sunday, January 14, 2007

Rubber Trouble

A questions from a stamp carving novice: What product is everyone using for stamps. I bought some "Speedy-Cut" from the Speedball Art Products Company, and have found the rubber impossibly soft for detailed carving. What brands are working for you, and where are you purchasing?



Sandi Staley said...

I've heard others in the group like the carving material sold by Dick Blick...I like PZKut, sold by, which is housed right here in Columbia and is owned by Diana Hammond, who planted the first letterbox in Boone County (Bat Cave). As a bonus, it's less expensive than a lot of other carving materials.

OneMeanGreenBean said...

Mastercut by Staedler isn't bad but its kind of expensive - you can get it at Hobby Lobby or the MU bookstore. They make a thick block thats great for 2-sided stamps, and it doesn't crumble so you can do details. As far as Speedball goes, the white stuff is no good, but the pink stuff works great. Again, fairly expensive compared to the ones Sandi suggested but you can buy it off the shelf instead of having to order.

Clyde Bentley said...

If you have a bandsaw, that thick block of Mastercut can be a great bargain. Just split it to the thickness you like. The MU Bookstore has he best price, I think.

ahistory said...

Here are some of my experiences with different carving blocks. They are listed in order from softest to hardest. These are just my own experience based on my limited experience carving over the past 6 months.

+++ : good for large bold designs with little detail. Very easy to carve. Transfers well using lead/tracing paper. Good for making that fast design in a hurry. Great for drawing design directly on using a erasable marker.

---: not good for detail because it's too soft and crumbles. No room for error, so soft mistakes are cut out for good and easily made.

Staedtler MasterCarve

+++ : Easy to carve, little crumbling, thick blocks for double-sided "twin" stamps. Easy to transfer design on using lead pencil/tracing paer transfer.

--- : It can be pricey unless on sale or just a small piece is needed. Too soft for fine detailed work. SOftness also makes it easy to tunnel too deep into medium. Hard to get a clean trasfer using lead/tracing paper.

SOft-Kut from Dick Blick
I think this is the stuff that Fox-Fyr and Lnd-crzr use. I had a small block of this and found it to be a good balance allowing for easy carving but not too soft to allow for clean lines with no crumbling. Not enough true experience to adequately rate this, but, if I had more expercience with this, I think it would become my primary choice for most projects.

PZ Kut
I have only carved a small block of this. It was harder than the Soft-cut, probably what i would call a medium hard. Not as rigid and easier to carve than Speedy Stamp [the pink stuff]. Not enough true experience to adequately rate.

Speedy Stamp
+++ : Hard rubber is very good for fine detailed work. No too expensive if you use a coupon at Hobby Town or Michaels when it is in stock.

--- : Harder to transfer using lead/tracing paper. Harder to carve due to rigidity.

Hope this helps.

Of The Earth said...

I love the mastercarve stuff, from I don't have any trouble with edges coming out smooth, and it cuts very easily with lino cutting tools of various shapes.

Fox-fyr said...

Ahistory summedup the materials pretty well.
I usually use the gray Soft-Kut from DickBlick because it is far more economical than Speedball's pink stuff or MasterCarve. You can get a 12" x 18" block for about six dollars (plus shipping and handling unless you drive to St. Louis). I usually stock up when I visit Dick Blick and usually announce when I'm going in case anyone wants me to pick some up for them. Unfortunately, the next visit I currently have on my calendar is not until April 14 (for a dance *hint*).

For detail work I will usually watch for sales/coupons and chip out the higher dollar price for the pink stuff or MasterCarve (though Lnd-Crzr seems to have no problem doing detail work on SoftKut). I think it's all in the wrist, so to speak ;)

What I've liked best though for detail work is the PZKut Sandi mentioned in her post. I've only used a small sample of it and don't know how much it costs as I traded for it, but it's a lot firmer than all the above. I find I can make thinner lines with it, and if you've seen Webfoot's Bat Cave stamp, you may agree that it's great for fine detail.

Perhaps we can bring a variety of carving material to the Feb. 3 Gathering, and maybe Lnd-Crzr can give us a brief carving lesson if we bribe him with some rootbeer (or Black Cherry Vanilla Coke).