The wood block is made out of 5mm underlayment plywood purchased from Home Depot. The separate pieces were glued together with Elmer’s WoodGlue Max, clamped and allowed to dry for 24 hours.
The ink is Speeball water soluble block printing ink. The ink was spread on a tempered glass plate and applied using a soft rubber brayer (40 durometer according to Speedball’s website).
I used a 2.5 ton arbor press. This is total over kill, but I have one so why not : )
Pressing order from bottom to top:
2 x 4 for strength
Pressed Fiber Board (similar to proof grade draft board) for smooth surface
Thin felted fabric for limited compliance
Paper (Strathmore Mixed Media 90 lb)
2 x 4 for even load distribution
The thin felted fabric for limited compliance is critical.
6 mm EVA foam is too compliant
2mm EVA foam is too compliant
Bare pressed fiber board is not compliant enough
3/8" Rubber (possibly Speedball Speedy-Cut block) has good compliance but is awkward to use
Shamwow from local surplus store has good compliance. It is also cheap and easy to store.
My current process lacks any sort of consistent registration, so I’m limited to one color.
I have experimented with traditional Japanese block printing techniques picked up from watch David Bull’s excellent youtube channel. Printing on wetted paper requires less pressure and produces greater embossing depth, but requires greater care to make sure you don’t damage the paper and can resulted in warped paper following drying.
My guess is the process I’ll eventually settle on will be a hybrid between Japanese and European block printing.
Regarding block warping: I’ve had no problems with my plywood block warping. It is very stable. I’ve begun experimenting with solid poplar and laser engraving. A clear 48" x 5.5" x .25" board cost less than $5 from Menards. The resulting test prints are looking really good, but the blocks start to bow as soon as they come out of the Glowforge. I’ve tried steaming one and clamping it to a plate of cast, jig-grade aluminum to see if I can get it to flatten out. It’s been clamped since Saturday. I’m going to give it several more days before releasing it and seeing what happens. I may end up having to laminate it on to a piece of 3/4" or 1" plywood to stabilize it.
Hope this answers everyone’s questions. Thanks for all the support!