The wood (traditionally Boxwood, though it is somewhat rare today) used in engraving iscut from logs, in slabs, the same thickness as metal type, which is .918 of an inch.

The images are engraved on the end of the grain (as opposed to the side grain of a woodcut).
This gives the ability to render very fine detail and have the durability to print thousands of impressions.Today, woods such as Maple, Lemonwood, and various fruitwoods can be used. Various synthetics, such as Resingrave®, also give good impressions. It is common for the wood to be pieced together, as the most flawless parts of the wood can be used.

The tools, called gravers or burins, are held in the palm of the hand. Varied tints and
effects are achieved by using a variety of tools. Any mark upon the surface
produces a white line. Any wood removed from around a line, leaves standing a black line.
The white spaces are cleared with a chisel-like tool called a scorper.

The engraver sits erect with magnification on a sand pad for stability.
This highly complex work orchestrated the tonal range characteristic of a wood engraving

The traditional set-up was a lamp flame concentrated by a water-filled globe directed onto the
wood block, though now any kind of lighting and magnification is used. The work is slow and exacting.

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