The block I have decided to use is the last uncut block of my vintage early 1980's stock. I bought several good size pear and boxwood blocks back then (when I had more disposable income!). But my first attempts at engraving at this time were unsatisfactory and my interest and patience waned. Working in isolation didn't help and I went back to painting.
Blocks, burin tools, roller and sandbag all ended up in a box in the loft, surviving 3 house moves, until 2008 when the engraving bug bit me again. Harder. Out of the loft came my engraving equipment. The roller had melted, not unsurprisingly, but the new durathene roller refill fitted my brass frame and was even better. I had several of my smaller old blocks that had been engraved (with toecurlingly bad results!) resurfaced by Chris Daunt, who recreated a fine surface for my newer work.
This particular block is 7" x 5 1/2" , one of the largest I've got. It's pearwood, I think and has never been touched by a tool. The challenge lies in the fact that the block was made using three pieces, jointed and glued. One of the joints has over the 29 years in storage, opened out a little.
To see how much of a problem it might create, I inked the block up and ran it through the press.
Granted, it's a relatively light impression, but the split is still clearly visible. The question is: can I work around it and obscure it when I cut the design? I think probably, the human eye being what it is, it will be slightly noticeable, even if I position the design so that much of the split is cut away or textured. I'm not overly bothered by it really.... to me it speaks of the wood the design is cut into. It's not a perfect, inert plastic surface, impervious to changes of temperature and humidity.
What do you think?