My linocut tools and suppliers

I'm a self-taught printmaker so finding the most suitable tools and suppliers was a bit of a struggle for me when I first started learning about the medium so I've put together this guide to hopefully help new and existing printmakers.


All of the tools and suppliers listed are ones that I’ve bought myself and I'm not affiliated with them.



Tools


Blocks


  • Traditional grey hessian-backed lino (my primary block type)

  • Japanese vinyl

  • Speedball speedy carve (I use this material to carve my wood-mounted logo stamps)


I have created a separate post where I discuss the pros and cons of the different types of linocut blocks here.


Portrait of Mr Rabbit limited edition linocut print

Paper


There are many paper types used by printmakers across the world. Thinner papers are best for hand burnishing and thicker papers are better for printing used a press. Online paper suppliers often sell small packs of different kinds of paper so you can sample several different types.


I currently use a mixture of the following paper types for my prints:

  • Japanese HoSho paper (a favourite of mine, perfect for printing my hand or with a baren)

  • Somerset paper (beautiful paper in satin white, 350gsm, acid-free with great archival qualities)

  • Snowdon paper

  • Handmade mulberry paper (this is wonderfully textured paper that comes in various colours and some have flower petals and similar plant goodness set into the paper itself)

  • Stonehenge paper (thick white paper of great quality best used with a press)

Cutting tools


Like most people, I began learning linocut using the red handled inexpensive tools with interchangeable blades. The first time I used my current Pfeil and Flexcut tools, it was like carving through butter. The different in my carving was immeasurable and my confidence grew.


Pfeil tools and Flexcut micro palm carving sets are superb quality but are rather expensive. If you are going to invest in anything at the start of your linocut journey, I would recommend getting a couple of Pfeil tools. II have a range of small and wide ‘u’ and ‘v’ shaped tools and these are listed below.


The first number represents the shape of the tool (the greater the number, the steeper the angle) and the second tool is the width of the tool across the opening. I use a flexcut slipstrop set regularly to help maintain the sharpness of the tools. They can also be sent away to be professionally sharpened.

L 11/05

L11/1

L9/2

L8/3

L8/7

L15/2

L12/4

swiss pfeil tools from handprinted showing a range of u and v shaped carving tools used for lino printing

Ink


I exclusively use Caligo safe wash ink by Cranfield for all my prints. I find these beautiful inks to have excellent coverage and they’re easy to clean up afterwards.


They come in a range of colours and are available in tubes or tins. I personally find the inks last longer when they're in tubes.


caligo safe wash inks by cranfield from handprinted in a variety of ink colours