Tools and products used in the engraving’s techniques

Tools and products used in the engraving’s techniques by Antoni Gelonch-Viladegut, for the GELONCH VILADEGUT COLLECTION.



An airbrush is a small, air-operated tool that sprays various media including ink and dye, but most often paint by a process of nebulization.


A brayer is a hand roller used in printmaking techniques to spread ink or to offset an image from a plate to paper. They can be made of composition, rubber, sponge, acrylic, polyurethane or leather. Rubber brayers come in varieties of hardness and are primarily used for relief printing. Leather rollers are only used in lithography.


The term brush refers to devices with bristles, wire or other filaments, used for cleaning, grooming hair, make-up, painting, surface finishing and for many other purposes.

Configurations include twisted-in wire (e.g. bottle brushes), cylinders and disks (with bristles spread in one face or radially).

Is a steel cutting tool which is the essential tool of engraving.

Burnisher is a toll used in the Mezzotint technique. It has a smooth round end –not unlike many spoon handles.


Carborundum, technically named silicon carbide (SiC), is a compound of silicon and carbon.

Silicon carbide is used in carborundum printmaking, a collagraph printmaking technique. Carborundum grit is applied in a paste to the surface of an aluminum plate. When the paste is dry, ink is applied and trapped in its granular surface, then wiped from the bare areas of the plate. The ink plate is then printed onto paper in a rolling-bed press used for intaglio printmaking. The result is a print of painted marks embossed into the paper.

A chisel is a tool with a characteristically shaped cutting edge (such that wood chisels have lent part of their name to a particular grind) of blade on its end, for carving or cutting a hard material such as wood, stone or metal. The handle and blade of some types of chisel are made of metal or wood with a sharp edge in it.
In use, the chisel is forced into the material to cut the material. The driving force may be manually applied or applied using a mallet or hammer.



Is a type of etching-needle with a slanting oval section at the end, which enabled etchers to create a swelling line, as engravers were able to do.

This machine uses a master template to lightly engrave a duplicate image which can be then engraved by hand or by acid method. The machine also makes possible the reduction or enlargement of the letter for the duplicate.

This is a new tool used in the steel engraving technique.



Is a flexible tool which is useful used in the wood engraving technique for clearing larger areas.

Fountain solution is the water-based (or “aqueous”) component in the lithographic process that cleans the background area of the plate in order to keep ink from depositing (and thus printing) in the non-image (or “white”) areas of the paper. Historically, fountain solutions were acid-based and made of gum Arabic, chromates and/or phosphates, and magnesium nitrate.

Acid-based fountain solutions are still the most common variety and yield the best quality results by means of superior protection of the printing plate, lower dot gains, and longer plate life. Acids are also the most versatile, capable of running with all types of offset litho inks. However, because these products require more active ingredients to run well than do neutrals and alkaline, they are also the most expensive to produce. That said, neutrals and, to a lesser degree, alkaline are still an industry staple and will continue to be used for most newspapers and many lower-quality inserts.


In the steel engraving technique, one new tool is the Geometrical Lathe. The Lathe is used to engrave images on plats, which are in turn engraved on rolls for the use of such methods as printing bank notes.

Gouge refers to one of several types of cutting tools, in addition to its meaning as a verb (the action of cutting or scooping with or as with a gouge) and its slang meaning (to cheat, defraud, swindle or extort) and, rarely, as a noun meaning a swindle (gouger).

A modern gouge is a tool similar to a chisel except its blade edge is not flat, but instead is curved or angled in cross-section. The modern version is generally hafted inline, the blade and handles typically having the same long axis. If the angle of the plane of the blade is on the outer surface of the curve the gouge is called and “in cannel” gouge, otherwise it is known as an “out cannel” gouge. Gouges with angled rather than curved blades are often called “V-gouges” or “vee-parting tools”. Variations include “crank-neck” gouges, “spoon-bent” gouges, etc. Gouges are used in wood working and arts. For example, an artist may produce a piece of art by cutting some bits out of a sheet of linoleum.






Linoleum (informally abbreviated to lino) is a floor covering made from renewable materials such as solidified linseed oil (linoxyn), pine rosin, ground cork dust, wood flour and mineral fillers such as calcium carbonate, most commonly on a burlap or canvas backing; pigments are often added to the materials.

Is a tablet of lithographic limestone.

Lithographic limestone is a hard limestone that is sufficiently fine-grained, homogeneous and defect free to be used for lithography.



The stencil duplicator or mimeograph machine (often abbreviated to mimeo) is a low-cost printing press that works by forcing ink through a stencil onto paper.
In the Mimeography process, the image transfer medium is a stencil made from waxed mulberry paper. This flexible waxed sheet is backed by a sheet of stiff card stock, with the sheets bound at the top.

Once prepared, the stencil is wrapped around the ink-filled drum of the rotary machine. When a blank sheet of paper is drawn between the rotating drum and a pressure roller, ink is forced through the holes on the stencil onto the paper. Early flatbed machines used a kind of squeegee.

Mimeographs were commonly used for low-budget amateur publishing, including club newsletters and church bulletins. They were especially popular with science fiction fans, which used them extensively in the production of fanzines, before photocopying became inexpensive.

Mordant can refer to an acidic chemical used in etching.



An oil based ink was introduced in the block books process permitting printing on both sides of the paper using a regular printing press.


A photomask is an opaque plate with holes or transparencies that allow light to shine through in a defined pattern. They are commonly used in photolithography.

A photoresist is a light-sensitive material used in several industrial processes, such as photolithography and photoengraving to form a patterned coating on a surface.

Plate may refer in two dimensional-media an intaglio printing mechanism or a printing mechanism in lithography.

The mark made by the edges of an intaglio plate where it is forced into the paper when run through the press.

Printing ink is an oil-based fluid distinct from the water-based liquid used for writing. It was apparently invented, or at least developed, by Gutenberg, and was as essential to his success as his invention of the printing press and movable type. The ink is made by grinding lamp-black very fine and mixing it with oil; less oil is used in a relief or typographic ink than an intaglio ink in order to make it more viscous so that it will not run into the hollows. Lithographic ink has to contain grease to resist water, this being the fundamental principle of lithography. In screen-printing the ink can be almost anything that will pass through the mesh and adhere to paper.

A printing press is a mechanical device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium (such as paper or cloth), thereby transferring the ink.



A metal tool with small teeth used in Mezzotint technique.

A wheeled tool used in some of the dot processes, first mentioned in connection with mezzotint but used largely in crayon manner and stipple engraving in the 18th century.

A tool which is excellent for textures involving curves, it’s used in the wood engraving technique.


Is a triangular ended tool, used in the Mezzotint technique.


A mixture of neat acid and Gum Arabic (or almost never – saliva) which can be dripped, spattered or painted onto a metal surface giving interesting results.

Used in the wood engraving technique, is a tool which produces fine undulating lines.

A stencil is a template used to draw or paint identical letters, numbers, symbols, shapes, or patterns every time it is used. Stencil technique in visual art is also referred to as pochoir. Stencils are formed by removing sections from template material in the form of text or an image. This creates what is essentially a physical negative. The template can then be used to create impressions of the stenciled image, by applying pigment on the surface of the template and through the removed sections, leaving a reproduction of the stencil on the underlying surface. Aerosol or painting stencils must remain contiguous after the image is removed, in order for the template to remain functional. Sections of the remaining template which are isolated inside removed parts of the image are called islands. All islands must be connected to other parts of the template with bridges, or additional sections of narrow template material which are not removed.

Screen printing also uses a stencil process, as doe’s mimeograph. The masters from which mimeographed pages are printed are often called “stencils.” Stencils can be made with one or many color layers using different techniques, with most stencils designed to be applied as solid colors.

During screen printing and mimeograph the images for stenciling are broken down into color layers. Multiple layers of stencils are used on the same surface to produce multi-colored images.

In Europe, from about 1450 they were very commonly used to color old master prints printed in black and white, usually woodcuts.

Stencils were popular as a method of book illustration. When stencils are used in this way they are often called “pochoir”. In the Pochoir process, a print with the outlines of the design was produced, and a series of stencils were used through which areas of color were applied by hand to the page. To produce detail, a collotype could be produced which the colors were then stenciled over. Pochoir was frequently used to create prints of intense color.


Stencils have also become popular for graffiti, since stencil art using spray-paint can be produced quickly and easily. These qualities are important for graffiti artists where graffiti is illegal or quasi-legal, depending on the city and stenciling surface. The extensive lettering possible with stencils makes it especially attractive to political artists.

A drawing instrument usually made of cast metal, with a point often at either end. Unlike metalpoint or lead point it was used only to impress lines into paper and was frequently employed by artists when beginning to work out a composition, in order to avoid the need to rub out incorrect lines. It was also used as a method of transferring the main lines of a composition drawing, as, for example, from a sheet of paper to a copper plate in preparing for etching, or from a cartoon to the plaster in the case of a fresco. The artist could see the blind lines he was making in the paper by holding the sheet at an angle to the light.


Tarlatan is a starched, open-weave fabric, much like cheese cloth. It is used to wipe the ink off a plate during the intaglio inking process. The open weave allows for the tarlatan to pick up a large quantity of ink. The stiffness imparted by the starch helps prevent the fabric from taking the ink out of the incised lines.