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Wood Engraving to Chemical Etching

As a business that relies on the latest technology to thrive and succeed in a demanding industry, we understand and recognise that it is important to remember your roots and where you came from. The art of component forming, the photo etching process and the rest of the services we provide here at Qualitetch, are all deeply rooted in the early days of wood engraving.

Join us as we take a delve into the grain of our history, and explore how far technology has come over the years that have passed since.

Wood Engraving: The Early Years

The first encounter of wood engraving in history was in the 15th century; however, it wasn’t until the 18th century that it evolved from crude drawings in wood to a skilled art form, capable of capturing shade, depth and tone.

The most famous wood engraver was Thomas Bewick, and he developed the method that kick-started the technique of engraving and etching that is still in use today. Bewick revolutionised the wood engraving industry through the use of a metal tool called a burin. His method allowed for intricate patterns and details to be engraved with ease.

The Process

While the process has been reworked and refined over the years, it is remarkably similar to the etching process we use at Qualitetch. A typical wood engraving process for producing artwork works around the following method:

l Draw your design directly onto the woodblock using ink

l Darken the wood with diluted ink

l Engrave your design with a burin. Deeper cuts show up as white on the print, making your wood engraving the negative of the final image

l Sketch the finer details back in with ink

l Add the woodblock to the press, add ink and take your proof


Our etching process involves creating a negative of the final image, adding a UV photo-resist to the area that needs to be left, before transferring it to a metal sheet and using a chemical solution to etch away the design.

These days, wood engraving and etching tends to be carried out with laser cutting machines, as opposed to being hand carved. Alongside this, items that are engraved are much more novel and often end up as gifts or ornaments for people, rather than for everyday printing needs.

For more advice and informative resources, please keep checking back on our blog, or browse our website for information surrounding our business and services offered.

Please contact us if you require any more details; we look forward to hearing from you.