Carving circles for printing?

Hello, I am trying to find the best way to create a set of wooden circles for either letterpress or hand printing; the circle would range from 3” to 24” wide, and would all have the same thickness (probably around 1/4” to 1/2”). They do not need to be absolutely perfect, and I am willing to cut them down myself if that is the best way. I have tried to find a set of old ornaments that might work, but I haven’t been able to find anything. Any suggestions?

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That would not be a terribly difficult proposition if you are handy with your hands. I’d simply carve them out of a large linoleum block. You can make your own out of a piece of linoleum tile glued to a square of 3/4 plywood….. then draw the circle with a compass, and carve them out. If you are careful, you can make very nice looking blocks that way.

The only tricky thing is that the blocks wind up 7/8” tall…. so you’ll need to shim them up a bit to type high.

Thanks, I may try that. I’ve never carved in linoleum before. I was hoping for wood because I wanted the grain to show in the circles.

Ian…. that would not be too hard either. I routinely use a soft luan plywood that both carves easily and shows a nice grain. McClain’s printmaking supplies, an online vendor, carries it at fairly reasonable prices. Alternately, you can glue a 1/8 piece of luan plywood onto a piece of 3/4”…. and make a good carving block. You’ll still have to shim it, but that’s not a big deal.

Luan (aka: Philippine Mahogany) comes from disappearing Southwest Pacific rainforests. I avoid using any such wood directly from the commercial source.
Checkout the construction dumpsters where new homes are being built or old homes are being remodeled. I frequently see large trimmed pieces of Luan (& cabinet grade birch plywood) getting tossed.

Calvert Guthrie
Ragpicker Press
(Printing on whatever’s left since 1972)
Kansas City

Martha Stewart makes a rotary circle cutter…for paper but I assume you could make a small impression in the wood or lino. It costs about 15 bucks and its basically a plastic circle that has holes for each diameter and you whirl the thing around around and viola you have a perfect circle. You can find this at Micheals craft store (in the srapbooking dept) and probably online.