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The printing bench - details

Posted by Dave Bull on July 7, 2011 [Permalink]

A couple of people asked the other day about the dimensions of the new printing bench. I'm not sure if it will really be of any use to talk about those, because the whole idea of such a bench is that it is customized to your own 'size', but anyway, here's what we are using.

Tsushima-san sits at the bench on the kneeling stool, with the main part of the bench brought forward over her knees:

The thing is designed so that the angle of her forearm matches the angle of the top of the bench:

This is far and away the most important point about this - her wrist stays straight. This almost completely eliminates any stress on that joint, and she'll never have any kind of problem with repetitive strains, etc. etc.

So here are our dimensions. But again, please don't take this as any kind of 'standard'. Build your own to suit your own dimensions!


Couple of points about the construction:

  • despite the perspective effect in the photo, the sides are actually parallel (at the base)
  • it would probably be better if there were more room 'front to back'; we've already found she is banging into the paste cup when printing sometimes
  • this is 'Mark I'; it's suitable for light work, but isn't heavy and strong enough for vigorous printing on larger blocks. If your work is heavier, you'll need something with more bracing, so that it won't wobble
  • It's very important to position the bench so that there is a light reflecting directly onto the surface of the woodblock. It's not visible in those photos, but a bulb is hanging from a ceiling track, positioned to reflect right off the wet pigment.




Added by: Barbara Mason on July 8, 2011, 2:56 am


You are so right about the light. I have been doing a lot of teaching lately, for some reason people want to learn woodblock all of a sudden! I have them pick up the block and look across it but it takes time for that. We are not so lucky as to have lights set up just for this in the studio so we make do, but I think I will ask my husband to build us some table top benches that are angled away, Even that much will help quite a bit. I sure don't want to contribute to stress on anyone's arm.. I do have a bench like this I use for teaching so people can see what I am doing and it works very well for printing.

Added by: Diana Moll on July 8, 2011, 3:11 am

excellent post!! very clear, thank you

Added by: Audley Sue Wing on July 8, 2011, 11:46 am

Thanks for the printing bench info. Will 1/2 to 3/4" ply do?

I suffer with my lower back. What about details of the 'kneeling" stool?


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