With today's tutorial on Stamp Carving, I wanted to include a little review and comparison of two lino cutting sets, in case you'd like to try carving stamps yourself.
I purchased 2 cutting sets - the one on the left is made by Speedball - it comes with 5 interchangeable cutters (they do have a 6-tip set as well, but it wasn't stocked when I made my purchase). The one on the right is Blick's house brand. The cutters I received are below.
The Speedball blades are available in open stock, which is nice. They do also have the square gouge available. The sizes and shapes between the 2 brands are comparable, though you can see in the photo above that the ends are sharpened at a slightly different angle. The top blade above is a straight cutting blade, but I prefer using a regular craft knife that is sharpened on both sides.
The top of the handle houses a central post with two semi-circular pieces around it. When the top piece is unscrewed, the semicircular pieces loosen around the post. The one you can see below remains in place, and the other (slightly smaller) drops down and creates space for the curved end of the cutter tip to slide between it and the post. When tightened, the blade holds in place.
Getting the blades in can be a little tricky, and I found this to be true with both handles. Sometimes the sliding piece sticks and it's hard to wiggle the blade down into the handle. As far as interchanging tips, the Blick handle will take the Speedball cutters, but the Blick cutters do not fit down into the Speedball handle.
I love that each set is self-contained - the cutter tips can be stored in the handle. That makes it easy and safe to store, since I don't have to leave a tip in the business end of the tool when I put it away. Here's what that looks like:
Here's a side-by-side comparison of the blades, as they correspond between the 2 sets. For each size, I used the Speedball blade first, and then the Blick. Both brands cut through the Speedball Speedy-Carve block shown here easily.
I felt like the Blick blades gave me a straighter cut overall - you can see in the block and the stamped sample how the cut tends to narrow in the center with the Speedball blades. I'm not sure why that was - I didn't think I was doing anything differently... so it may have something to do with the angle of the tip of the blade.
(Even though this was a test block, it made a great background stamp too!)
As far as price - on Blick's site right now the Speedball set is $9.65 ($10.67 on Amazon Prime) and the Blick set is $7.42.
I think overall, I would say the Blick set is a better value for someone purchasing supplies to try out stamp carving - the quality was comparable to the Speedball brand, and the price for the larger set (6 blades compared to 5) about $2 less. If you think you'll find yourself carving quite a bit, you might consider the larger Speedball set (on Blick HERE and Amazon HERE), which comes with all 6 blades and 2 handles. It's nice to have 2 handles and to not have to change blades back and forth.
Here are a few stamps I've carved - I'm not an expert but I'm happy to pass on my findings if they're helpful to you! :) I can envision this becoming an addiction. Post your questions in the comments below!