Crazy idea, wood, copper and hydraulic press

Hello all - I just had an idea that I thought someone might have
experience with to save me the experimentation (or some of it). I
have a wood block I made many years ago that has a lovely image I’d
like to imprint on some copper if possible. I have a hydraulic press,
but I’m slightly concerned that the wood is going to be softer than
the metal and will crack before the impression is made. My counter
thought is that people use paper and even lace to roll textures onto
metal with the rolling mill, so maybe it would work… perhaps guage
is a big consideration… anyway - all feedback is extremely
appreciated in advance!


Dont do it, you will ruin the block before you are able to transfer
much of the image. If you want to reproduce the block do a block
print on paper and then scan the image then do a photo etch of the
image into the metal.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts

Rio Grande sells the new Bonny Loon hammer which takes advantage of
the conforming aspects of urathane. In a hydrolic press class, we
tried using the hammer to emboss a thin copper plate using the hammer
in stead of the press. Worked like a charm. Sounds like you are
concerned about the sur= vivability of the wood piece in a press, as
you should be - by the time you realize you might have gone too far,
the damage is done. The hammer will allow you to go slowly and to
gradually increase power while still viewing the results. Make sure
the copper is well annealed and it should work out well. Good luck.
Remember, it’s the wacky, crazy, can’t work ideas the make the most
advances in this world.


Hi Hilary,

I use a plastic cuttlebug for imprinting on paper with my copper
which works fine, so I would think the wood may work as well. The
cuttlebugs have a negative and positive image when you sandwich the
metal in the middle. The other thing you could do is try a little
pressure at a time and check to see what happens then continue to
apply more pressure until you get your image without damaging your

Roxan O’Brien

A potential new toy! I’ll check it out! the wood surviving is
definitely what i’m concerned about so that’s a great option. i was
thinking of buying another block of the same wood and cutting out
some not so intricate designs to see how it worked out, but the
hammer might be a much simpler (and safer) solution. Thank you!

Here’s another crazy way around getting your image on copper. Go
ahead and print your wood block image onto WAX PAPER using an oil
based ink (I’ve used Graphic Chemical’s Perfection Palette line).
Color of the ink may not have much, if any influence on the outcome.
Next, while the ink is still wet, make an offset print onto the
copper from the waxed paper (coat the back of the copper first with
an acid resistant coating). After printing, place the copper in a
ferric chloride or Edinburgh Etch solution. Don’t wait for the ink
to dry, just put it right in the tank. The image develops fairly
quickly, say 10-20 minutes, and generally has a slightly softer
focus than the original. It appears that the corrosive attacks the
ink before it attacks the copper, so the image develops without the
aid of a resist. I don’t know at what point it would start to
deteriorate, but it’s a process with potential. Use all reasonable
safety precautions when working with corrosives. – M. Whittle