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Introduction to Linocut Tools

Introduction to Linocut Tools

As printmakers, we know that having good tools can be a game changer when it comes to your printmaking practice. There are lots of lino and wood cutting tools to choose from so read on for a breakdown of the different options available.

All our linocut tools can be found here.

We have a blog post on which tools make which marks here.

Changeable Blade Tool Sets

These are particularly useful when starting out, carving softer blocks, or starting with a lower budget. These tool sets have one handle and five interchangeable blades in an assortment of U tools, V tools and straight blades: a great starting point to be able to carve a good variety of marks. They are best suited to softer blocks like Softcut or soft stamp carving blocks like Mastercut or Speedy Carve. These types of tools aren't usually suitable for sharpening.

Lino Cutter with 5 Blades (above, left) - a great budget option, particularly good for soft blocks (there's also a Lino Cutter and Baren Tool with an additional baren attachment for the handle). 

Speedball #1 Lino Cutter Assortment (above, centre) - handy lino tool where 5 blades are stored in the handle.

Abig Wooden Handled Lino Cutting Set (above, right) - 5 blades, with a storage box and the option of purchasing replacement blades


Tool Sets

 We love the Japanese Tool Set (above) in the Handprinted Studio and use it for all our linocut and woodcut workshops. It's a great quality set for a really good price - a good upgrade if moving on from a changeable blade tool, especially if you're changing blade a lot.

It has two U tools, a V tool, a Hangito (knife used in Japanese woodblock printing but also useful for precision linocutting) and a straight knife (this can be used like a Kento knife for registration marks in Japanese woodblock printing). The straight handles feel comfortable in the hand and can even be cut down if you like a shorter handle (this can be handy using the Hangito for Japanese woodcut). 

Powergrip Tools (above) come in a set of five or a set of seven. These can be used for wood or lino but are particularly good for woodcut due to the inclusion of Hangito and Aisuki knives (read on for more explanation on these).

Flexcut Tool Sets (above) come in Mini or Micro for really fine detail. They're great for wood and lino and have a round handle that sits comfortably in the hand. These tools are also available individually.

This Pfeil Tool Set (above) is a great way to build a collection of high quality tools that cover a range of shapes and sizes. Their mushroom handles are a comfortable shape to hold. Pfeil Tools are available individually too - there are lots to choose from. We have a video to help you decipher the sizes and shapes here.

Our Japanese Woodblock Cutting Tool Set (above) is luxurious and brilliant quality, containing seven tools including Aisuki and Hangito Knives. These tools are also available individually. 


Individual and Specialist Tools

As well as in sets, there are lots of tools that can be bought individually. This way, you can build a collection that's perfect for your printmaking practice, adding to it as your practice progresses.

Flexcut (mini and micro) and Pfeil Tools (above, left to right) are available in a range of shapes and sizes - we have a video on how to decipher the code names for each tool.


Japanese Tools (above) are a fantastic quality addition to your toolkit. There are three widths of V gouge, three widths of U gouge (above, right).

 Large Japanese Woodcut Tools are available as a Flat Chisel or a Shallow Gouge (above, left) and are fantastic for large scale woodcut or linocut work. The wide, flat or shallow blades allow for speedy and smooth clearing. 

Hangito Knives (above) are held as shown in the above image and are available in left and right handed versions. They're used particularly for Japanese woodblock printing with an angled chisel designed for cutting key blocks in wood. 

An Aisuki (above) is a curved chisel for clearing and smoothing areas that you do not wish to pick up ink. 

Kento Knives (above) are used for cutting in registration marks in Japanese woodblock printing. 

Our Very Fine Japanese V Gouge is a 0.5mm V tool and our Gokubosomaru (above) is a 0.5mm U tool - perfect for tiny detail. 

Our Dot tool (with wooden handle or metal handle) (above) is a chisel designed specifically for carving dot work on lino, wood, metal and plastics. 

Linocut is an exciting and dynamic printmaking process, whether you're just starting out or developing your practice, we hope we can help you choose the tools right for you. All our cutting tools can be found here.


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