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A 'woodcut' is a wooden printing surface used in woodblock printing, a method in which an image is carved into the surface of a piece of wood, with the printing parts remaining level with the surface while the non-printing parts are removed, typically with gouges. The surface is covered with ink by rolling over the surface with an ink-covered roller (brayer), leaving ink upon the flat surface but not in the non-printing areas. Paper is then placed face-down on the woodblock and pressure is applied to the back, either by printing press or with hand-held tools such as a spoon or a baren (though any hard, slightly curved surface will do). The ink is transferred to the paper by the pressure, and the mirror image of the surface of the woodblock is printed. The finished print is also often called a woodcut. Multiple colors can be printed by keying the paper to a frame around the woodblocks (where one woodcut is used for each color).
A quicker method of separating printing from non-printing areas is to cover the printing areas with shield, and then blasting the whole surface, either by sandblasting or shotblasting. The shield may be a metal outline, or a thick coat of rubber cement or similar compound.
The art reached a high level of technical and artistic development in East Asia and Iran. In Japan woodblock printing is called "moku hanga", and was used for the popular "floating world" genre of ukiyo-e.
The art of carving the woodcut is called "xylography".


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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Woodcut".