Gomuban Relief Printing Plates


After reading a thread on Atlas Quest, I decided to try a new carving material: Gomuban Relief Printing Plates.  Quick version: I love this stuff, and it will be my go-to carving material.  It isn’t perfect, but it is very, very nice.  As you can see, it’s thin: 1/4″.  One side is blue, the other green, with a black core.  Both sides are carvable and differ only in color.

I decided not to sand the material, as the surface is thin enough.  Turns out sanding is not needed, though it may improve the primary problem: visibility.


First, I tried a pencil rubbing.  That’s a little Hello Kitty head in a frying pan (frykitty, get it?).  Can you tell?  Neither could I.  Glare is strong on the unsanded material, but I doubt that reducing glare would help, as both sides are fairly dark.


Ah, that’s better.  This is a rubbing from an inkjet printer.  Since it’s October, I chose a little ghost by Chris Simmons.

The carving experience was great.  The material has a very nice bite.  It’s nearly as firm as Firm Kut, but it isn’t rubbery, and it’s not so hard to plough through that I lose control of the gouge.  The material lifts out like a dream–almost no digging and swearing. I was using one of Kirbert’s modified Staedtler gouges for most of this carve.   Again, there’s a visibility issue as you carve through colored material to a dark gray/black beneath.  That contrast could be better.


Here’s the final carve.  I admit, I didn’t clean up much.  Because the material isn’t very rubbery, it doesn’t move around when you try to go back over small areas; for example, making that little eye rounder was very easy.  The material is very light, and because it’s so thin and flexible,  I would definitely mount it for regular use.

The big question now is durability.  Will it survive on the trail?  I honestly cannot tell just from handling, so I’ll have to plant something and find out.

2 Responses to Gomuban Relief Printing Plates

  1. Cat says:

    Oops, it’s actually 1/8″ thick, according to the website.

  2. Camp Fire Lady says:

    Thanks for the tutorial! I was wondering if this stuff was any good for carving. I may have to try this!

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