Care of Blocks
Endgrain wood is highly susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity, requiring the engraver to take special care of the block both in use and in storage. Always store blocks on their edge, like books on a shelf with space between, and never flat. This is especially important with larger blocks and will greatly reduce the risk of dishing.
In days of old, cold and dampness were the enemy, but we are now more likely to spoil our engraving blocks as a result of centrally heated rooms. The dramatic changes in room temperature brought about by central heating systems greatly increases the risk of blocks cracking and joints opening. This is because endgrain wood presents a large relative surface area of exposed fibres which react readily to changes in temperature and humidity.
It order to arrive at a realistic mean between excessive room temerature and the cold, damp cellar or garage, aim to store blocks in a room with the most constant, moderate temperature and as far away from a radiator as possible. Never leave a block on a windowsill or in direct sunlight. Also, beware of heat generated from a work lamp. Either switch off the lamp when not working or remove the block to a safe distance.