I was in Opus the other day ordering mat cutting services, and Dave dragged me over to the printmaking section to show me a Breeze Cut "black linoleum" block. One of our Printmakers Only Group members had apparently discussed it at the last meeting (which I wasn't able to make), so I had actually heard of it. It's a very dark grey (much darker than battleship linoleum), and it stinks, although that appears to "vent off" over time if you leave it out in the open. I think it's some kind of vinyl material. It's slightly thinner than unmounted linoleum, and doesn't seem to curl. It is very easy to carve, but kind of hard to see a regular pencil line on (they're very similar in value). The surface is darker than the interior, so you can see the contrast once you've carved it.
I didn't know how it would print, so I carved out a piece and tried it today. Here's the carved block:
and here's the proof:
(it's kind of dark in the photo). This material doesn't deform like Safety Kut, yet is just as easy to carve (and in some respects, more accurate), and is capable of very fine detail with the right tools. It seems to ink up just fine, even though it seems to have surface defects when you look at it before carving. It seems as though you can carve both sides, although I haven't yet, and there seems to be more consistency in quality between pieces than I've had with Safety Kut, but I'll reserve judgment until I try some more. Anyway, it was a really good experiment, and I think I might have to buy more (even despite the stink!).