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Self-Healing Mat–Traditional Stencil Carving Tool
SELF-HEALING CUTTING MAT-The square box to the left actually is a picture of the mat. It’s simply a flat rectangular sheet.

The mat is placed under the stencil paper to help facilitate sharp, clean lines when cutting a stencil. The mat allows your blade to pierce the paper and at the same time protect your table top. The mat should be a bit resilient and should not contribute to the dulling of the knife, nor should it deflect you blade as you work. 

In Okinawa, dried blocks of toufu were used. On mainland Japanese, older-style professional carvers will use a mat of wood. Contemporary studio artists use a self-healing mat designed specifically for  this purpose. 

When all else fails, an Olfa® brand type of quilters cutting mat will also do.
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