Before getting into another long blog post, I thought I'd share some photos of the carving tools I use.
The short one on the left with the round handle is the only European style gauge I use. The ones on the right with the long handles are the Japanese-style gauges (and chisel) I use. I don't prefer one over the other in regards to comfort while carving. I do find this Japanese set to have more uses hence why I use more of them. This particular set cost about $30 at Graphic Chemical. The European set costs about $40. Luckily I did not buy the European set.
Below is a close-up of the blades. From left to right: Small "V" gauge, small "U" gauge, chisel, large "U" gauge, and large "V" gauge. While I find myself using more tools from the Japanese set, the one European small "V" gauge is probably the tool I've been using the most while working on this print. It is very good at creating small, thin lines. Luckily, it stays sharp with only occasional sharpening.
The "U' gauges are better for larger areas, but they don't feel as sharp as the "V" gauges.
As for the chisel, I used it a lot with the black block in very tight, detailed areas. The technique with it is different than the other tools. I would take the point of the blade and carve around the edge of a shape, then I would come back in at a slight angle to slice the piece off. It's very time consuming, but it was necessary to get the details I wanted. Here is a crude illustration that I made of the technique.
Now back to carving!