Wood engraving is essentially a variety of woodblock whereby an artist engraves into a block of hardwood usually cherry or of boxwood. The artist works into the endgrain of the block (pre prepared to be mirror-smooth) which enables the artist to engrave a much finer line than is possible on the softer material used for woodcut. As with both woodblock and linocut the artist aims to carve away the areas of the block that he does not want to hold the ink using a variety of very fine tools called gravers. Once finished engraving he inks up the block and prints the block using a press or worked over by hand with a tool called a baren used to burnish the back of the paper.

The nature of using end on wood for the block tends to limit the size of wood engravings although this is changing with modern materials like resin.