Pyrography—A Burning Question

Pyrography—A Burning Question

Last week, Rob wondered who among you play with fire on your woodworking projects. Several of you share comments and photos of your “pyro” pursuits. – Editor

“My son is a building framer in Bend, Oregon, and he builds some extraordinary homes. The one he is working on now has the customer burning the outside of the larger-diameter beams with a propane torch. It’s an art perfected in Japan that apparently has some beneficial properties.” – Pat Clark

“I made this tray with a pyrography scene of Arizona on the bottom. The tray is red oak and the bottom with the scene is baltic birch plywood. I deliberately did not sand all imperfections out of the tray so it would look rustic. I’ve also made two ring boxes as wedding gifts for my nephew and his bride. I burned their first initials respectively on each of the boxes.” – Jerry Green

“The only wood burning that I have done on a project, outside of setting fire to failed projects, is using one of the Rockler’s ‘Crafted By’ branding irons, which was given to me as a gift.” – J. Eric Pennestri

“I am a proponent for pyrography. I love to embellish my projects with this personalized method to take my projects to the next level, and I have had wonderful reviews from the recipients. In my last project, I traced a copy of my wife’s favorite picture of our two King Charles Cavaliers onto a 1/8-in.-thick piece of old drawer bottom and then burned it, framed it (shop made frame from an old pallet slat) and gave it to her for Mother’s Day. She loved it, by the way, and it made my kids all a little envious. Pyrography is actually quite therapeutic, and I highly recommend it. For those wanting to give it a go, forgo the little cheap burners and get a quality burner with interchangeable tips or pens. Your experience will be vastly more satisfying.” – Chuck Lungstrom

“While woodburning is not in my wheelhouse either, my wife and I make a great team, and it is in hers. Here is a sample of what we did for one of our grandsons last year. I made a wood ‘treasure chest,’ and she did the dragon design on it.” – Pete and Linda S.

“Here was a project of mine that not only used pyrography and scroll saw but also a bit of watercolor and used skateboards.” – Michael Riffel

“I have not tried pyrography, but I have stumbled upon another type of wood burning you might be interested in: it’s called fractal burning and done by a device called a Lichtenberg machine. Before I continue, I have to say that this device creates 2,200 volts of electricity to burn wood. It is extremely dangerous, and I don’t recommend that anyone try this without a lot of research and at least a basic understanding of electricity. Obvious danger aside, this is a fascinating and very artistic way to decorate wood projects. Each burn is completely unique and can also be enhanced by adding colored two-part epoxy to the burns. A Google search for fractal or Lichtenberg burning will show you thousands of beautiful wood pieces done by those who practice this hobby. Here’s a link to a Google Drive video of how I built my own machine (click here).” – Dean Rohs

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