- The art of wood burning is called pyrography.picture from wood image by Artiom Radonezhskiy from Fotolia.com
The art of burning wood, called pyrography, has been around for a long time. Although most projects of this type end in a beautiful work of art, the tools and supplies for this hobby have changed over the years. The wood burning tool has evolved from a metal poker heated by hot coals, to a bulky soldering iron, to today's lightweight ergonomic pens and tips.
- Basswood is popular for beginning wood burning projects. It burns well with and against the grain. The light color and uniform texture make basswood highly receptive to fine detail. Eastern white pine is soft and burns easily. This wood is a bit more difficult to burn against the grain and the knots can be undesirable for some. Others enjoy incorporating the knots into their designs. Hardwoods, such as oak and ash, require higher temperatures to burn, do not burn evenly and are used by only skilled pyrographers, according to the Wood Box.
Burner Tool and Tips
- Experts at the Wood Box say the most popular pyrography tool is the wood burning pen. Two styles of pens are available. The pen and tip may be one piece, called a fixed tip pen, that can be separated from the power line, or the pen is not detachable from the power line but the tip can be removed from the pen, called an interchangeable tip pen. Various tips are available for either style. Some of the more common tips are the fine-point tip, used for fine details and crosshatching; the round-tip, which huskier than the fine tip and used for heavy dot shading and thicker, deeper line work; and the shading tip, which resembles a small spoon and is used to shade large areas.
- Graphite transfer papers for wood burning projects do not contain wax, so lines can easily be erased after burning and the pages can be reused many times. The wood burning specialists at Nedra Denison and Sawdust Connection recommend using a stylus for pattern transfer. Transfer paper also comes in white for transferring patterns to dark or painted surfaces.
Oil Color Pencils
- Oil-based colored pencils are an alternative to painting. Wood burning projects are often finished with a bit of color. Oil color pencils are semi-opaque, letting the grain in the wood show through. One set of oil pencils is made by Walnut Hallow and cost about $20 for a set of 24, as of 2010.