Sunday, November 6, 2016


Pyrography, which is an awesome name, is basically using a heat source to burn a pattern into something, often leather or wood. It can vary from pretty straightforward (e.g. some letters) to super intense, like this thing:
Just in case anyone was fooled, that picture is not of my work.

I picked up a Pyrography Pen and decided to give it a shot. My results were less dramatic, but functional:

Surprise! I went with straightforward
I practiced a bunch on some scrap, and learned the basics of how it felt to write with a pen that used heat as ink (I pretended I was a surgeon using one of those elctro-cautery-scalpel-thingies; it feels very cool). The two main issues that I found were keeping the right part of the tip of the pen in contact with the wood so it burned a thin-straight line, and to mind the different densities of the growth rings.

It really does operate and look like a pen, a pen with 1000+ degree ink

Different parts of the tip give different results, from shading to thin lines, and probably a lot more I have no idea how to do
The first issue is that basically I wanted a thin, clean, line, like a ballpoint pen, but the tips aren't exactly shaped that way. Lean the flatter part into the wood, and it shades a larger space, and looks all wrong for what I was going for. The other issue is that as the seasons come and go, trees grow a different rates, which makes the familiar rings of a tree or its grain pattern when cut into lumber. Those rings/patterns are different densities, that burn a different rates, and can give way under the pen if you're not careful. The only way to do this is to move with at a slow, deliberate, pace.

Pattern layout
I printed out some big letters on Word, traced them onto the surface with a pencil, and got to burning.

I'm practically a typographer (I am not a typographer)
Sidenote: Go into a word processor and blow up a J of any font. They all look kind of weird and are very narrow with odd proportioning to other letters. I guess the typeface design folks draw them the way they do for a reason, but they just don't look right blown up like this. I just made this J up.

Finished product
Also, shocker warning, curves are trickier than straight lines. You can see my 9 leaves a little to be desired. But, all-in-all, for the first pyrography of my life, I'm very pleased with how it turned out, and even more pleased with what the piece became a part of.


  1. You should be pleased with how it turned out. Your bench of wedding guest signatures is stunning.