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Signing Bowls?

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Thomas Heck, Mar 7, 2020.

  1. Thomas Heck

    Thomas Heck

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    Just wondering if anyone uses a wood burning pen to sign bowls. I have used sharpies, bought a wood burning iron with signature, and currently use dremel engraver, then I stain the engraving. If the bottom isn’t perfectly flat, the iron rocks and doesn’t look good. The sharpies run and wear off. And the engraver works ok, but you have to then put stain in it to make it show. Just thought a wood burning pen might work. Thanks
     
  2. Charles Cadenhead

    Charles Cadenhead

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    @Thomas, do you mean something like the Scorch Pen? https://scorchmarker.com/ I worry something like this would rub off. I use a Burnmaster kit with a very fine tip. It works fine, I just wish my penmanship was better. :)
     
  3. GRJensen

    GRJensen

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    I keep a Colwood Cub woodburner with a writing tip in the shop to sign bowls, etc. I also have an electric branding iron, but it requires a pretty flat surface or it produces irregular results (I used the branding iron on flat work before I started turning ... it doesn't get much use now!).
     
  4. Dennis J Gooding

    Dennis J Gooding

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    I generally use a woodburning tip with a tiny ball. It sees to glide better than a pointed tip.
     
  5. Thomas Heck

    Thomas Heck

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    Scorch pen looks neat but I guess I was more thinking of a simple wood burning pen that you could hold good enough to sign with. Thanks for replies.
     
    Charles Cadenhead likes this.
  6. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    A great many turners sign with a wood burning tip.
    What generally works best is a small ball or rounded wire tip as they move easily in all directions.
    Experiment with speed and temperature.
    Generally a slow writing speed and med low temperature works best.

    I find wearing optivisors ( magnifying lenses) helps too.
     
    Tom Albrecht likes this.
  7. Thomas Heck

    Thomas Heck

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    I found a Chandler wood burner with good reviews. It looked small and simple to use.
     
  8. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    If it is the one I saw on amazon - looks hard to write with. The hand piece is so far from the burning tip.
    Easy to burn straight lines. It doesn’t look good for script.
     
  9. Don Wattenhofer

    Don Wattenhofer

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    If you want to stick with pens go to a fabric store and purchase a "fabric pen" they don't bleed, they are quick and are unaffected by solvents.
     
    Tom Albrecht likes this.
  10. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    If it looks like this then I would say that is not going to work well.

    I have a Detail Master which is no longer available, but I like Optima woodburning pens from PJL Enterprises. They have ball tipped writing pens which are excellent for signing the bottom of bowls.
     
  11. Leo Van Der Loo

    Leo Van Der Loo

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    I have been using a pyrography burning pen to sign my turnings for a long time, it works well, though some woods are harder to write on than others, slow and steady works best for me.

    Here are some that show how I sign and also the burner and pens that go with it, there all kinds of pens, a “writing” tip works best and what I use, Lee Valley is one of the places that sell the pens and burners.
    https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop/tools/power-tools/31042-the-razertip-wood-burning-systems


    Bottoms 1.jpg bottoms 2.jpg Burners and pens.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2020
  12. Thomas Heck

    Thomas Heck

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    Thanks a lot. That was the one and that was kind of my thoughts but saw some example stuff and thought it might work. Thanks for the photos. Looks like some nice work and burner works well.
     
  13. Thomas Heck

    Thomas Heck

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    I looked at the pjl website. Looks like they have ball point in 19 s- l. Which would be best. Thanks
     
  14. Russell Nugent

    Russell Nugent

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  15. Bill Blasic

    Bill Blasic

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    I use a Pigma Micron Pen, archival ink that does not smudge. I have not found a finish that bothers it.
     
  16. Thomas Heck

    Thomas Heck

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    Thanks again for all the help.
     
  17. Lamar Wright

    Lamar Wright

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    I use a Optima woodburning pen as well to sign my work. It is very easy to control and you can adjust the heat as well.
     
  18. Doug Freeman

    Doug Freeman

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    Another option is an engraver. I've seen quite a few turners use them, as do I. I use this one from Dremel, less than $30 https://www.dremel.com/en_US/products/-/show-product/tools/290-engraver-kit. I use a black pen to write whatever, then go over that with the engraver. Versus a burner the wood is indented and more difficult to remove, not sure if that is an advantage or not. I've considered a burner, but I don't think it saves me time - I would need to use pen/pencil to write with, then trace with a burner, probably about the same time. If one can "sign" with a burner without tracing it out it saves time.

    One advantage of an engraver is marking on metals - I use it to put various markings on tools and such, it will mark hardened tool steel.
     
  19. Don Wattenhofer

    Don Wattenhofer

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    That is what I was referring to I just bought mine at a quilting store.
     
  20. Timothy Allen

    Timothy Allen

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    A simple soldering iron with a chisel tip can be used to burn basic block lettering....

    (Edit: I a should have written this out in all caps..... ;-)
     
  21. Kalia Kliban

    Kalia Kliban

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    Russ Braun and charlie knighton like this.
  22. Thomas Heck

    Thomas Heck

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    Thanks for the photo and all the advice. You all have given me plenty options.
     
  23. Thomas Heck

    Thomas Heck

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    I have that engraver, just doesn’t show up good on some woods. So I always put stain in the engraving and sometimes it bleeds and doesn’t look too good. So I thought burning might be simpler. I just scratch it out with the engraver. I guess using a pencil might make it neater. Thanks again
     
  24. Gary Beasley

    Gary Beasley

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    Rubbing gilt wax into the engraving may look better than stain and hold edges better.
     
    Emiliano Achaval likes this.
  25. Thomas Heck

    Thomas Heck

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    I’m guessing you burn the wood before finishing or buffing. Is that correct?
     
  26. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    That is best
    I often do it after the first coat of finish
     
  27. Thomas Heck

    Thomas Heck

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    Thanks
     
  28. Jim Woods

    Jim Woods

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    I use a $40 pyrography pen. It would look better if my penmanship wasn't so bad.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2020
    Charles Cadenhead likes this.
  29. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    There have been several threads about this same topic. I know, I started one a few years ago. I wanted to buy a branding iron. I ended up using my Dremel engraver, like Betty Scarpino. On some work I rub a gold wax pen that Cindy Drozda sells, then I spray lacquer. Looks very classy. You might want to search for the older threads. Aloha
     
  30. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    Jim, that's a new one, what is a photography pen?
     
  31. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    Have used two methods till recently. Sign with pyrograpgy and place logo in center with bit I made to achieve 3 interlocked circled. I looked on Etsy and found branding irons for $27 from China and takes a month almost exactly. The first I ordered 1 inch and it was 1 inch wide but 1.5 tall so I ordered a 1/5 inch and it works great.Images are deceiving but the first is the larger iron IMG_3871.jpg IMG_3968.JPG
     
  32. Thomas Heck

    Thomas Heck

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    Thanks a lot for the pics and info. I’ll look at the other threads.
     
  33. Jim Woods

    Jim Woods

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    Ahhhhhh, don't you love autocorrect? S/B pyrography pen, Emiliano
     
  34. Thomas Heck

    Thomas Heck

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    I appreciate all the help. I ended ordering an Optima 1. It seems to work great. First time I’ve used a woodblock. Thanks again.
     
  35. Fred Belknap

    Fred Belknap

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    I use a fine Sharpie applied after the first coat of finish has dried. It is captured between coats of finish and will stay indefinitely. Cheap to.
     
  36. RichColvin

    RichColvin

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    What size and type of grinding tip do you use?
     
  37. RichColvin

    RichColvin

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    Does anyone use a Foredom ?
     
  38. Doug Freeman

    Doug Freeman

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    The tip that comes on the engraver. Its carbide tipped. The engraver tip doesnt rotate , it oscillates up and down at a fairly high frequency and the amplitude can be adjusted.
     

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