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Woodburning tips?

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Tom Hansen, Aug 22, 2020.

  1. Tom Hansen

    Tom Hansen

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2020
    Messages:
    59
    Location (City & State):
    Portland, OR
    I happen to have found myself in possession of a razertip woodburner. Last time I did any woodburning was 30 years ago and if I remember correctly it was actually a soldering iron. Suffice to say I have no idea what I'm doing and am anxious to mess up a lot of my work that I spent time turning and sanding.

    My question to people experienced in woodburning is, if you were to buy 5 tips knowing today what you didn't know when you first started, what would they be?

    The single pen I have is a very fine writing ball tip. I am definitely buying a "create your own tip" type pen to accept homemade nichrome wire shapes. There are shaders and skews and quills and beads and sharps and .... you get the point (see what I did there). I have no idea what I want to do and I'm sure that's 100% of the problem. I just plan on exploring pyrography with no goals and lots of curiosity. I'll probably play with repeating geometric patterns and use some graphite paper to do specific shapes/pictures. If there is anything you'd recommend I'd love to hear it.

    Thanks in advance

    Edited to add: I have a razertip SK
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2020
  2. GRJensen

    GRJensen

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    Location (City & State):
    Bay Settlement, WI
    Good question ... I'll be following the responses!
     
  3. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

    Joined:
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    Location (City & State):
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    Well there are 2 types of woodburning or pyrography. One is what I call Branding and the other I call pyrography. Probably a misnomer on my part but it works for me. Branding is when you use high heat and literally brand the wood. Usually with lots of smoke and charred wood. Molly Winton is known for this style along with a lot of other artists. It's primarily a texturing procedure. The other method is to use very light heat so that it leave a thin clean line and you draw on the wood and create shapes. Then there is sort of a combination where you create 3D images and have everything from thin crisp lines to shading and finally heavily burned. Done properly it creates an image that looks just like a Black and white photo. Cynthia gibson does a lot of the fine line work that is incredible. this is a great book to get you started. I highly recommend it. https://www.amazon.com/Pyrography-B...=Laura+Irish+pyrography&qid=1598140790&sr=8-8
     
    hockenbery and Bill Boehme like this.
  4. William Rogers

    William Rogers

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    Mar 19, 2016
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    Location (City & State):
    Haubstadt, Indiana
    I have the wire and tip for homage. That works ok for odd shaped things. I would recommend getting some made pens for the basics like a skew and shading. I also recommend PJL for any pens. I have a Burnmaster and a few of the burgomaster pens. I bought some pens from PJL and they are far superior to the Burnmaster. You need a lot less heat with the PJL to get the better results. I also recommend you get his lead for the pens.
     
  5. Curtis Fuller

    Curtis Fuller

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2005
    Messages:
    151
    Location (City & State):
    North Ogden, Utah
    I'll second William Rogers comment about the PJL pens. I've got a couple pens that accept interchangeable tips but find that they're either big and awkward to hold onto or they get too hot to hold for very long. The PJL pens are comfortable to use. I like a medium skew for drawing straight lines and a small skew for the curves. PJL now has a pen for doing the basketweave branding (coils that alternate). It's also the source for the basket illusion pens. For doing a stipple type of texture I prefer just a bent wire over a ball tip. Because it takes less heat and because it takes so long to create the stipple texturing that makes a big difference when holding onto the pen.
    You'll need a few other things to maintain the pen tips. I like a small brass brush for cleaning off the ash that can build on the tip. Most the time when you're having trouble with the pen burning it's because the tip is dirty and not because it needs more heat. A diamond card is also good for sharpening the skew tips so that they'll draw a finer line. Also, and important, get something to keep you from breathing the smoke. I use a box fan that blows the smoke away. And a leather apron is good if you're doing any heavy branding. Small cinders will come off the pen and burn holes in your clothes (and you). But like everything else, as you do it you'll figure out what works best for you and develop your own way of doing things.
     
    Ed Davidson likes this.
  6. Tom Hansen

    Tom Hansen

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    Location (City & State):
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    With endorsements like this it seems like a no brainer. Book is on hold waiting for pickup at the library.
     
  7. Tom Hansen

    Tom Hansen

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2020
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    Location (City & State):
    Portland, OR
    The razertip I have uses a connecter that appears to be a standard female RCA connection. The PJL pens look male. Am I correct in assuming if I but a simple male to female RCA adapter they'll work? Thanks for the tips. First thing I thought when I picked up the razertip pen was how flimsy it was.
     
  8. Tim Connell

    Tim Connell

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2018
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    Location (City & State):
    Cameron, Illinois
    Tom,
    Pat, the owner of PJL cautions against using RCA cords and adapters for burning uses. Don't remember the details, but believe using them can lead to power units failing as they are not designed for this use. He sells adapter cords to go from different power units to his pens, for not much money. I'd recommend giving him a call and discussing your needs.
     
  9. Dennis J Gooding

    Dennis J Gooding

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    Location (City & State):
    Grants Pass Oregon
    I have the PJL Optima 1 and several of their tips and have been very satisfied. Most of my burnings involve stippling, myriad burned dots to create patterns. For this, I use a skew to define borders and a large ball tip for filling in. A few involve line drawings, which mostly are done with a skew. Here are examples of each:
     

    Attached Files:

  10. GRJensen

    GRJensen

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2011
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    Location (City & State):
    Bay Settlement, WI
    I have two Colwood burners ... a Cub that I keep in the shop to sign the bottom of my pieces, and a Detailer Pro II that I use in a little "studio" I have set up in the basement. I have several of Colwood's replaceable tip pens, and a small collection if medium rounds, shaders, etc.
    TreePlatter.JPG
     
  11. Dennis J Gooding

    Dennis J Gooding

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    Location (City & State):
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    Pretty piece GR.
     
  12. William Rogers

    William Rogers

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    Tom, call Pat at PJL. He will talk your arm off and should warn of some salty language is possible if that would offend. However he is very knowledgeable on all the woodturners and their connections.
     
  13. Tom Hansen

    Tom Hansen

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2020
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    Location (City & State):
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    Pat got me educated (as best as possible) and I've got a handful of tips on the way. Thanks for the suggestions all. Excited to make some lines.
     
    William Rogers likes this.

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