Burning Things

Burning stuff – it’s big and clever.

I’ve done a bit of pyrography before, burning wood for decorative purposes, but usually to deepen the colour in a carved design or some such. I think I’ve done pyrography on leather at some point, I vaguely remember the smell being awful, but I can’t remember what it was for. I really must sort out the old pictures on this site, it’s probably in there somewhere!

Anyway, when I’ve used the technique before I’ve just used my soldering iron and an old, knackered, soldering tip. This gets an ok result, but anything delicate or particularly accurate is out of the question. I did have another quick go with my soldering iron again, and tried out my newer handheld iron from Maplin. The tip on that is much smaller than the ones in my mains powered iron, so it did get finer lines, but it doesn’t seem to heat up as much so takes longer. It is a handy little tool to have around though, I only bought it for a LARP character but now use it more than my mains powered iron. It’s designed so you have to hold the trigger down to keep it powered, but I took it apart and rigged it to an on/off switch. Much easier to use.


I picked up a proper pyrography tool at Axminster. It’s an entry level one with no temperature control, but came with a handful of different tips and was very affordable.


Having the proper tool makes a big difference. I was able to actually stick to lines. Even with the lack of temperature control I managed a bit of shading, nothing fancy but good enough for me.

The different bits are much easier to use than soldering iron tips and get much crisper edges.






I sanded down a lump of pallet wood to play on and drew out a mandala design in pencil. Trying to follow the pencil lines was rather difficult. Next time, I’d be better doing a rougher outline and figuring out what shapes the pyrography tool is happy with me making rather than trying to match the tool to a drawn shape. The grain of the wood also influences the pattern, which I hadn’t really considered. Overall, it’s not bad for a first attempt. I’ll have another go at some point.


In other news, I’ve finally finished the evil Roses jigsaw my mum got me for Christmas last year. It was fiendish, but filled many rainy days!

And my cats now have pink nails. We’re trying cheaper ones than their usual brand so I wanted a different colour to tell them apart. Clearly that colour had to be bright pink. Kiki approves.

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