A woodburner is a valuable and in many cases vital piece of technology for a pyrography artist. They are by far one of the most easy and cheap methods for doing pyrography, and they achieve great results.
What is a Burner?
Put into very simple terms, a burner is a machine designed to heat a tool for pyrography. They’re mostly quite small and come in different types depending on the kind of work you want to do.
A transformer in the burner provides the power and directs it through the cord to the pen, which heats up the tip you use to burn with.
Burners generally have a temperature control and will always have either one or two plugs into which you connect your pyrography pen. These are, respectively, called single- and dual-burners.
In fact, a lot of serious artists tend to have multiple different burners for doing different projects. Some will be single-burners, and some dual, and some will have a low range of settings and some a very high range of settings.
One or Two
Single- and dual-burners are designed specifically with the pyrography artist in mind. They have everything an artist could want, and there are lots of different models to choose from.
A lot of burners with settings will have a temperature control of 1-10, each number representing a temperature. A higher number means a higher temperature, and wood burns a little differently depending on how hot the pen is, so for detailed work this is incredibly useful.
Some burners might also have a small extra dial, for temperatures lower than 1, when 1 is just too hot still for the project they’re working on.
Single burners have only got one plug for a pen, so to change between pens requires unplugging the previous hand piece and plugging in the new one. Dual-burners however have 2 plugs, and so can have 2 pens running from it at once. These pens can be interchanged with the flick of a switch on the burner.
The Confusing Business with Wattage
Generally speaking, more watts is better when it comes to electrical appliances. In the case of woodburning however, it doesn’t really matter.
The wattage makes no huge difference when it comes to the quality of the burner, and you should always base your decision off the features you want.
Burners with a solid-point pen that only have one set temperature are a slightly different story. These burners tend to heat up more depending on their wattage, and so care should be taken when selecting tips to use because some tips may not suit the kind of heat put out by one of these burners.
The Burning Question: What do you Buy?
Your decision on what burner to buy when trying to find a burner should never be made off the wattage or any individual feature. Think carefully about what you’ll require any burner you buy to achieve.
If it’s your first burner it can be especially tricky to know what you want. Take your time, look at your options, and consider what it is that you want to do. For a beginner a versatile but simple burner is probably your best option.
If you’re a more experienced pyrography artist will probably have a good idea of what you want, whether a single- or dual-burner or a burner for solid-point pens.
The effects you want to achieve will be determined by the type of burner and tips you have, so always keep in mind what features you want when selecting a burner to buy. With so many options available, you’re sure to find one that’s just right for you.
So What Should You Look For When Buying Pyrography Machines?
There are lots of different machines available for doing pyrography. Machine types vary greatly and while some are simple and suitable for beginners, others are best for more experienced pyrographers.
It helps to have an idea of what you want to achieve and how much you’re willing to spend before investing in a pyrography machine. Some can be bought cheap but will not have the precision or long life that will come with expensive machines.
Taking a while to look into your options will definitely help you in the long run. There are plenty of machines available, so if you plan on spending a sizeable sum take your time deciding what you want.
These machines are designed to be safe and easy to use with practice, and can generally be divided into 3 categories:
- Wire-nib burners
- Solid-point burners
- Laser cutters
A wire-nib burner is a pen attached to a machine that has settings so you can heat your nib to multiple temperatures. Machines on wire-nib burners can heat the nib very quickly, usually it’s hot enough to use within a few seconds.
The nibs on wire-nib burners are made of fine but sturdy wire bent with a point between two rods at the end of a pen-shaped tool which you hold onto. Nibs also easy to make and are interchangeable, so you can switch between them while you’re working to achieve different effects.
Nibs can be made to get different effects by using thicker or finer wire or coiling more wire around the very end to make a broad tip for creating wide lines and shading. The machines themselves have settings for the temperature and plugs for the pens.
Solid-point burners are incredibly simple and easy to use. They can only be heated to a set temperature, unlike the wire-nib burners, and so many people prefer the wire-nibs. However solid-point burners are very sturdy and great for beginners.
They’re designed to be able to withstand hot temperatures for a lengthy period of time. They’re not suitable for doing detailed designs since they have broader tips and a set temperature, but work well for doing simple designs.
Solid-point burner pens are more uncomfortable to hold than wire-nibs because they’re usually larger and more solid. Their nibs must also be completely cool before being changed, as they’re made from soft brass and can be damaged easily when they’re hot.
Laser cutters are advanced pieces of machinery made for cutting wood and other materials, but some have very sensitive settings and can be set to scorch something as delicate as paper.
They’re great for producing very precise pieces of art without the long time it takes using a pen and manually burning the lines into wood.
However, they’re expensive to buy and can be dangerous to operate. If a laser cutter is the way you want to go, look into the types of laser cutters and decide carefully what will be best for you.
…don’t rush deciding what you’re going to spend your hard-earned money on, especially if you’re a beginner. When starting out it’s advised to start small and practice with simpler tools and materials.
For the pyrography expert your options are generally broader, as experience in the art can give you a much clearer idea of what you want and what you can do with the different tools.
But most importantly, for anyone doing pyrography at any level, choose the tool that you will enjoy the most. In the end, you want to be enjoying yourself and doing something you are passionate about.