The art of wood burning or pyrography is commonly overlooked and compared to other arts and crafts. Despite this, a lot of people enjoy doing wood burning for their personal recreation or the main theme of their business. This particular type of art uses unusual tools and methods to create unique pieces.
Instead of using common art mediums, wood burning uses wood as its base and fire from a burning medium to create designs from stencils or sketches. Wood burning is technically different from wood carving since different tools and methods are used. However, they share a similar trait of carving wood to create a design.
Like many forms of arts and crafts, wood burning requires a medium (wood) and a carving tool (a burning carving tool, in this instance). Other supplementary tools can also be used in designing and polishing the medium. Like many crafts, wood burning allows the creator’s imagination to stretch in terms of variety of designs it can have.
Our Most Recommended Woodburning Kit
- Professional-grade imported tool for wood burning with 2 pens, 20 interchangeable wire tips and digital voltage control.
- Super powerful 60W wood burner features near instant heat response with digital precise voltage control
- Two small and lightweight handpieces to quickly switch between tips without waiting for the tool to cool down
- Removable tips – no need to buy extra pen, just extra tips is all you need
- 20 tips included with the kit
- Shading, razor-thin, and many other tips
Other Top Wood Burning Tools
Like any craft, wood burning is an area where you will need a variety of tools to get your expected results. A lot of equipment and help materials are available in the market and each serve their purpose.
Wood burning pens & tips
Wood burning pens and tips are the most basic tools for pyrography. There are a variety of pens that can be used as well as the diversity of tips. Wood burning pens are classified into two – the solid tips which are non-removable and pens with interchangeable tips.
The variety of tips (often found on the interchangeable tips) depends on the tasks and desired design outcome (consisting of overall effect, texture and another aesthetic scope).
Both beginners and immediate wood burners will find the Walnut Hollow Creative Woodburner Introduction Value Pen for Beginners and Intermediate Woodburners as a great starting point and introductory equipment to wood burning.
In addition, the Razertip Binding-post Interchangeable-Tip Pen is also great for people to like use a wide range of pen tips.
Razertip® pyrography tools have been setting the standard for hot-wire pyrography woodburners since the mid 1980’s. They feature near instant heat response and ultra-sharp tips (120+ lines per inch).
For those looking for pens that will give precision detail, the Dremel 2000-01 Versa Tip Precision Butane Soldering Torch is the one to beat. A must have accessory for the Dremel is the Zippo Butane, 5.82 oz, Pack of 3.
Wood burning tips are an essential part of the wood burning design and process. Tips provide a variety of functions and tasks to make a design and a project beautiful and stand-out. Tips are often sold in kits or groups to provide a variety of choices for users.
Wood burning machines & burners
Wood burning machines & burners are one of the basic equipment for wood burning. Wood burning machines, as their name implies, are machines that facilities heat to an attached pen/burner, providing the necessary heat to burn a design on the surface.
Both machines and burners come in many different models and make, providing a wood burner a variety of choices when it comes to their desired outcome. The standard for wood burning machines is to have either one or two attached burners.
Wood burning kits
In any craft, craft kits are always sought after since they provide all the necessary equipment and supplies to start. A lot of beginners would gravitate to wood burning kits to see and test run the whole process.
Likewise, many experienced wood burners also prefer the convenience of a wood burning kit, especially if they can add a variety of equipment to their arsenal.
In a nutshell, there is a lot of choice regarding wood burning kits and they are for everyone – either for beginners or for those who are already experienced in the craft.
Examples of the best wood burning kits are:
Apart from the whole burning kits, there are also wood equipment kits, especially for wood burning pens and tips. Often, many brands would assemble a wood burning pen kit to give a variety of pen and tips for the designer to choose from.
For many wood burning enthusiasts, this is a great way to create their designs without spending too much.
Wood burning stencils
Stencils are common items for many crafts. They are very useful for people and designers who want to achieve a very definite look that will help their design. Stencils can be bought as part of a kit or as a supplementary material.
A lot of designs are available in stencil (letters, pictures, patterns) and promises to deliver a very neat and perfect design.
For wood burning, stencils are very useful since it allows designers to have more control over their design. In addition, they help to create a perfect finish to a very intensive and delicate craft.
Our best pick for stencils include the following:
Wood Burning Blanks (wood)
Wood burning Blanks or wood pieces are the medium of choice for wood burning. In this craft, selecting the type of wood is a crucial factor. Not only that the type of wood blanks serves as a medium for the design, it also serves as its frame.
Treatment of the wood/blanks is also very important since heat temperature and its application causes significant burn effect on the wood. Before attempting to burn wood, make sure it is untreated and determine its type – either as softwood or hardwood.
The type of wood determines the degree of burn needed to carve or place a design.
To get the best available wood for pyrography, check out our recommendations:
Other recommended products
Like in many arts and crafts, there are the main equipment and the supporting equipment. Getting the main equipment is important since these are the main tools to create the process.
However, supporting equipment should also be considered. A lot of main equipment in pyrography also need a back-up to function properly. Some of this additional equipment also ensures safety since the craft deals with heat and burns.
A power supply is a necessary supplementary equipment. All main equipment (wood burning pens and burner) run on electricity and having a power source secure that need. In addition, a power supply is also handy to regulate the electricity to produce heat and helps to make a pen or burner last longer.
Power supply only. Requires a cord and pen to use this burner
10 amp output provides the fastest tip-heat recovery in the industry
Ideal wide-range temperature control: won’t scorch wood at “1” through to “red-hot” at 10
Ultra-stable control circuitry for consistent burns even when turned on-and-off-and-on again
Pyrography is a craft that deals with heat and burns. In many instances, designers are expected to be burnt while doing their carving. Proper protection like gloves helps the designer to be protected from the heat of the pen/burner.
If you’re just starting your woodburning journey and looking for some instruction then these books maybe just what you’re looking for. That doesn’t mean there are no books for more experienced burners looking for inspiration.
We have come to an end of our most recommended woodburning tools. The rest of this article has more information on what to look for when you are wanting to purchase, so if you already know what you want, and are ready to purchase, then no need to scroll any further. If you want further education, then proceed.
Happy burning everyone!
What Are Wood Burning Tools?
Wood burning tools are the main instruments for wood burning. Most tools are categorized into three classes: wood burning machine, wood burning pens, and wood burning tips.
The main use of this equipment is to provide a burning instrument that the designer can use to carve out their designs.
Wood Burning Machines
Wood burning machines are specially designed machines that allow a designer to carve on wood. A wood burning machine is a metal box with circuits on the inside and dials, buttons and switches and attached rods on the outside.
In some cases, wood burning machines are also called systems or units since they include all the tools that do all the tasks for wood burning. An advantage of a wood burning machine is providing a variation of heat that can be used for accenting or shading the design.
Wood burning machines/systems are sometimes preferred by designers who look for many features for an equipment or for its shading advantage.
Wood Burning Pens
A wood burning pen is the most common and identifiable equipment in wood burning. This particular equipment looks like a soldering iron or a pen-shaped device with a metal tip.
The purpose of the pen is to administer heat to the tip, which is either removable or a solid tip. The end acts as a holder for other tips in interchangeable models.
Ideally, the wood burning pen must be able to heat quickly, has a good handling grip, easy to maneuver, lightweight, a good end with an easy and adjustable portal for tips, and has variable heat temperature when in use.
The pen, depending on its design and capacity, could administer different levels of heat to the tip. Optional tools for the wood burning pen is a metal safety stand to put away the pen in between and a case when not in use.
Wood Burning Tips
Wood burning tips are either a solid tip or a removable part of a wood burning pen. The tips vary in design, depending on a particular shape or effect the designer wants on a wood piece.
In part with design, wood burning tips also have different uses. Each tip usually has a single function and does a single task. An exception to this rule is the general burning tip that provides the services of writing, burnishing, shading and other usual design tips on a piece.
The variety of tips consists of sharp tips for fine and wide detail lines, shading tips, cutting tips, shading tips, tips to make particular shapes like beads, scales, feathers scales and others. Other brands may also offer a tip set for designs that require a lot of detail and work.
Wood burning tips are usually made from brass, copper or nickel-chromium wire. The material of the tip contributes to the tip’s heat conductivity and weight comfort. In some cases, like tips made of wire, they can be used for more detailed work or design.
What to look for in a Wood Burning Machine
A wood burning machine can also be called wood burning unit or system. It is an apparatus that combines all the necessary features to make a wood burning design possible.
Wood burning machines incorporate a lot of features including circuitry inside the metal box and various buttons, panels, switches and dials on the outside needed to use while doing wood burning.
These include inputting electricity, regulating and monitoring input of heat as well as shutting the machine off. In addition to circuits and controls, wood burning machines have burners attached to them.
These burners are wired to the machine and can be either one or two burners depending on the make and model
A single burner attached to the machine is the simplest kind of wood burning machine /unit/system. The lone burner performs all the burning tasks with available wood burning tips.
Using a single burner on a complicated design may cause more time since the tip has to be changed and the pen has to be cool down for each tip to be replaced and used.
The dual burner models showcase the machine with two burners. As the name implies, the dual burners perform the same tasks like a sole burner in the wood burning machine with double capacity and more efficiency.
Advantages include using the double pens with different tips simultaneously or trying out new tips and their effects without the cooling down and burning up period of the said pens.
Different Kinds of Wood Burning Pens & Tips
The variety of wood burning pens and tips gives different treatments and approaches to the craft. In any case, many people who do wood burning would settle for a single but durable pen with different tips to achieve their designs and their intended effects.
However, many designers like to experiment with wood burning tools and find the perfect fit for their needs. This leads to many variations of not just different wood burning tips but also different pens/burners as well.
Variable Temperature Pens
Variable temperature pens are wood burning pens with the ability to change their heat output to the tip of the said pen. This variant of the wood burning pen is very popular especially for designs that require different burning treatments and achieving a particular effect in shading or texture.
Often, the output produced from this pen is very high quality. The convenience of changing and controlling heat output is the major selling point of this pen and also the reason for its popularity.
A variable temperature pen can be used in a cool temperature setting to apply design in pale woods while also be used in higher temperature to a different kind of wood.
This eliminates the need to wait for a temperature change or use another pen for the same purpose. In addition to heat and temperature control, most variable temperature pens are designed to be multi-tasking tools.
Depending on the style, design, and function, a designer can use this particular tool to do the most work in a single or multiple pieces. Plus, most variable wood burning pens are light, easy to use and maneuver since their heat setting control is not built into the pen body.
A variable temperature burning pen has a thermostat controlled base unit and the pen cord is attached to it.
Rheostat Wood Burning Pens
Rheostat Wood Burning Pens are another variant of wood burning pens. The name is derived from the temperature rheostat that is adjustable and attached to the cord.
These particular pens are often used for creating different effects and adding details. Examples include finer lines, light strokes or shading to any design.
Like the variable temperature pens, rheostat pens allow the user to control the temperature output. A particular feature of these pens is the color range dial that allows the user to change from low to medium to hot heat output and burns.
Aside from the easy temperature dial, some rheostat wood burning pens have interchangeable tips – allowing its user convenience and versatility while doing a piece in wood burning.
Pens with No Temperature Control
Although a lot of wood burning designers may use a variable temperature wood burning pen or a rheostat kind, a lot of beginners would make a one temperature pen as their first purchase.
This type of pen is the cheapest and most readily available in the market. The one temperature wood burning pen is the most basic pen and comes in one piece – the pen body and the cord are permanently attached.
As the name implies, one temperature wood burning pens only have one temperature and are designed to reach a particular heat temperature in its settings. Unlike the rheostat variant, one temperature pens are also limited to general craft and may feel heavier in long use.
Most varieties of wood burning pens have interchangeable tips, meaning that the tip used to burn the wood can be removed and replaced by another one in the process of wood burning.
The innovation of interchangeable tips is a convenience during the process and less costly compared to using wood burning pens with locked tips.
Many models of wood burning pens have a different mechanism to change the tips – some use screws while others use slots. Using interchangeable tips is more common as it is sold much cheaper compared to solid ones.
Also, using one’s own made pen tip is possible using this type. In a nutshell, a lot of designers prefer this due to its versatility, convenience and cost.
A solid tip is the opposite of a pen with interchangeable tip. In this type, the tip is firmly connected to the pen base and cannot be replaced. Another difference is pens with solid tips are costlier compared interchangeable tips.
Despite the cost and the inability to versatility, solid tips are best recommended for designers who want the best performance from their pens. This performance is due to the pens giving an even heat flow to the design.
In addition, these pens are hard wearing and will last. For this type, selection of the tip and work tasks are the most outmost consideration.
WoodBurning Buying Guide
Buying an equipment is an investment and any equipment to be bought should be considered not just in the short term but also for the long term. This is also true when buying equipment and material related to pyrography.
A lot of equipment regarding this craft are available in online and traditional stores so it’s relatively easy to find. With so many to choose from and some equipment having different variants, it is easy to be confused and be overwhelmed.
Here are our tips:
Think about your goals in pyrography. A lot of equipment in pyrography are made to last and investing in this craft can go a long way. Set your goals on what you are planning to achieve or your outputs while doing this craft. From there, try to gauge how much you’re willing to invest.
Read reviews. As mentioned, a lot of equipment and suppliers are readily available and it is easy to look but not to decide which item/s to buy. Before buying, try to read as many reviews as you can. Try sourcing from different suppliers and find a price range you’re comfortable with. If you can, you can reach out to pyrography enthusiasts and ask for advice.
Do your homework. Much of the equipment deal with heat and electricity so better get familiar with terms like voltage and parts of wood burning pen/burner. Seek out sites that deal with wood burning and learn the basics. In addition, keep notes of supplies and equipment designed especially for pyrography. Another aspect of research is the type of wood to be used as a medium.
Pyrography is a great way to exhibit one’s own creativity and skill. Playing with fire does lead to burns but pyrography takes it on another level by producing a piece of beauty and design. This art form might not be the most common but it is the most challenging and fulfilling among its kind.