If there is one thing about pyrography that you need to take seriously, it’s safety. Writing with fire is fun, and it gets interesting when the art begins to take shape. But as you work around your project, things do get ugly even without your notice, from the nib of the pen getting hot to tools falling unknowingly all over the place. So here’s what you need to keep in mind.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to leave the burner heating when it’s not in use. Sue Walter advises against this, and it isn’t something you should be doing either.


Make sure you turn off the heat of your burners when you leave your work. Fires can start if the nib tips over and kids will also be in danger of touching the hot element. Don’t be tempted to burn so heavy on ply that you burn into the glue layer. This is toxic and when heated, the fumes can be harmful.

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The last thing you want to happen is to start a fire that you can control by simply turning off the heat when you are not using the tool.

I stumbled on an interesting discussion on Reddit on by CreepyOldThreeBalls on pyrography safety. And I thought this one was worth sharing, to be frank.

Generally, a good rule of thumb is never inhale

Some woods have more toxic properties when burnt, like cedar, not good to inhale the dust or the smoke, or treated lumber… just work in decent ventilation. i don’t use anything more than a fan in my shop window to pull out the air. If I’m doing a really dark section and know I’m burning a lot, I’ll wear a dust mask.

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Honestly, the last thing you want to happen is your body developing unnecessary health complications that you can simply avoid.

According to Pyrography World, not every wood is suitable for pyrography. So, you can’t just use any type for the project.

Woods to avoid

It is very important to avoid using any wood that has been painted, stained, pressure treated, molded, etc. Even after heavy cleaning or sanding the chemicals from these processes can still be deep in the wood and burning them can be very harmful to your health. As a general rule avoid working with any wood that is man-made or man-altered. Man-made woods include MDF (medium-density fibreboard) and plywood. MDF contains formaldehyde and that isn’t something we want to be working with in pyrography.

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We recommend that you use only the most recommended woods for the project. The likes of Basil and Basswood are good examples to consider.


Safety is important; do not compromise it. The best way to stay safe is to observe the safety measures that we have highlighted every time you are doing small and big pyrography projects.