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Irish Pyrography Seminar

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  • Irish Pyrography Seminar

    GOOD MORNING!!!

    Please pull up your computer chair to our virtual class table and let's have some fun!

    I would like to remind our Guests visiting this message board to please Register so that you can see the step-by-step photos, the patterns and drawing, and join in this thread by posting. Click on this link to register

    Introduction:

    I had a wonderful chance to meet Pat of PJL Enterprises, the creator of the Optima wood burner, before the recent holidays. During our chat Pat offered me the opportunity to put his burner, the Optima I Dual Burner, through its paces here on the WCI forum.

    Thank you Pat!

    We have already taken a close look at the Colwood burner, please stop by Acorn WIP, and the Walnut Hollow Versa-Tool. During this thread we are going to take the Optima I Dual Pen Unit out for a test drive.

    So I hope you will join me as I put the Optima I Dual Burner through it's paces by working an in-depth landscape scene on a basswood plaque. This thread is meant to be a member interactive project, a virtual class room. So you are invited to pull up your computer chair to the digital class table, get your burner and pens ready to have some fun.

    I will be posting a series of steps each day over the next week, with lots and lots of photos. As you follow along please feel free to post your questions and comments. A special invitation to post goes out to those forum members that already use the Optima as we would love to hear your impression of this unit.

    If you are working along with me, please feel free to post your WIP photos.

    Standard Disclaimer:

    I will be posting my honest opinions on how this burner unit preforms and you will be able to see this burner and the pen tips used throughout the entire tutorial.



    This thread is not meant to be used as a comparison of one manufacturer's burner unit to another' but only as a chance for us to see the Optima in use. So please let stay on track with postings focusing on either the Optima or on the Pride of the Irish Barn project.

    If you ask questions about the Optima that I cannot answer I reserve the right to go directly to Pat and invite him to join in so that you can find the information that you want.

    Irish_tools_01.jpg
    IrishScan_008.jpg

    Susan


  • #2
    Re: Irish Pyrography Seminar

    Bob Duncan, our board moderator, has kindly posted an easy to download PDF file on wood Carving Illustrated so that you will have the full sized patterns for this project. Please take a moment to go to Advertising Barn PDF.

    I am posting the small pattern images here on the thread which you can also download with a 'right hand click' and selecting 'save file' or 'save image'. Remember that these patterns are meant for your use in creating your own Advertising Barn Landscape burning and that you can adjust their printed size to fit your board using an Image Editing or Photo Editing program.


    Susan


    FYI - I will be posting this thread on the
    Pyrography Online message board as I post here. So as you go get a copy of the patterns I will slip over to our sister board to open the class table.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Irish Pyrography Seminar

      Supplies:

      Optima wood burning unit
      PH19M medium ball point tip pen
      PH18M spear point shader tip pen
      PH12 rounded skew, heavy duty
      PH17 coarse hair pen
      heavy duty pen cords

      Walnut Hollow #18512 Chippendale basswood plaque - 16" x 11 1/2"

      #2 - #6 soft artists’ pencil
      Transparent tape
      White artist's eraser
      Ruler
      Aluminum oxide compound
      Leather strop
      9" x 9" 1/8" birch plywood practice board
      220 grit sandpaper
      Large brown paper bag or heavy craft paper

      During this seminar I am using the Optima I and its pens. If you already have a burner and will be using that burner you will want a medium or large writing tip pen, a spoon or spear styled shader pen, and a large skew tip pen. It is my understanding that Optima is the only manufacture of a coarse hair tip pen, for these steps you may use the side of your spoon shader.


      Of course there are many natural surfaces that we pyrographers can use including leather, gourds, cotton cloth, paper and even paper mache. I have chosen basswood as its clean white surface allows even the palest temperature burns to have a strong appearance.



      Susan

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Irish Pyrography Seminar

        Optima I Dual Pen Burner Unit:

        As I am unpacking the unit, pens, and cord from the box I have three quick, delightful surprises.

        1. Each pen measures about 6 1/2" long from connection end to burning tip. They are light weight and have extra thick, firm foam wrapping at the finger holding point. That foam is more than substantial and measures a 1/4" thick. This is not the thinner, soft foam padding of one of my other burning units; this foam is 1/4" thick, strong, and extra firm.


        2. The wire that creates the burning tip is heavy weight; I would estimate at least an 18 gauge wire. The solder points are neat and clean, so it appears that each soldering point has been inspected individually as they were cleaned.


        3. I have two heavy duty cords with the Optima that connect the burning pen to the unit. Each has a stick-on pen hold that I can attach where I want to the unit. On opening these cords I will admit that I was shocked! Those cords are soft, subtle, and extremely flexible. Unlike several of my other burners these cords feel as though I will not have to fight a stiff cord to get my pen tip into proper position. Flexible rubber ... not stiff plastic ... Oh, I think I am in love!

        4. The RCA plug connection on the pens is male with the female connector on the HD cord. It took a fair bit of pressure to create a full, tight joint between the two, very positive. Both ends of the HD cord are covered the connection ends with a soft boot.

        5. The Optima I is a dual pen unit with a simple toggle switch to change from one pen to the other. The numbers on the dial are large and clear, and the overall foot prints of the unit small - 5" x 5 1/2" total. It has small feet which lift the unit off the table to release extra heat. HD = heavy duty

        6. Reading the instructions which came with the unit there is a note that the Optima I has a set screw that can be adjusted by the user to set the low temperature end of the setting, along with instructions of how to gauge any adjustment you make. I have not and will not be making any adjustments for this tutorial but did want to say this is a possibility for you.

        7. Also included in the instructions is a step on how to clean your pen tips with a leather strop and aluminum oxide that is well worth reading. Also of note here is that Optima has an excellent FAQ section on their website that is well worth reading even if you are a long time craftsman! Please go to: www.carvertools.com


        8. The on/off setting is found on the toggle switch for the dual pens, not on the dial temperature setting.

        9. As I have worked through the first mapping steps of this pattern I have noticed that I have a very light, soft grip to the pen. The foam core padding around the pen has allowed my fingers to relax without any conscious thought on my part. A relaxed hand grip means more flexibility in the finger and hands movement of the pen across to board.

        10. I have four pens to take out on our test drive as described in the supplies list above. During this project I will be using all four.


        Irish_tools_02.jpg
        Irish_tools_03.jpg
        Irish_tools_04.jpg

        Susan

        I am going to grab a cup of coffee and while I;m gone if you want to say "hey" please feel free ... back in just a moment or three.

        Thank you Teeburn ... the photo shown is now correct!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Irish Pyrography Seminar

          For today's session I want to begin by creating a practice board. As a teacher I can not stress the importance of doing a practice board before beginning a project that might use a new surface, a new pen tip, a new texture, a new temperature setting, or a whole new burner system.

          Practice Board:
          As with any new burner, new wood, or new pattern theme I create a practice board before I begin work on the actual project.

          This allows me to establish the temperature settings for each pen tip for the graduated tonal values that I will need to create the burning. Whenever possible I prefer to do the practice on the same media that I will be working the project. However for this project I chose birch as it has hard surface that requires higher temperatures to create the palest tones.

          With any burning I want as comfortable a hand grip as possible, the Optima pen are perfectly designed to be held as if you had a pen or pencil in your hand. The foam grip allows for a very secure but light touch finger grip. The wire tip points are well positioned from that finger grip area, so I never felt as if I needed to scrunch-up or stretch to bring the tip to the wood to make a burn stroke.

          1. Using a ruler and pencil mark a grid of 1" square onto your board, five columns long and five rows deep. Each row will be used for one of the pen tips.

          row 1: PH19M medium ball tip pen
          row 2: PH18M spear point shader
          row 3: PH12 hd rounded skew
          row 4: PH17 coarse hair tip
          row 5: texture tests


          2. Working a simple cross hatch pattern of fine lines tightly packed and working with your ball tip pen, set your temperature setting at a low number. I chose to start at my first left hand squares at a setting of 3.

          3. Fill the first left hand square of the first row with tightly packed diagonal lines.

          4. Move into the second square of the row, turning your temperature setting up to of 4.

          5. Fill this row with tightly packed diagonal lines.

          6. In the third square, using the same line pattern set the temperature setting to 5.

          7. Continue filling each square of this row, adjusting the temperature setting to one higher number.

          8. Work through the top four rows of your grid, using the same temperature setting that you have established for that column.

          At this point you will have four filled rows, with each square burned using one pen tip at a specific temperature setting. You can refer to this grid at any time in your project burning to determine which pen and what temperature will create the texture and tonal value you need for the area in the design which you are working.
          For my practice board I discovered that the Optima has more temperature setting potential that I will ever need in my pyrography work.

          9. In the fourth row of my practice board I have worked five texture patterns that I use consistently in my burnings. All of these textures were worked at a 4 temperature setting.

          Random doodle - medium ball tip pen
          Cross hatching - medium ball tip pen
          Scrubby stroke - medium ball tip pen
          Dot pattern - medium ball tip pen
          Wide shader strokes - spear point shader


          Pen Grip - I use a writing grip for most of my pen work. This places the foam pad of the pen, loosely held, between my first two fingers on the top side of the pen and my thumb on the bottom side of the pen. You will see that I have my fingers centrally positioned between the top and bottom edges of the foam.

          Find a hand position that is comfortable to you ... you will be working in that position for an average of an hour or more per burning session. I allow my wrist to lightly rest on the wood with my fingers positioned on the foam so that I do not have to 'stretch' my fingers to have the tip meet the wood.


          Irish_grip_01.jpg
          Irish_grip_02.jpg
          Irish_practice_01.jpg
          Irish_practice_02.jpg

          Susan

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Irish Pyrography Seminar

            I'm curious to learn how much time you will allot to finish a project like this? I am lucky enough to have the Optima a a Christmas gift, but one burner with two pens.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Irish Pyrography Seminar

              Practice Board Pattern:


              1. Print a copy of the practice board flower pattern. Using a soft artist's pencil, #2 or higher, rub the back of the pattern paper with graphite to create a solid pencil covered area.


              2. Irish_flower_00 Place the pattern paper on your practice board with the graphite back against the wood. Tape the pattern into place and using an ink pen trace along each of the pattern lines'


              3. Irish_flower_01 Referring to my practice board my first burning steps are done using the rounded skew and a low temp setting of 3. Use a shading stroke, created by laying the side of the skew along your pattern line then pulling the skew through the area to be shaded. Shade each outer petal where it touches the flower center. Shade the center petals where they touch the outer petals.


              4. Because this tool tip, the rounded skew, has a rounded belly along its sharp edge the pen strokes do not leave harsh, crisp tool edge lines. Instead that belly curve automatically creates a smooth graduated burn along the outer edges of the stroke - perfect for blending layers of shading.


              5. Irish_flower_02 Turning the temp setting up to 3.5 I have worked a second layer of shading to both petal areas of the flower using the rounded skew. These series of shading strokes is worked from the circular line where the two areas of the flower petals touch out into each petal. So for the outer ring of petals the stroke is pulled from the center ring line towards the outer edge of that petal. The inner petals are worked towards the center of the flower. Allow a small gab between the shading strokes to create a 'white' vein area.


              6. Irish_flower_03 Work the outer edges of all of the flower petals using the rounded skew and a low temp setting of 3. Pull this series of shading strokes along the edge of the petals. Work a second layer of shading to the outer petal edges with a slightly higher temp setting of 3.5, pulling the shading stroke towards the center ring line.


              In the photo for this step you can see that I have placed the tip of my skew at the intersection point of the two petals with the belly area of the skew on the lower petal that is being shaded. As I pull the skew towards the center ring the pen tip will automatically roll into the curved belly area of the tip.


              Irish_flower_00.jpg
              Irish_flower_01.jpg
              Irish_flower_02.jpg
              Irish_flower_03.jpg

              Susan

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Irish Pyrography Seminar

                Originally posted by dlbaker View Post
                I'm curious to learn how much time you will allot to finish a project like this? I am lucky enough to have the Optima a a Christmas gift, but one burner with two pens.
                A burning this size for me may take about two days work if I am devoting three to four hours a day in each session. If I were following a teacher's set of instructions I would estimate a few more hours as you learn and adapt to that teacher's style of work. Plus .. when I 'think' I'm done I will set my project somewhere in the studio where I don't see it for a few days. Then I can come back to the burning with fresh eyes. Often I find that maybe another hour might just pump up or enhance the burning.

                I usually use two pens ... a standard writing tip and a spoon shader. Over the years with my style of burning I have found that I can do just about anything I could imagine.

                Glad you have joined us!!!!

                Susan

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Irish Pyrography Seminar

                  Practice Board Flower cont.:

                  7. Irish_flower_04 To create the shading inside of the leaves I am using the spear point shader at a medium hot setting of 5. Place the tip of the spear at the pointed v of each leaf section then pull the spear quickly towards the outer edge of the leave. This is not a touch-and-lift stroke, but a touch-and-pull to create the paler shaded tones near the center of the leaf. Allow a few unburned 'white' line areas between the leaf sections.

                  8. Irish_flower_04A As you work these areas with your spear shader note that Optima's spear has a double curve to its 'flat' belly. There is a slight curve from the tip point to the back edge of the pen and a curve from side to side. This wonderful little feature gives you graduated shading on all sides of your stroke ... no harsh pen tip lines are created when you use the spear point shader!

                  9. Irish_flower_05 I have lowered my temperature setting to 3. Use the same touch-and-pull stroke to shade along the outer edges of each large leaf. Pull each stroke through to the center of the leave so that the graduated shading on these strokes overlaps the shading done in step 8.

                  10. Irish_flower_06 Returning to the rounded skew at a setting around 3.5, use the skew's tip to create fine lines along the sides of the branches, the leaf sections, and to establish the fold lines in the petals.

                  11. Irish_flower_07 To create a few very dark detail lines I have turned my temperature setting up to 4.5 on the rounded skew and re-burned some, but not all, of the lines worked in step 10.

                  12. There is no outlining step in this sample burn! Nature does not have outlines ... nature, as our flower, has areas that are dark, medium toned, and very pale areas along it's edges. Only coloring books, comic books, and line art patterns have outlines.

                  Irish_flower_04.jpg
                  Irish_flower_04A.jpg
                  Irish_flower_05.jpg
                  Irish_flower_06.jpg
                  Irish_flower_07.jpg


                  Susan

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Irish Pyrography Seminar

                    Here's a close-up of the finished practice board flower.

                    Susan


                    I'm going to slip over to Pyrography Online and catch up posting there ... back in just a bit. If you haven't signed up for our sister message board, fully devoted to the fine art of pyrography please take this time to drop by and register! I will be back in about an hour or less - 10:40AM EST

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Irish Pyrography Seminar

                      Layer cake texture burning:

                      There are three patterns for this project - one line art pattern, one line art pattern with advertising lettering, and one simple shading drawn pattern.

                      There are many ways to approach any pyro project. My preferred method is to use fill textures that match the element or area that I am working and to slowly develop the final tonal value with layers of work that begin at a low temperature setting and are slowly increased in temp.

                      Consider any wood burning worked in a realistic style as a six layer cake.

                      Every element within a pattern has six core features:


                      1. Outline shape - the rectangles that make up the side of the barn wall

                      2. Texture - the ridges created by the barn boards in the wall

                      3. Tonal value – the amount of white or black any area of burning contains

                      4. Contour - the curve or angles of that element or element area

                      5. Shadows and highlights - how the sunlight is striking any area and what overhangs that area

                      6. Details - the fine lines that define small lines or areas in the element



                      1. Any element can be defined by its basic shape as shown in the outline pattern of this design. The side of the barn is created with one triangle on top of two stacked rectangles. You address the basic shapes of any design as you trace the pattern to your wood.

                      2. As the pen tip works across the surface of the board it not only burns a tonal value to the element it also leaves an indent in the wood in the shape of the burning stroke. At this point in the burning the barn walls have a physical texture to them created with the burning strokes. This creates a strong texture to any area that you work.

                      The texture created in the early work will remain throughout any other work that is laid upon it. So consider what texture stroke you will use in an area and what direction that stroke will take - long, vertical lines create barn board textures, half-circle curves create the texture of the leaf clusters. Smooth, slick, or flat is considered a texture.

                      3. Each area has a base tonal value dependent on how it falls as a whole compared to the direct light source. The front barn wall will have a lighter value than the side wall with the door because that wall receives more sunlight. The small leaf clusters at the bottom of the tree's leaves will have a dark tonal value because the light is blocked by the higher leaf clusters. These are 'leaf clusters' with leaf texture that now have tonal value. The inner edge of the side wall roof, the overhang area, will have a dark tonal value because it is totally blocked from the light.

                      4. Every area has contour which ranges from very flat to spherical. The curve of an element is created by graduated deepening tonal values where the curve moves away from the light source.

                      5. Shadows and highlights are created by other elements in the pattern. The shadows that we will be burning in the side wall of the barn are created because the roof overhangs - extends beyond - that wall, blocking the light.

                      As a general rule of thumb the contour and shadow of an element will be a dark tonal value than the shadow that it casts. So for our barn roof overhang the overhand will be darker than the shadow it creates on the side wall.

                      Highlights are caused when light source directly strikes an element or when it bounces off one element onto another. Not all highlights are pure white; there are varying degrees of highlights.

                      6. On top of all the above lies the detailing ... it’s the icing on our layer cake. Detailing is worked with regards to the general tonal value of the element. Dark elements will have darker tonal values but pale element may have pale and mid-range values.


                      Susan

                      As my net connection is getting very slow I will pick this up around dinner time.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Irish Pyrography Seminar

                        Originally posted by Irish View Post
                        Practice Board Pattern:


                        1. Print a copy of the practice board flower pattern. Using a soft artist's pencil, #2 or higher, rub the back of the pattern paper with graphite to create a solid pencil covered area.


                        2. Irish_flower_00 Place the pattern paper on your practice board with the graphite back against the wood. Tape the pattern into place and using an ink pen trace along each of the pattern lines'


                        3. Irish_flower_01 Referring to my practice board my first burning steps are done using the rounded skew and a low temp setting of 3. Use a shading stroke, created by laying the side of the skew along your pattern line then pulling the skew through the area to be shaded. Shade each outer petal where it touches the flower center. Shade the center petals where they touch the outer petals.


                        4. Because this tool tip, the rounded skew, has a rounded belly along its sharp edge the pen strokes do not leave harsh, crisp tool edge lines. Instead that belly curve automatically creates a smooth graduated burn along the outer edges of the stroke - perfect for blending layers of shading.


                        5. Irish_flower_02 Turning the temp setting up to 3.5 I have worked a second layer of shading to both petal areas of the flower using the rounded skew. These series of shading strokes is worked from the circular line where the two areas of the flower petals touch out into each petal. So for the outer ring of petals the stroke is pulled from the center ring line towards the outer edge of that petal. The inner petals are worked towards the center of the flower. Allow a small gab between the shading strokes to create a 'white' vein area.


                        6. Irish_flower_03 Work the outer edges of all of the flower petals using the rounded skew and a low temp setting of 3. Pull this series of shading strokes along the edge of the petals. Work a second layer of shading to the outer petal edges with a slightly higher temp setting of 3.5, pulling the shading stroke towards the center ring line.


                        In the photo for this step you can see that I have placed the tip of my skew at the intersection point of the two petals with the belly area of the skew on the lower petal that is being shaded. As I pull the skew towards the center ring the pen tip will automatically roll into the curved belly area of the tip.


                        Irish_flower_00.jpg
                        Irish_flower_01.jpg
                        Irish_flower_02.jpg
                        Irish_flower_03.jpg

                        Susan
                        Hi Irish I have a colwood dual pen (Delta)model, and I really appreciate your detail burning especially of doing a sample patern preburn I will be trying to do the rose you illustrated this AM thanks for the opportunity to learn woodburning from a master. I have a limited income and this is priceless thanks, Pfotie

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Irish Pyrography Seminar

                          I have a colwood burner (dual pen- Delta)it has a few years on it , and this seminar is timely for me as a neophyte, I shall be watching each daylearning from a master that is priceless, thanks Pfotie

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Irish Pyrography Seminar

                            Pfotie and everyone else ... please know that you are very welcome to post not only questions but also images as we work through this tutorial. So if you get to stopping point in the practice board, practice board flower pattern or in the landscape please share it here.

                            Susan

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Irish Pyrography Seminar

                              Personalizing the pattern:


                              The classic Mail Pouch Tobacco barn has become an American icon with its block black, white, and yellow colors advertising this product to passing road travelers. Anyone who has traveled the back roads has seen variations of this idea - product ads, town names, local attractions, company names, and just fun scenes that reflect the barn owner's interests.

                              This pattern is designed so that you can create your own barn advertising. For ideas do a search under 'advertising barns' in Google or Yahoo.

                              As an example, picking on our fearless leader, BobD's barn might read "glazed, dusted, jelly filled", "Duncan Doughnuts", "cheaper by the dozen." ... grin!

                              You can use either a graphics program or word doc program to set your font, font size, and to create your ad layout to overlap to the printed pattern.

                              We would love to see what you create using your name, your home town, or to advertise your wood burning business.


                              Preparing the board:

                              1. Prepare your basswood plaque by lightly sanding the entire surface using 220-grit, or finer, sandpaper. Work the sanding with the grain of the wood to avoid creating small circular swirl lines that can show later as the burning develops. Wipe the board with a clean, dry cloth to remove any dust.

                              2. Tear a 6" to 8" square of brown craft paper from a grocery store bag. Crumple the paper in your hands to create a medium crushed ball. Rub the ball of crumpled paper over the board surface. Brown craft paper makes wonderfully fine sandpaper, leaving your basswood smooth and even. Wipe the dust using a clean, dry cloth.


                              Tracing the pattern:

                              1. Rub the back of your line pattern with a soft #2 to #6 pencil to completely cover the paper with graphite. There are several tracing products as graphite paper and carbon paper that can be used. However these products often leave a line that can become permanently imprinted into your scene, especially when worked over at hotter temperature settings.

                              The tracing lines created from a graphite rubbing are erasable which avoids the problem of hot temp setting carbon lines.

                              2. Measure your board to determine the center vertical and horizontal lines; mark these lines lightly using a pencil. Fold your pattern into quarters - once along the vertical and then along the horizontal. Match the fold lines of the pattern paper to the pencil lines on your plaque.

                              3. Tape the pattern into place and trace along each of the pattern lines using an ink pen. Check your tracing before you remove the pattern paper, go over any pale lines using your pencil.

                              Irish_basswood.jpg
                              Irish_0001.jpg
                              Irish_0002.jpg
                              Irish_0003.jpg
                              Irish_0004.jpg

                              Susan

                              Comment

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