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  • need help

    I am trying wood burning for the first time. The problem I am having is the pen is following the grain, as a result I have wavy lines and darker dots.
    Sad I go as slow and lightly as possible. I have a hobby store pen with interchangable tips.
    Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks

  • #2
    Re: need help

    Hey Justanick!

    The first few times that you go to wood burn, in my experience, you run into two common problems. First ... is trying to go slow. The slower you move the tool tip across the board the longer that tip has to burn into the wood. As it burns it will drop down, it burns a v-gouge and your tip gets stuck between the grain lines. Fast even movement is what you are looking for and that comes as you gain a little confidence in yourself and the use of your tool.

    The second common problem is that because the one temperature tools are just not well constructed/designed in their shape they can be ackward to hold at first. This often means that you choke up on the tool with a very tight finger grip. That choking limited you in a fluid hand motion.

    I usually suggest that before burning a design or pattern that you just get a scrap board and play with the tool ... random patterns, random lines across the scrap. This gives you a chance to get use to the feeling of the tool grip in a situation where it doesn't matter if the work comes out OK or not!

    So, if I might be as bold as to make a suggestion???, set this one aside for one evening and go find some chunk of wood to just experiment on with your tool. Play with going slow and going fast, going with the grain and going against it ... that sort of thing.

    Once you have the feel for the tool and are in a position where you don't really care how the burning comes out I think you will see a great improvement in both the flow of the lines and how deeply they burn.

    One more quick thought, what are you burning??? Pine is often the first wood that a new burner grabs and pine will throw the pen off line for even the most experienced burner. The grain is so defined that it dominates the burning process.



    • #3
      Re: need help

      Thank you. I shall take your advise. I have plenty of scrap wood to try.
      The object that I am burning is a wood box that my wife bought for me to put
      my carving tools in.I am not sure what type of wood it is but it is very soft.


      • #4
        Re: need help

        Pine is definately not the best to burn on and in fact is dangerous. Buy some inexpensive birch or Italian poplar plywood and use this for practice until you get the hang of it. They are both inexpensive and relatively easy to burn and safe!

        Some important things that I usually recommend:
        Sand, sand, sand...start with 200 grit, then go to 400, then 600 then 800. I find that the smoother the wood, the better the burning. IMHO sanding is the key to getting a good burning.

        touch down and landing is important. If you just touch the pen down on the wood you will get what I call "the dreaded blob". Think of the pen as an airplane coming in for a's moving as it touches down on the wood. You will not get brown blobs by doing this. Snorkel