Woodburning FAQ

1. How to make sure I’m safe while woodburning? 

Woodburning can be a wonderful and easy hobby, accessible to anyone. However, safety should be your main concern. Safety hazards in pyrography include toxic vapor that can come from burning the wood too deep, and, especially, glue vapor from burning too deeply. Make sure to burn as shallow as you can while getting a good result, to avoid inhaling any toxic vapor.

Heat is another safety hazard to watch out for, as tips of the burning pencils can heat up to several hundred degrees Fahrenheit. To protect yourself against heavy burns, avoid touching the tip before it’s completely cool. Keep a damp towel near you, in case you need protection against heat. In the case of an emergency, you can use it to place a hot burning pencil on it or put down any fire or smoke. Use a face mask and safety goggles while you are working to protect yourself from inhaling any toxic matter or damaging your eyes. Never leave your pyrography kit unattended while plugged in or still hot.

2. How to choose the right woodburning kit?

Woodburning kits come in a variety of qualities, prices and features. Some kits are simple, containing only one pencil with removable tips. Other, more complex kits, offer a selection of temperature height and tips. If you’re a beginner who is still learning, choose a simple kit that is easy to handle. Since woodburning kits are a long-term investment, money invested into good quality ones is money well-spent.

3. What are the best types of wood for woodburning?

The best types of wood for woodburning share several similar qualities. First, it is desirable for the wood not to produce a lot of grain. Grain can pose a difficulty to any pyrographer, so all of us aim to avoid it. Second important quality is for the wood not do demand too deep burning in order to leave a well-contrasting shade. This means that the wood is a lot easier to work with and will cause you minimum physical exhaustion. Types of wood with most of these qualities are Italian polar and Birch plywood, basswood and, to some degree, maple.

4. How should I transfer a pattern or a drawing onto the wooden surface? 

Transferring a pattern or an image using a black tracing paper is the best way to go. You can purchase pre-made transfer images or trace the image by hand using a black transfer paper. In the first case, place the image onto the surface and wet it using a damp cloth or a sponge in order to transfer an image or a pattern. Hand-drawing is also an option, however, many woodburners eventually abandon it due to difficulty and lack of precision.

5. How deep should I draw using a burning pencil?

For your own safety and the quality of the result, you should aim to apply as gentler pressure as possible while woodburning. Burning too deep can result in the contour of your design looking too sharp, whilst burning into a layer of glue can result in inhaling a toxic vapor that is damaging to your health.