Good morning, good reader. I’m Ian Wilson, here to talk about the right tools for the right job. In this case, pyrography. Now, some of you are probably thinking “what is pyrography?” It comes from a Greek word that means “drawing (or writing) with fire” and that’s essentially what it is. Basically, what I do as a pyrographer is take a piece of hot metal and draw on wood (or leather) with it. It sounds dangerous, but it’s actually a pretty safe artform.
So the question is, what does one need to become a pyrographer? Well, the obvious thing you need is some amount of artistic talent. If you’re good at drawing or calligraphy, then I would say give pyrography a try. The next you’ll need is some wood. I’ll get into what types of wood are best another time. Ideally, you want an unfinished piece of wood that is relatively smooth, with few imperfections. And of course, you need a pyrography tool.
There are a great variety of pyrography tools, but they generally have a short wire that plugs into a normal wall socket, and have interchangeable tips, which you can screw into the end. Each tip has a different purpose and will make a different type of mark. I would strongly suggest that you buy a pyrography tool in person at a craft store rather than online. The best tools are usually temperature controlled; my first pyrography tool didn’t come with temperature controls, but I made do, and it worked out OK, but my work would’ve looked better if I had temperature control. For softer, more delicate woods, use a lower temperature. Usually, the tool will come with some instructions on how hot to make it, but you really just need to experiment with it to find what best works for you.
Other things you’ll need are leather grafting gloves. Now, you won’t need them to be very thick, like welding gloves; you’ll just need a little extra layer of protection. The handle of the tool is always shielded so you’re not likely to get yourself burned, but just in case, it’s best to wear the gloves. If you’re working indoors, I would recommend some kind of ventilation, like a window fan, to blow the smoke away. Otherwise, the smoke will get in your eyes, and you won’t be able to see what you’re doing. If you’re not working near a fan or a window, I would recommend wearing safety goggles. They’ll keep the smoke out of your eyes so you can keep working. And never leave your pyrography tool unattended while the power is turned on! Make sure it has had time to cool before leaving your workspace.
Pyrography is a relatively simple, fun art, and I would recommend anyone with moderate to skilled drawing talent try their hand at it.
**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.