Simple woodburning tool

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Kim Metzger, Oct 16, 2017.

  1. Kim Metzger

    Kim Metzger

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  2. john lucas

    john lucas

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    I found cheap burners make it really difficult to burn a nice signature. I had the Colwood club and never could write my name neatly. when I purchased the Optima which was more expensive I learned to do it. Part of the problem is recovery time. When you touch the wood is sucks heat away from the tip. It has to recover. If you write the lines tend to be blotchy with units that don't recover fast enough. The Optima has good recovery. I use 2 methods. one is a Dremel engraver and the other is my burner.
     

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  3. Kim Metzger

    Kim Metzger

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    Thanks, John. I'll check out the Optima. And thanks again for your advice to use a thread locker for my banjo. Haven't had a problem with it unloosening since.
     
  4. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    My first woodburning pen was just like the Rockler one and all that I can say about it is that it is cheap in all respects. I wouldn't recommend it. I don't know anything about the Colwood, but a few people use them. I would highly recommend the Optima 1 which sells for $107 and includes a couple pens of your choice. Here is their web site: http://www.carvertools.com/
     
  5. William Rogers

    William Rogers

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    I have the burnmaster. I never was great burning my signature, maybe the pen. I have switched to using a vibro peen method and using the Cindy Drozda's gold fill stick. I like this method better than wood burning as it is much more controllable for me. I use the Dremel vibro at the lowest setting then rub the gold fill stick I bought from Cindy at the symposium. The wood need to be sealed before or the fill will into the wood pores. Works very well on darker wood and I do use it on lighter wood, however I believe there are different color sticks available. I'm guessing Cindy has a video on this somewhere.
     
  6. egsiegel

    egsiegel

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    go with the Cub...
    you will have more control and can use RazorTip pens.
    I used an basic soldering iron type for a while and now have a RazorTip unit. BIG difference.
     
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  7. john lucas

    john lucas

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    I find part of the trick for burning signatures is to reduce the temperature and then write slow. It was a big revelation when I started using really low temperatures. I had much more control over the burn and go clean lines with little overburn. I use the Dremel engraver for my hand mirrors because I don't want the signature to stand out. I simply engrave and then leave it unfilled. I use a lot of woods with lots of pores and it's impossible to fill the pores with sealer and not fill the writing so filling the text with colored wax just doesn't work for me. Works fantastic on smooth grain wood.
     
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  8. Tom Albrecht

    Tom Albrecht

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    I too am looking at a replacement for my old unit purchased from Dale Nish a long time ago.
    Bill, would you agree with John's comment that the Optima has good "recovery"? Because that's the problem I'm having with my current pen-- the bottom of a letter is not as dark as the top.
     
  9. odie

    odie

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    I have the Cub Woodwriter offered by CSUSA. It's been serving my needs for about 30 years now, and still going strong! Kim, like you, I do a simple logo that represents my initials. My unit looks a bit different than the current Cub, but is the same, with the same internal components, prior to the time the outer cover was changed. After it's long service to me, I wouldn't hesitate to get the Cub Woodwriter again.
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    I also have a Detailmaster woodburner. I've had problems with the handles getting too hot for my hands for extended use. It is capable of doing the logo on the bottoms of the bowls, too. If I were to choose between the two for the specific purpose of the simple logo......I'd choose the Cub Woodwriter......and, I do! :D
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  10. Roger Chandler

    Roger Chandler

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    I have the Colwood Cub unit, and have very good success with it. The key is to use a light touch, and have the heat where it is not too high. Most woods I use about a 7 on the dial setting, but softer woods dial back to 6. One thing that has helped me is that I got a fine tipped writing point pen, and I always put my signing on with a pencil, which makes a small traceable track in the wood, then go over that with the heated pen, and it has been attractive and effective.......important because I show at galleries. If the point makes a burn dot when touching the wood, your heat is too high, and you need a light, smooth touch, which will do well on most hardwoods.
     
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  11. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    If you go to the Optima site and read about burner design, it is clear that they have a very good understanding of the essential elements that seem to be missing in some of the other units that I have looked at. Also, call and talk to Pat about what you need and he will be able to help with choosing the best pens for your needs. Recovery time isn't as much to do with the burner as it has to do with the following: electrical connectors used because of the extremely low impedance circuit from the burner to the pen tip, the cord resistance from the burner to the pen, and the electrical connections in the pen design. Optima uses a heavy duty 16 guage wire to the pen that is actually more flexible and thinner than the lighter guage wire used in other systems and that is probably the biggest part of recovery time. Also, their pens use welded connections rather than crimp connections which further improves recovery time. Their pen design from what I have seen also make it easier to see what you are doing without the hand grip of the pen body obstructing your view. I have several different heavy duty Optima pens (they offer standard and heavy duty versions of most of their pens). The heavy duty pens have essentially instant recovery. Most of what I do is basket illusion burning at very low heat settings which, as John said, gives you far better control of what you're doing than torching the wood using a high heat setting. I generally use a heat setting of 2 (out of 10). I'm afraid that I might set the house on fire if cranked the heart up much past mid scale. :D Just kidding, but the goal to good control in pyrography is to go smokeless. If you see smoke curling up from the pen tip when doing fine details such as writing your name then turn the heat down and you will have much better control.
     
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  12. Bill Blasic

    Bill Blasic

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    The Colwood cub coupled with the FT-Ball 1 pen would be an excellent choice for signing your work.
     
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  13. Donna Banfield

    Donna Banfield

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    I started with the Colwood Cub unit, and sold it when I upgraded to the Burnmaster Eagle. I have regretted that decision for a long time. The Colwood Cub was a very nice, compact burner for signing work. I use (even with the Burnmaster Eagle) a Colwood pen, Micro-fine tip, that I have sharpened with a well used fine grit diamond hone. The heat temp varies depending on the wood, but will fall in the 4-7 range. I always test the heat on a scrap piece of wood before touching the 'real' piece.

    Use a light touch - I explain to my students, don't think of the pen as a pen, but more like a paint brush. If you were trying to sign your name with a paint brush, how would you work the tip. Imagining that helps with how you approach the signing.
     
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  14. john lucas

    john lucas

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    Excellent explanation of how to use the pen Donna. Had not thought of describing it that way. Probably a lot like Japanese writing. A very light gently stroke with low heat.
     
  15. Tom Albrecht

    Tom Albrecht

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    I just took delivery today of an Optima 1 on Bill B's advice.

    He was right, it's a great tool at a good price-- much faster and more accurate that my old Dale Nish Wood Writer-- that's not meant to knock Nish, just a sign of the times.
     
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