Friday, 1 December 2006

pyrography woods

I'm summarising what the books on pyrography I got say about which woods are good:

  • sycamore - traditionally used for kitchen implements (spoons, spatulas, breadboards). Good for woodcarving too. Very little difference between grain and nongrain = good. Pale coloured.
  • Birch - very similar to sycamore for pyrography. Doesn't carve as well. Pale coloured, little difference in density with grain. Fairly available as plywood.
  • beech - used for most modern mass produced kitchen implements. "Harder and darker than sycamore with a slightly pinkish hue."
  • horse chestnut - similar in colour to sycamore, but with a less pronounced grain. Softer than sycamore.
  • yew - very hard (longer to burn). Most yew is rather dark, but you can get paler bits. Good for woodturning too.
  • Birds eye maple - pyrographs well, but the feature lumps burn differently
  • Pear - Normally a fairly dark wood, so will need to burn deeply. Grain offers little resistance.
  • Also good: holly, boxwood, lime, canadian maple, english maple, hornbeam
and bad:
  • Oak - so hard it's almost impossible to burn, also rather dark coloured
  • Pine - too much grain
  • Mahogany - dark and grainy
The books also suggest plywood and veneers (check the offcuts bin at a timber merchant they say), and suggest a sampler of veneers as a good way to learn about woods. And now that I read in detail, it says kitchen utensils are a good source of cheap blanks, but to be careful no to do any burning across any joins in breadboards where glue will have been used.

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