Top 10 Safety Pyrography Tips & Tricks
Make sure you follow these 10 pyrography tips for burning safely.
Let's be real here.
We're burning. We're playing with fire and other hot stuff. It's suuuper easy to damage ourselves.
But let's not, okay?
1. Do Not Touch the metal when the machine is on!
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many people do this.
Why would they do that??
2 main reasons.
Sometimes it's hard to tell if a solid-point burner is on or hot enough to burn.
So when you want to see if it's hot, the natural response is to touch it lightly.
Try hovering your hand a couple inches above the metal to feel if there's any heat rising from it.
Better yet, place the tip against a scrap piece of wood for a couple seconds to see if it starts to burn.
Another reason people touch it is because their fingers like to creep up toward the tip while they burn.
That' natural. We all want to hold it more like a pencil or pen.
But keep those pretty fingers on the plastic, cork, rubber, or whatever is there. Get a pair of gloves or finger guards if you have a hard time [like me] keeping those itchy fingers from overstepping their bounds.
Lets keep those lovely digits away from the blistering hot metal.
2. Keep your burner away from flammable stuff
It's easy to overcrowd your desk.
Or accidentally set your paper pyrography patterns or burning plans too close to your burner.
Or melt things you didn't realize were too close.
I've had students in my woodburning workshops reach over the top of their hot pyrography tips and wind up with a cute new thumb hole in their sleeve.
Keep clear of that hot machine.
3. Tie back loose hanging Anythings - like hair, jewelry & headphones
Ask me how I know.
Ask me how it smells.
Ask me how sad I was after the fact.
[fail face] :(
4. Work on a hard, sturdy surface
Like a table or a desk.
No need to burn holes in the couch. Or your leg.
5. Secure the stand to the table
Don't put holes in the carpet either.
You don't typically have to worry about this with the wire-nib burners.
But the solid-point burners usually have a lightweight metal stand that just sits loosely on your desk. When you put your tool down on the stand, the weight of the pen makes the stand slip right off the table.
So tape it down.
Attach it to a weight - like larger piece of wood.
Do *something* to keep that stand from sliding around on your desk.
6. Always Rest your Pyrography Pen on the Stand When Not In Use
Don't and you'll be sorry. Bump that cord once and those pretty pants you were wearing will have a fresh new breathing hole for your knee.
7. Turn Your burner off when you leave the table
"I'll only be gone for a minute."
Famous last words.
It's as dangerous as leaving a stove on when you're not home. Don't let it cook alone, wasting electricity, and possibly waiting to burn the house down.
Turn it off.
And if you have to leave the room, unplug it for extra measure.
8. Use Metal Pliers to Remove or Insert Pyrography Tips into a hot burner
Wire-nib burners with replaceable tips usually come with tweezers built for this purpose. Simply turn the machine off and gently pull the tip out and place the tip in a heat safe dish.
Wire-nibs with screw on pyrography tips don't need pliers or tweezers since you use a screwdriver to insert or remove tips.
The pliers are for solid-point burners.
Do this gently.
Hot tips bend easily. Carefully untwist the tip from the barrel of the burner, then place your tip in a heat-safe dish.
Put the new cool tip in by hand to start, then use the pliers to carefully but quickly tighten your tip into place.
P.S. Cool tips heat up quickly when the burner is already cooking. If the burner is hot while you're switching tips,
your cool tip will heat up in seconds and get too hot to reinsert by hand. Use the pliers or a pair of
leather gloves to re-insert that tip if you need to.
*Important little side note*
If your pyrography tips resist going into the barrel,
You might crossthread your machine which totally
Back the tip out and try again.
9. Only Burn on Dry, Well-Seasoned, Non-toxic, Non-Treated wood
Was that wordy enough?
If not, you can read all about the worst wood for pyrography right here.
When you're burning things other than wood - like fabric, bone, cork, blah blah blah - make sure those things are free of any chemicals, treatments, glues, stains, finishes... all that nonsense.
10. Teach Kids Safety Around Pyrography Tools. Keep hot tools out of their reach.
Got kids? Grandkids? A girlfriend or boyfriend with kids?
They'll find your stuff.
I was babysitting my friend's children and they found my home studio within the first few minutes. Thankfully, I was right there and could tell them to stay out because it's a dangerous room (which is true... I play with gunpowder you know...).
My kids know the rules about burners and my tools. But these visiting kids don't.
That's one reason I always unplug my burner when I'm leaving my studio. One more safety guard to keep kids from turning it on.
Keep those kids safe around burners.
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