Day: November 18, 2020

First Pyrography Project – 4 – Hand Grip Positions


Your grip on your burning pen is similar to your hand grip on any writing tool as pen or pencil. The pen is held below the burning tip between the thumb and index finger with a loose, comfortable pressure. The back of the pen handle rests on your third finger which is slightly bent.

The four-point grip, with your thumb and first two fingers holding the pen
and your smallest finger balanced on the board, is used on your pen whether you are using
the side of your pen tip of the point. Only the angle of your hand to the
wood changes to lift the pen tip to its finest point.

Lift your hand from the wood, don’t rest the side of your palm directly on the wood as this limits your ability to move smoothly over the pattern. Extend you small fingertip to lightly touch the wood, using it as a depth guide and steadying point against your board.

Keep the side of your arm and elbow off the table. This lets your entire arm move during long strokes. This is a four-point grip – thumb and index finger to hold, third finger to rest the pen, and small finger to anchor the hand on the wood.

One-temperature and rheostat burning pens have a much thicker handle
because that handle houses the burning unit. Although your fingers are wider
apart then when using a variable-temperature pen, you use the same four-point grip.

Do not over grip or heavy-hand your pen. A light finger pressure is all that is needed to keep the pen in place and moving freely. If your hand becomes tired or sore as you work you are probably over-gripping the pen.


First Pyrography Project – 3 – Wood Burning Pens

Tips comes in many shapes and bends from the tight bend used in the standard writing tips to half circles that can create fish scales and even square tubes that make a textured pattern on your board.


I use four basic tools throughout this book – the loop-tip, ball-tip, spear shader, and spoon shader. These are the four snap-in interchangeable tips that comes with the Walnut Hollow Creative Tool – shown below.

Each pen tip creates its own width and shape of line burn, and therefore is more suitable for specific textures. Thin edged spear or curved shader tip cut thin, deep lines. Loop and ball tip pens burn thick, shallow lines.
A basic beginner’s set of tips may include a tightly bent loop writing tip , a ball point writing tip, a flat spoon-shaped shader, a curved-edge spear shader. These tips will burn any pattern or project in this e-book. Specialty tips can be added as you discover your style of burning.


Tip shapes and names vary, depending on the manufacturer of your burning unit and are often offered in several sizes. Please check the website for your unit for more specific tips that are available for your use.
Variable temperature pens come in two varieties – fixed tip pens and interchangeable tip pens. A fixed tip pen has the burning wire permanently set in the pen. Some manufacturers create a interchangeable pen that allows different styles of tip to be inserted into the end of the pen.


All of my Optima 1 pens are fixed tip pens.

Interchangeable pens often allow you to purchase a wider variety of burning tips, a great advantage to the new pyrographer.

Each manufacturer creates their pens to specifically fit the electric voltage, wire, and connections used in their wood burning units. Although some manufacturers do sell conversion kits that allow you to use pens manufacturer by other companies on their units I do not recommend this practice.

Using another companies pens can void your warranty and can damage both your pens and your burning unit.
When you purchase your variable temperature unit consider not only the power features of the unit but also the pen construction, how the pens connect to the unit, the guard grip construction, and the variety of tip profiles available for your unit.

The photo, above, shows five of my Colwood Detailer tips.  The top three are permanent fixed
tip pens while the bottom two are interchangeable tips.

We will take a closer look at the burn strokes each pen tip creates in just a few pages.

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