I would like to walk you through what woodburning is all about. Pyrography is the art of decorating wood resulting from the controlled application of a heated object.

The term means ” writing with fire “ Pyro meaning Fire, Heat, or High Temperature and Graphy meaning a style or method of writing or drawing.

A large range of tones and shades can be achieved. Varying the type of nib used, the temperature, or the way the nib is applied to the material all create different effects.Light colored woods such as Sycamore, Basswood, Beech and Birch are most commonly used, however other woods such as Maple, Pine or Oak are also used.

Pyrography is also applied to Leather items, using the same technique. Leather lends itself to bold designs, and also allows a very subtle shading to be achieved. Special vegetable – tanned leather must be used as modern tanning methods leave chemicals in the leather which are toxic when burned, typically light colors are good for contrast.

Traditional Pyrography can be performed using any heat metal implement. Modern Pyrography  machines exist, and can be divided into two categories.

Solid-Point burners:

Solid-Point burners are similar in design to a Soldering iron. They have a solid brass interchangeable nib which is heated by an electrical element, and can operate at a fixed or variable temperature.



Wire-Nib burners:

Wire-Nib burners have variable temperature controls that use a Rheostat to control the amount of current needed to heat up the nib for woodburning. These models also have interchangeable nibs to allow for different effects you want to achieve on your project.



Wood differs in hardness, grain, texture and color. All wood can be classified in to two categories. Hard or Soft, Softwood will burn faster than Hardwood does. Softwoods do not require as hot of setting as the Hardwoods do.


Grain is the arrangement of fibers in the wood. It is important to sand with the grain of the wood.


This is the Natural design that you can see on the cut surface of the wood. The figure should be taken into consideration when you are planning your design.


Texture is basically the surface of the wood that feels either even or uneven, coarse or fine. Woodburning on an uneven or coarse surface can be achieved but, if you are just learning the preliminary basics it is good to work with a smooth surface.

Woodburning Kits:

There are a lot of Woodburning Kits on the market today that range from a $10.00 Woodburner up into a couple of Hundred dollars, it all depends on how much detail you are willing to put into your work.

The Raccoon shown below was done with a simple fixed temperature Woodburning pen that cost around $20.00.                                            Fixed temperature Woodburner

                                            Raccoon design on Basswood

Notice that the detailing in the Raccoon design is pretty much basic as compared to the country scene below that was Woodburnt with a Colwood Super Pro 2 Woodburning kit.

                                           Country scene design on Pine

                                                Colwood Super Pro 2

A lot of factors go into the decision of what type of Woodburner you want and how much it will actually be used. There is no sense in buying an expensive kit that you will only use once a year while it sets around and becomes a Dust Magnet until you use it again.


12 thoughts on “What is Pyrography

  1. Hi there,

    Great post. I had never heard of pyrography and its fascinating! It is a great niche. Some beautiful things come from burning haha! Really well explained article and has me interested. Will be checking out more of your articles,



  2. That is cool stuff!! I never knew the name of the art but always admired it. I have seen some pretty nice art done like this and now I know how it is done and that it really doesn’t cost a fortune to do. Just a lot of time and talent. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Wow, really loved this post. I’ve always thought that Pyrography is an awesome art form. I think that those who use this method to create art are really very talented people. I would love to be able to create such beautiful pieces, unfortunately, I’m not talented enough.

  4. Beautiful work! I used to do what I called “wood burning” when I was younger but didn’t know it had an official name! I really liked doing it but the wood burning smell was annoying to some of my family so I had to stop (I was just a teenager!)

  5. The art is beautiful. I did wood burning work in school, I had no idea it had a name. I was told a couple of years later that is was a dying art. Looking at your post obviously it is not. It there types of wood that you would not recommend for Pyrography? Thanks for the article.

  6. I’m glad that I found your site. I have always admired the work that a friend of mine does with wood burning. Now I know a little more about what and how she does it.
    Thank you for your information and the beautiful samples you showed us. I would love to do this someday. But I’m not that creative. I even have to explain my stick figures!
    I look forward to your next article.

  7. Hi there,
    This is a really great piece on pyrography.
    I had never heard the term pyrography before nor seen any examples of it.
    The detail that can be achieved is staggering, really fantastic.
    Thanks for bringing this to my attention while I have no desire to try it I certainly wouldn’t mind owning a few pieces.

  8. Finally I have found a website with all the information that I was looking for.

    I was really desperate in finding an article about Pyrography.

    I found everything I needed to know about this subject.

    Thanks for your valuable information!

  9. Loved your website, your explanations of pyrography are so interesting! Now my interest has been sparked by seeing all your beautiful artwork. Thank you!!

  10. Did not know it was called ‘pyrography’, wow.
    The furthest I’ve gotten was with those wood burning kits as a kid. Can’t imagine having let my children play with those. Some lovely work is shown on your site. Love it.

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