A branding iron is a metal implement bent into a unique identifiable shape that is heated and used to brand or mark items to demonstrate ownership or identity. Although branding irons were used to brand livestock in the past, alternative techniques tend to be used now. You can easily make your own branding iron out of easily accessible materials and use it to brand wood, leather or anything else of your choice.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Wire coat hanger
- Needle nose pliers
- Wire cutters
Use a pencil to draw the shape of your branding iron design on paper. Draw in a continuous line without removing the pencil from the paper. This will be the pattern that you will use to create the branding iron.
Stretch out the wire coat hanger so that it is as straight as possible. Use needle nose pliers to straighten it out more at the points where it was bent into the shape of a coat hanger. Cut off the hook end of the coat hanger with wire cutters and discard it.
Measure 12 inches from the end of the coat hanger and mark where the 12 inches is. This will form your handle. Lay the piece of paper with your design on it on a flat surface like a wooden bench. Place the straightened out hanger on top of the piece of paper. Starting at the opposite end of the handle you have marked, place the tip of the wire hanger at the point where your design begins. Start to twist and bend the wire using the needle nose pliers and your hands, following the shape of the design as closely as possible. Continue bending and twisting the wire until you have completed the design. Leave the design on the work surface and use the mallet to bang the design as flat on the table as possible. This will ensure a continuous, uninterrupted shape when you brand your wood.
Bend the marked handle end at a 90-degree angle pointing away from the design, so that when you hold the handle in your hand and place the branding iron on an object, the design lies flat against the object. This allows maximum space between your hand and the hot end of the branding iron.
When you heat the branding iron to use it, always use heat resistant gloves to protect your hands. Metal conducts heat very well and if you do not protect your hands, the result can be serious burns.
Tips and warnings
- To avoid accidents, always work in an area away from children and pets.
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