Homemade Branding Irons

Written by scarlett gauthier
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Homemade Branding Irons
Branding irons are commonly used on cattle to make them easily identifiable. (Heads of Cattle image by Rosie Black from Fotolia.com)

Branding irons are pieces of metal that are heated and used to brand, or sear, material. In the past, they were generally used on livestock but now have more common uses such as branding leather, wood and steak. Branding irons are bent into unique, identifiable shape, usually to identify the company or person using them. Store-bought irons will wear out eventually, therefore many people choose to make their own, using easily accessible materials. Making your own branding iron can be cost effective because it can be a unique design and can be easily recreated.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Hammer
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire coat hanger
  • Ruler

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  1. 1

    Use a pencil to draw the shape of your branding iron design on a piece of paper. The lines must be continuous. This is the design that is going to be used for the branding iron.

  2. 2

    Cut off the hook part of a wire coat hanger using a pair of wire cutters and discard.

  3. 3

    Straighten the metal hanger. Use a pair of needle-nose pliers if necessary.

  4. 4

    Measure 12 inches from one end of the coat hanger to form a handle. Mark this spot with a pencil.

  5. 5

    Lay the piece of paper with your design on a hard surface such as a wooden bench. Place the coat hanger on top of the design and, starting at the opposite end from which it was marked, twist and bend the hanger into the shape of the design, using your hands and needle-nose pliers. Hammer the hanger as flat as possible on the work surface.

  6. 6

    Bend the handle at a 90-degree angle away from the design, so that when the branding iron is used, the design lies flat against the object. This is to prevent burning your hand.

Tips and warnings

  • When heating the branding iron, hold it over heat for at least 60 seconds.
  • Keep a bucket of water close by in case the branding iron must be cooled rapidly.
  • Use heat-resistant gloves such as oven gloves when heating or using the branding iron to protect your hands.

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