How to build a wood burning pen

Written by guy gardner
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How to build a wood burning pen
Add designs to your wood projects. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Wood burn carving is the art of carving designs and pictures into wood using heat, and is also known as pyrography. Pyrographers use a tool called a wood burning pen. Wood burning pens resemble a soldering iron, except that the tip of the pen that is used to make designs is shaped more like that of a pen. If you would like to try pyrography but feel that a wood burning pen is too expensive, you can make your own.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 14 gauge lamp cord
  • Wire cutter
  • Wire strippers
  • 3/8 inch wide phenolic tube
  • Tube cutter
  • 2/32 by 0.014 inch round copper wire
  • Power cord jack
  • Soldering iron
  • Electrical tape
  • Cotton ball
  • 2 barrier strip tubes
  • 16 gauge nichrome tip
  • Plastic weld or epoxy

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  1. 1

    Cut the wire of a 14 gauge lamp cord to match the length of the phenolic tube. The phenolic tube will be the body of your wood burning pen, so use a length that feels comfortable in your hand. Use the wire strippers to strip off the insulation and reveal the two copper wires. Wrap electrical tape around the wires but leave 3/4 inch exposed on both ends of the wires.

  2. 2

    Plug in the soldering iron and let it heat up. Solder the exposed tips of the two copper wires to a power cord jack with a soldering iron. Hold the power cord jack wire tips over the exposed tips of the wires. Place your soldering iron over the tips and feed solder onto the wires. It should be smooth and shiny. Remove the soldering iron. Once the solder has cooled, wrap electrical tape around the exposed copper wires to prevent the pen from shorting out.

  3. 3

    Wrap a 1 inch wide cotton ball around the part of the wires that have just been soldered, but leave the ends of the two exposed copper pieces uncovered.

  4. 4

    Slide the two wires connected to the power cord jack into the tube.

  5. 5

    Solder the two barrier strip tubes onto the two exposed copper wires. Insert one end of the 16 gauge nichrome tip wire into one of the barrier strip tubes at the end of the pen tube. Insert the other end in the other tube. Screw in the two barrier strip tube screws to hold the nichrome tip in place. The nichrome tip is the part of the wood burning pen you will write or draw with.

  6. 6

    Apply plastic weld or epoxy to the end of the pneumatic tube where the copper wires are attached to the wood burner. Plastic weld acts like rubber cement and can be applied in the same way as other glue. Squeeze it out of the tube and onto the end of the pen until it is sealed. This will keep the wires in place. Apply the weld to the other end of the pen, around the power cord jack to keep it secure.

Tips and warnings

  • Always use a soldering iron in a well-ventilated space. Most solder contains lead. Wear a dust mask to avoid breathing the fumes.
  • Place the soldering iron back onto its stand after use and avoid touching anything with the tip of the soldering iron.

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