DIY Pyrography Pen And Tip For My Woodburning

Pen Still 03 WSMay also be viewed on YouTube – But Better Here!

There’s still time to enter this year’s Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge. See this year’s challenge playlist here for all ornament video submissions.

We appreciate all skill levels and all types of Christmas ornaments.


As promised, this is my build video for my DIY or home made pen for pyrography or woodburning on my woodturning projects.

This pyrography pen uses;

  • 6″ ¾” PVC pipe
  • 6-8 feet 14 gauge insulated stranded wire – Ace Hardware
  • ¼” Male Power Jack
  • 4 PA10HDS-R connectors from connector strip – #215029 TERMINAL BLOCK,12-POS,10MM, $2.3900 – Jameco Electronics
  • 8” – 1/8” brass rod
  • JB Weld Epoxy
  • 1 cotton ball
  • 1–strip thick veneer, popsicle stick, or solid wood a little longer than the brass rod plus connector length
  • electrical tape.

The most difficult item to source are the connectors. I could not find them in local stores such as Radio Shack or Fry’s. I ordered them online from Jameco electronics. Others from my club found them at a commercial electronics supply firm.

The connectors are sold in a block of connectors. I tried to unscrew the screws to extract the metal tube but could not remove the screw from the plastic housing. Then I succeeded when I tightened the screw then clipped the plastic and pried back the plastic. Then I could easily remove the screw and slide out the metal connector.

I soldered the wire to my 1/4″ power jack which matches the jack I installed in the vaporizer.

I cut two pieces of 1/8″ brass rod about 4 inches long and tightened a connector to each end. Then I glued the flats on the metal connectors on one brass rod to a piece of veneer. After the glue dried, turned it over and glued the other rod with connectors to the other side. Then I wrapped both ends with electrical tape.

With my sub assembly complete, I connected the wire and inserted the rod assembly into the PVC pipe. After stuffing cotton into each end, I filled each end with JB Weld epoxy.

This completed the pen.

Home made tips are made from nichrome wire 18 to 22 gauge. Molly Winton recommends 20 or 22 gauge.

My pen can use both Razortip commercial tips and home made tips.

This is a great project, very economical, to create a variety of effects applied to woodturning projects. My “Vaporizer” packs enough power punch to drive even larger pens.

Good turning.

Home Made Vaporizer for “Pyrography”/Woodburning

May also be viewed on YouTube – but better here!

There’s still time to enter this year’s Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge. Follow this link for details and and this separate link for this year’s challenge playlist for all ornament video submissions.

We appreciate all skill levels and all types of Christmas ornaments.

VaporizerAs promised, this is my build video for my DIY or home made power supply to use for pyrography or woodburning on my woodturning projects. Graeme Priddle is the source for this design that he called a “Vaporizer”.

This vaporizer uses a battery charger modified to remove much of the internal circuitry with the addition of a household dimmer switch.

  • 1- Harbor Freight – 10/2/50 Amp 12V Manual Charger With Engine Start ~$39.99 – watch for a sale and/or coupon.
  • 1- Ace Hardware – Lutron Push On/Off Dimmer (D-600PH-3K) ~$9.49
  • 2- ¼” Female Panel Mount Jacks

In Graeme Priddle’s notes, he often uses a NAPA battery charger. I don’t believe this matters as long as you can figure out the internal wiring that needs to be removed. He also hard wires his pyrography pen to avoid any power loss from the connection. However, I chose to mount two 1/4″ sockets in the front panel to enable two pens to be plugged in at once. However, only one can be used at a time. I used a switch from the battery charger to control which switch is powered.

The most difficult part was routing power to the switch and to the power sockets. Had I used a single in-line connection, the work would have been much simpler.

At the input to the battery charger, I removed a circuit board and wired the dimmer switch into the black or power input wire. I had to use additional wire to make the connections since there was just not enough extra wire.

On the output side, I traced back the wires leading out to the battery clamps. I was able to remove a couple more pc boards that otherwise control current.

After removing these components, I soldered a wire leading from the front meter to the center connector of the switch that originally controlled amperage. Then I soldered wires from the two poles of the switch to the power socket terminals.

I cut these wires from the output cable running to the battery clamps. This wire is heavier and should handle the power adequately.

Another couple of wires from the other connectors on the power sockets and connected to a wire that originaly lead to a component.

For operation, power is controlled by the push on/push off operation of the dimmer switch then by rotating the dimmer clockwise to increase power. It’s best to start with the dimmer rotated completely to the left.

The front switch controls which power socket will receive power. Two pens can be plugged in but only one will receive power.

This power supply has ample power to drive a large pen tip and to quickly reheat a tip after a touch to burn wood.

Please remember to unplug when not in use. Rotate the dimmer counter-clockwise before powering up. Let tips cool before touching. Whoever uses and modifies a commercial unit to adapt its use has to take full responsibilities for maintenance, safety and proper operation.

That said, this is a great project, very economical, to create a variety of effects applied to woodturning projects.

In another video, I’ll show how to make a pen to use with this power supply. Don’t worry, the pen is easier than the power supply.

Good turning.

Salvaging My Christmas Bell Ornament

Christmas Bell Ornament

This video may also be viewed via YouTube – But Best Viewed Right Here!

This Christmas bell is turned from maple about 2 inches in diameter and three inches tall. It is finished with colored artists pens and lacquer.
It started life as a hollowed bulb ornament. However, one end got too thin. My salvage efforts resulted in a bell.

While I’m happy with the bell, I’m always disappointed when I turn a wall too thin.

See our Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge at this link.

This year’s Challenge Playlist for all ornament video submissions is continually growing here.

We appreciate all skill levels and all types of Christmas ornaments.

Prizes will be announced during December 2015.

Good turning.

Woodturning Stave Segmented Pen Blank Christmas Ornament

Christmas Ornament 2015 90This video may also be viewed via YouTube – But best viewed here.

This is another ornament for this year’s Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge The ornament’s body consists of eight ‘exotic tropical hardwood’ pen blanks cut in stave fashion with strips of padauk between each. Each pen blank was ripped at a 22.5 degree angle.
The ornament’s top and bottom are walnut. The ornament is finished with Myland’s Friction Polish.

Already we have some great ornaments here.

To enter your ornament and video, please go here.

Prizes will be announced during December 2015.

Good turning.

Woodturning Hollow Christmas Ornament With Wood Burning

Cherry Christmas Ornament

This video may also be viewed on YouTube. But much better here.

This ornament is my first for this year’s Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge. It is cherry with the bulb about 2 inches in diameter plus about 1 inch integral finial. I hollowed the bulb by cutting it in half, hollowing the two halves, and gluing it back together. It is finished with shellac friction polish.

For decoration, I turned several v-grooves and woodburned (pyrography) some random designs. I then sanded the burned areas before finishing and buffing the ornament.

Enter your ornament video at There’s still lots of time before the deadline of November 30, 2015.

Click here to view the all ornaments submitted.

Good turning.

Pyrography For Lid Of My Segmented Utility Bowl

Lidded Oak Bowl

This video may be viewed on YouTube.

This video builds on my last video to make a lid for my bowl. It went well except for the home-made plywood I used in the lid. I had expected it to blend well to make the lid. While it sanded well, and had a smooth surface, it did not look right at the size it was and for the more visible top of the vessel.

Last year, I took a workshop from Graeme Priddle. More recently, I took another from Molly Winton. Both used pyrography or woodburning to enhance vessels. I decided to enhance the look of the lid by burning a pattern over the plywood area.

To burn, I used three burning tips: a skew for the outline; a large basket weave for the outer fill; and a ball point to stipple the inner fill. After burning, I painted the area with black gesso. Finally, I burnished the burned area with RubnBuff to give the high points a gold luster.

The lid is three segment rings with twelve segments each for thirty-six segments. The lid is finished with walnut oil like the bowl portion. At ten inches in diameter, the lid add about two more inches to the bowl’s height.

Good turning.

Don’t forget the Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge!

Segmented Utility Bowl Using Low Tech Design Approach

Segmented Oak Bowl

Also may be viewed on YouTube.

Recently a viewer asked for the segment sizes for a lidded bowl. Normally, I’m willing to share details except that from the tone of the email, I thought that he wanted to make the project without any understanding of how to figure out segment sizes.

I believe that anyone doing segmented work needs a basic understanding of how to design and calculate segment and ring sizes.

Since not everyone is as comfortable with a computer as I am, I decided to take a low tech approach to designing this lidded bowl. Then anyone with or without a computer can easily figure out segment sizes to any segmented project they want.

This bowl is oak, almost 10 inches in diameter and 3.5 inches tall, finished with walnut oil, and buffed.

The bowl has seven segment rings of twelve segments each for 84 segments plus a piece of home made oak plywood. The plywood prevents segments from splitting when closely spaced in the bottom.

Good turning.

Don’t forget the Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge!

2015 Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge

Announcing this year’s Christmas Ornament Challenge. Again, this year I join with Carl Jacobson to host the challenge.

In the challenge we invite other woodturners to turn their own Christmas ornament with their video camera running. Then edit and submit the video for this challenge.

The challenge is open to all ages, all skill levels, and any style ornament. We’ve even had other artisan’s submit their ornaments even when they are not woodturners. Everyone has show great creativity.

This is all for fun as we enjoy the Christmas season.

Here’s a link to the video submission page with all rules (yes, we had to have rules).

Here’s a link to videos. I will update it as they are submitted.


Woodturning Tool Review: Buffing System Update

Buff Set Update

May also be viewed on YouTube.

After I reviewed my Beall buffing system, I received several great suggestions mainly to take it apart and mounts the buffing wheels directly to my lathe.
Since the triple buff system has some utility as is, I decided to keep it as is but purchase three new buff wheels to use on my lathe.

Each mount consists of:

  1. 3/8 inch by 2 inch bolt
  2. Lock washer
  3. 2″ diameter washer with 3/8 inch hole
  4. 3/4 inch wood spacer with 3/8 inch hole and about 1/4 inch thick. This helps the buffing wheel center on the bolt.
  5. Another 2″ diameter washer with 3/8 inch hole.
  6. 3/8 inch nut.

Also essential is a spindle extender sized to my spindle. The opposite end accepts the 3/8 inch bolt.

This with the bowl buffs is the system I should have purchased originally and NOT the triple buff system.

Original Review here.

Good turning.

Woodturning Art – “An Ode To Oregon Rain”

Ode To Oregon Rain

May also be viewed via YouTube.

The inspiration for this project came from many sources. One source was the Utah Woodturning Symposium. Another is Eric Lofstrum with his multi-axis raindrops. While this is not multi-axis, it draws from both plus probably others.

The puddle is Atlas Cedar about 6 inches in diameter. The raindrop is walnut about 3 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Both are finished with a mix of mineral oil and beeswax then buffed.

Good turning.