Monday 9 July 2018
Pyrography isn't always an obvious choice of technique for woodcarvers, but I am seeing it used more and more on carvings, especially on animals and birds to suggest fur and feathers.
Of course it can be used in other ways to add depth, contrast, shading and texture to just about any subject matter, and its use can be big and bold, or subtle and suggestive, using the vast array of tips available. And what's more, you can create your own tip to suit the desired effect.
I recently came across the Piranha Professional Pyrography Kit from Antex Craft and couldn't wait to put it through its paces. The unit looks the part, feels sturdy and suggests a quality product.
The temperature dial to set heat is straightforward enough, and the pen is attached to the unit by a decent and rugged cable. The pen itself is slim and is comfortable to hold, with a cork sheath to enhance grip and protect fingers against the heat of the nib.
There are two tips included – Style C writing tip and Style WT bushing tip without wire, with other shaped tips available separately. There is also a nickel chrome wire thrown in for you to fashion to a shape of choice, and this attaches to the WT tip. The tips push into place on the pen nice and firmly and when you want to change to another one, you just grip the tip with the included removal tool and pull – simple!
I set the dial to about halfway and placed the pen in the metal holder on the unit. The pen heated up extremely quick and was ready to use right away.
Using a test piece of lime, I experimented with the heat settings from low to high – 650°C being the hottest – and found the unit to be very responsive indeed. The lower settings gave crisp, light marks, which gave way to deeper, intense burns as the dial was pushed higher. And waiting for the tip to cool down to a lower setting was remarkably quick. I was able to push this unit to do everything required of it with ease and in a controlled manner. The only niggle I had, however, was the flexibility of the cord which seemed to want to twist a bit, causing me to readjust my hand grip slightly, but this shouldn't detract from how good this unit is.
The Piranha is certainly impressive and will do the job well. It is responsive, simple to use and gives excellent results. It's a unit well-worth considering and one I would happily have in my workshop.