Pyrography adds realistic texture to this portrait
Woodworkers have used pyrography to add details to their work for years. This project combines layered scrolling, shaping, and woodburning to create a realistic outdoor scene. Instead of backing the portrait with a traditional backing, we added a photograph Dave took.
The clock is a work of art that combines Dave’s love of scrolling and Rick’s joy of shaping and burning wildlife projects in wood.
We chose poplar for this project. Poplar is technically a hardwood but it is relatively soft and easily worked for scrolling, shaping, and burning. It is available at most lumber stores. To achieve the depth needed, we used two layers of wood, cut to the same outside dimensions. The back layer is 1/2"-thick and the front layer is 1/4"-thick. The same thicknesses of birch or maple plywood can be used instead of the poplar. Plywood is stronger, but has very different shaping and burning characteristics. Both layers should be the same type of wood.
Hopefully the project will spark your imagination and enthusiasm in utilizing the techniques on future projects.
The burning on this project adds a lot of detail, depth, and shape to the completed project.
We use two tips while burning this project; a knife-blade tip is used for fine lines, hair, and needles. A calligraphy tip is used for the bark and shading.
Poplar burns nicely and is easy to work with. Practice on a scrap piece to get comfortable with different shading techniques. When burning the overall piece, use care and do not try to work too fast. Let the burner do the work—don’t force it. Burning the lines from top to bottom makes it easier to control the depth and shading of the burning. The longer you hold the pen in place, the darker the wood will burn. A light touch is preferable to a heavy pressure. You can always go over the same spot multiple times to make it darker.