October 14, 2018

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Special Announcement


Greg's signature



Greg Peters is a four time Emmy award winning animator for Disney, Warner Brothers, and Hanna Barbera. He lives and works in Waco. Now he has agreed to work with me, which means we can legally offer all of the characters he has worked on for sale as burns on wood along with your caricature. Picture your favorite cartoon character and you riding in a car, or eating dinner as a family. Now that would be something to hang on the wall.


September 25, 2018

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St Cuthberts Mill Paper

I was contacted by Ade Timmins of Dudley, UK to review a pack of sample papers from St Cuthberts Mill. St Cuthberts Mill of Wells England “has been making paper since the 1700’s”.

Ade is an outstanding Pyrographer and friend. When St Cuthbers heard that he was using their paper for Pyrography, they were intrigued. They asked him to approach other Pyrographers and get them to write reviews.  Here is mine.

They provided a sample pack of seven types of paper recommended for “Watercolour, Gouache, Acrylic, Pastel, Pen & Ink, Pencil, and Charcoal”

Table of Paper types

Only the two pieces labeled HP were smooth texture, the rest had considerable tooth or rough texture.

I chose a series of beetles to burn on these seven pieces of paper hoping to achieve a degree of uniformity without having to duplicate one single image seven times. I used the AiTool, portable soldering iron, a solid brass tip style burner, on High (480 degrees). Using mostly the small ball tip and the calligraphy tip.

back of paper

Back side


All seven pieces and styles of paper  burned acceptably well, with minimal warping and very little show on the reverse.

My first attempt was on the Millford piece. I was using the calligraphy tip, one of my favorites, and in order to darken the paper as dark as possible I damaged it. I over- burned it and the top layer came away.


The darker part on his head is where I re touched it with some ink. After the surface has been damaged it will not burn dark. After that I switched to the small ball tip. The problem was that the calligraphy tip was not riding over the rough tooth of the paper. The ball tip will press the surface down as it goes and with it I was able to achieve a much darker tone, his legs for instance. However, not a smooth, shiny texture, more of a dimpled effect.


Textures (1)

Ball tip results


Textures (2)

Calligraphy tip results


For the remainder of the rough samples I mainly used the ball tip, working in tiny circles to press and burn the image.

On the two samples of smooth tooth, labeled HP on the chart, I switched back to the calligraphy tip and was able to burn faster and to achieve a much more polished, glossy result.  This is all a matter of taste and preference for the results. Because beetles are known for their shiny hard exoskeletons I was a bit disappointed in the rough paper. However, it would make lovely tree bark.

group display

This was a very wonderful opportunity to try these samples and learn more about paper.

Individual pictures to follow for those who want more.

August 16, 2018

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A new Burner

This is big news, to me anyway.  I’ve been using the same wood burning tool, the Walnut Hollow versa tool for 10 years. The only change I’ve made was to upgrade to a temperature control unit when my kids gave me one, to replace the on/off version I started with.  Last week Miyuki Nakajima approached me on Facebook and asked me to review the AiTool. Then she sent me one for free, cool!!!

Here is that review.

AiTool Wood Burning Pyrography Pen Kit

More Specifically the 947-III Portable electric soldering iron.

I was approached Miyuki Nakajima who wishes to start selling these machines to accept one for free and review it for them. Miyuki found my Wood Burning by Marsha Facebook page and knew that I used the Walnut Hollow burner. As this tool is very similar, she thought I would be an appropriate tester.

It arrived very quickly, in only four days well padded and wrapped, in a padded blue travel pouch. Here is the technical description of what I received: 

Unpacking (1)

【37 IN 1 WOOD BURNING PEN KIT Selected high quality embossing stamps(5pcs), wood burning tips(10pcs), carving tips(10pcs), soldering tips(5pcs) and Hot knife to meet your multiple needs】 Plus two pencils, a set of plastic alphabet stencils, and a wire stand with a small sponge inside it. I was wondering what the sponge was for, the instructions explained that it was to clean the flux off of the soldering tips when it is wet. I’m guessing it could be used while wet as a place to put the tips if you remove them when hot also. Of course the instructions tell you to allow the tool to cool completely before attempting to remove the tips. As do the other machines (but I never do.)

TipsThe first thing I did was examine the tips. Many are shapes I have not seen before. 6 tips are silver Stainless Steel which fit over a heated sleeve and are held in place by a collar (not pictured). 26 tips screw into the end like the more familiar Walnut Hollow and Plaid brand burners. 10 tips are brass, five of those being what I call stamps, designed to be used like ink stamps, held in one spot. 15 of screw in tips are Stainless Steel, five of these also being stamping shapes. And the final screw in tip is a collar and knife blade for heated cutting of plastic.

The body of the tool is blue Bakelite andOn the stand 2 comfort grip, on/off switch, temperature gauge, and power indicator light.  I really like the temperature gauge being on the tool instead of on the cord as is the case with the versa tool. It makes the cord, which is a heavy gauge and should last a good while, less clunky and much less likely to get caught on things like the edge of the work surface. Also the temperature gauge is marked with numbers,” 220 | | 250 | 300 | 350 | 400 | 480”. There is no explanation as to this arrangement of numbers and they are seriously tiny, a bit hard to read on a tiny dial. However they are an improvement over the WH’s four color sections on their temperature gauge. The tool is a little longer than the WH which means your fingers are further from the heated tip for more comfortable burning, but I know there are people who are not comfortable being so far back from their tip.

The stand was a disappointment as they usually are on the solder type tools. With very little force the burner can be dislodged and fall. The AiTool did not hold onto the stand I had fixed for my Walnut Hollow as the groove was even more narrow on the tool itself, which meant I had to rest it upon the stand that came in the pack.  

The AiTool heated up quickly and cooled quickly. I tested a small round tip on all of the 6 numbered settings and will provide a picture of the results on wood, leather, and Bristol Board paper. test resultsThen I experimented with a couple of the tips to compete a lighthouse burning on Bristol Board paper. I did not like the tips so I decided to see if my Walnut Hollow tip would work and it did. It screwed right in without any damage. Me not liking the tips was no surprise, because I usually customize my tips anyway.

I did not feel any discomfort from the machine getting hot while I was using it, but I didn’t use it very long either.. Also the body of the tool is more slender so it will be easier for some people to hold.

I am willing to use this tool for a while and see how it works out. From what I understand it is $26.98 on Amazon and I think it compares very well with the other tools in this price range.

July 23, 2018


Quite an Adventure

Two months ago I was fortunate to have one of my pieces of Pyrography accepted into an art show in Laguna Beach, California. The show was called “The Second Half” and was organized and held by the Las Laguna Gallery. I was thrilled and honored. Here is the piece that they chose, “Forever Friends”.Friends Forever in Las Laguna GalleryLaguna Beach is only 45 minutes away from Carlsbad, California where Tim and Lisa live. Tim and Lisa, the parents of Rebekah Hagman are the sweetest people you could ever want to meet. This wonderful couple have been to Texas several times to help in the remodel and hard work that has shaped Cultivate 7twelve into a very fine gallery. They are also a huge fan of my art.

Lisa in particular was interested in my horse piece Midnight run. When I told them I would be coming to California to visit the gallery there, they graciously offered to host me for my entire stay. This was their payment.

Midnight run holding it


As you can see, its not a small piece. Originally I took “Midnight Run”, carefully sandwiched in cardboard as my carry on luggage. I carted it through DFW airport, in and out of Chick fil a, into the bathroom, everywhere I went. I was careful not to forget it, thinking to myself the whole time “You know, you are going to forget to pick that back up.” It would not fit in an overhead, nor under the seat, so it rode standing in front of my knees, resting on my feet the whole way to California. Upon disembarking I collected my checked bag and looked up the parking lot of my rented car. I hired a taxi to drive me the mile instead of walking. He wasn’t very happy with such a short run, but that is the breaks. Standing beside the rented car (thank you Turo it was $35 a day) I read the instructions to unlock the car on my phone. Tired and a bit overwhelmed I finally got the car unlocked and my luggage in the trunk, I sat down to check my GPS before heading to Carlsbad. It was only when I got almost the entire way there that I realized I had not put “Midnight Run” in the back seat.

I checked and rechecked, pulled over and looked in the trunk….. No dice. I was only 5 minutes from Tim and Lisa’s house so I forged ahead. She refreshed me with the warmest of greetings and a meal (enchiladas make almost anything better). I explained my dilemma and drove back to the airport parking lot. I searched high and low, mainly low, underneath every car there. No dice. Heart broken and tired, accepting defeat I wrote it off and went about enjoying the rest of my trip.

Here were are two weeks later and Tim and Lisa are now the proud owners of “Midnight Run” the second version. Hopefully it is even better than the first run.

Midnight run Tim and Lisa


April 3, 2018

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Marauder’s Map

Harry Potter fans will recognize this right away. Back last November I was asked to make this from a free downloadable PDF. (Instructables) As it happens I had been given some really nice paper and the map tuned out really cool. Then I burned the cover art on a piece of leather.  The map has seven secret or hidden features and is about 14 feet long in two sections. It turned out so well that I offered them for sale on my Etsy shop. Last week I made the third one. Its the perfect gift for a true Potter die hard fan. You can see more details at Etsy

March 22, 2018

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Table Toppers in Waco

Every year The Art Center of Waco has their annual Table Toppers fund raiser. This year they asked me to be a featured artist. So I demonstrated wood burning on this piece I call “Chocolate Please”, its the portrait of my grand daughter with chocolate on her face, she has her hand over her heart saying, “Please” to get more cake. I made time lapse videos which you can see up on Youtube of the rest of the burning on this piece. There is a link to them on a previous blog post.

Today’s fund raiser raised a lot of money for the Art Center, they have a mobile art bus that they take to area school children. They also offer several summer camp each year full of wonderful art classes. There were many lovely ladies there interested in understanding Pyrography and Little Bit finally has her hair all complete.

March 17, 2018

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Currently on Exhibition

Brick Gazebo framed

“Brick Gazebo” is one of five Pyrography works currently exhibited at the Cultivate 7twelve Art Gallery and Event Center. Open daily at 712 Austin Avenue in downtown Waco.


March 12, 2018

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New YouTube channel

Sanborn map titlepage finishedYouTube videos

Stepping out into new territory. I found an app that lets me take time lapse videos with my phone’s camera and I really like the results. I’ve been sharing them with my Facebook followers and they seem to really enjoy them so I’ve uploaded them to Youtube creating my own channel. So the circle is complete, everything I know I learned from Youtube videos and asking questions of nice people on Facebook groups, now I’m using that to give back to others on Youtube. I hope you enjoy them and if you do please subscribe and I’ll be adding more.

Most of the videos were taken of me burning on the piece shown here, its on cream colored Mat board (the board usually cut to go around works of art in frames). I wanted it to look antique like the 1929 book of maps it came from.

March 4, 2018

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Video Results

I got a new app and found out how to take time lapse videos. I thought you might want to see what I do. This is 20 minutes of work condensed into 20 seconds. I am burning on mat board paper with the Walnut Hallow versa tool using the skew tip.