Thursday 09 February 2012
Paul Bignell steps up to the plate with the latest pyrography unit - the Burnmaster Eagle
Over the years, I have used several types of pyrography tools and in the main, they have just been an 'add-on' to enhance or slightly decorate carvings! But halfway through my recent project of a gorilla in lime (see page 54), I realised I needed to up my game and invest in a good unit. After a bit of research, I opted for the Burnmaster as it came with two handpieces and ten different tips to get up and running.
Upon receiving my new toy, I set about experimenting to find out what each of the supplied tips could actually do. What impressed me immediately was the apparent absence of heat loss during use - once set, the temperature of the tip stays constant and I found that I could shade large areas without the obvious colour changes caused by the tip cooling down, regardless of the speed of movement.
I found the pens very comfortable to hold and easy to use. The shape felt good in the hand and always seemed to be in the right place for the particular task I was attempting, and at a safe distance from the heated tips.
It was really handy to be able to have two pens connected at the same time, which enabled me to switch between different tips without waiting for the piece to cool down, thus saving a lot of time. There is a unit available with
a single port, the Burnmaster Hawk, but the versatility offered by the Eagle's double port was something that appealed more.
After the initial experimentation time, I found that it was simple to carve the fur on my gorilla with straight cuts using several different skew tips, giving me a variety of fur shapes and directions. And when I got really brave, I used the tips to actually burn away the wood I did not need, in effect 'hot carving'.
Additionally, I was able to use a shading tip on quite a high setting to create the leathery chest plate.
I tried the same technique on some bits of oak and walnut and it was just as easy to get the same effect on these harder woods.
At a recent wood show, I carved a hippopotamus and remembering reading an item in the rather good Pyrography Workshop book, by Sue Walters (see page 45) on creating the wrinkled skin on an elephant,
I decided to apply a similar technique on my hippo, building up the aged leathery skin gradually in a series of dots of differing sizes, colour and shading - the result using the Burnmaster was just stunning!
This is a very good unit which is capable of producing fantastic results. I am looking forward to using it more with my carvings and will be investing in some Razertip Feather Formers which can be used with this unit - a great thing about the Burnmaster is that you can use the pens and tips of other manufacturers if you already have them, making this a very versatile and useful unit for the workshop!