I get asked quite often about the equipment I use so I thought I would do a quick review on The RAZERTIP WoodBurner that I use.
When I first got involved in gourds I was really taken with the woodburning part so I ran out to the local Hobby shop and picked up a $15.00 fixed tip woodburner, since I really did not know any better.
I plugged it in and tried desperately to replicate some of the fine lines and details I saw in the gourd art world. It took me about 10 minutes (it may have been 10 seconds but I gave it a fair shot) to figure out that this was not the tool to use. It was sporatic and the line was thick and thin and I kept having to wait for the tip to heat up.
But I really wanted to burn!!
At a Gourd Festival I went to I was introduced to the Razertip Woodburner and went home with one! I bought the Dual Burner, where you can have two pens, however I really don’t use the second one all that often. There is also a single burner unit as shown above!
With the Dual Burner, both pens are not HOT at the same time. You choose which pen will be the hot one as explained below. There is basically no waiting for these tips to heat up, its extremely fast so switching between one pen and another, whether you do it with the press of a button with the Dual Pen unit, or change pens on the single burner requires very little down time!
OPERATION IS SIMPLE
The button to the far left is the on/off switch.
The middle dial is the variable heat dial. Generally I have it set between 7 and 8 for my skewers but I do adjust accordingly. I have one pen that burns cooler than the others so I adjust it up for that.
The A/B Switch is what switches between the left and right pens.
One of the things I learned first was that the pens stay nice and hot most of the time which allowed me to burn with a much smoother line. The pens don’t get near as hot to hold as the hobby ones either. The cushion not only keeps it cool but it is comfortable to grip. The cords that connect the pen to the unit are long enough so they don’t get in the way. The pens are just the right diameter to comfortably roll in your fingers are you guide them around a curve.
Razertip, located in Canada, has been in business for 28 years and they make a fine product. Their pens are warrantied for 1 year, even if you break it. After a year you can have the pen retipped for next to nothing. With all the heating and expanding and the pressure we tend to put on the tips they will break. That is why I have two skewers (Pen 1 and 2 below). About once a year I will break a tip. For a while I sent it to the place that I bought my unit from but last year I sent it directly to Razertip and they fixed me right up. Here is the info on Retipping your Pen
These are the pens I own and I put them in order of my favorites.
1. Large Skew – I use this pen the very most!! It is a work horse. When I outline an element on my gourd this tip burns through the skin like butter. I use the very tip when needing small little lines like feathers or leaves,
2. Small Skew– I use this when I break my Large Skew or when I am making tight curves.
3.Medium Spear– I bought this to make really straight lines but I could live without it. The skews work just as good for me. Razertip calls this a cutting tip.
4.Writing Pen – I use this for shading. I shade using a stipple or squiggle and this pen works great for that.
This post shows me using this tip to shade.
5.Bent Shader – This is my newest pen and it is supposed to be an “all in one” with a skewer and when you turn is flat side down, as a shader. I have not gotten the hang of this one yet.
6. Gourd Cutter– This one is called a gourd cutter because it is long and skinny which will go right through a gourd. Its at the bottom of my list because I don’t use it that often. I originally bought it to cut the tops of gourds off but found my saw worked better for that however I have used it to cut-out small sections of my gourd with some success
Here is post showing what I have burned using just these tips.
Here is an example of starting an outlined design. I sketch in the line I want to burn using a pencil. For me I find that it is very important that the line I draw is exactly what I want and dark enough for me to see. When you start burning you no longer see “the big picture” but you are focused on the small area you are working on. So it is important that the drawing be correct.
I have tried to make it easy for you to locate and buy these products so they are all linked to Amazon. The seller of these products is Treeline USA. I have purchased from Treeline and they are awesome to work with. They also have a super selection of carving burrs…. but that is another post.