Turning Archive 2007

Small cherry bowl with pyrography *PIC*

Dominic Greco in Richboro PA
>Hello Everyone,

Here is a small cherry bowl I turned last month. To be honest, I'm not all that thrilled about the profile. I was going for a bowl with little or no foot. But I hollowed a little too deep and ended up using part of my tenon for the foot! I am pretty happy with the bead around the top, and the thickness of the walls. I hardly turn anything this thin (1/8" thick) anymore.

Anyway, I wanted to try out some simple pyrography and this bowl was the perfect subject. Before I go any further, I'd like to thank Molly Winton and Jennifer Shirley for all their advice on pens and such. You both were a great help!

I burned the 2 lines with a guitar string while it was on the lathe. After that I made a cardboard template and drew the curves in between the lines with a sharp pencil. The template was made with some registration marks so that as I moved it, I was able to index it just the right amount. After I drew the lines, I burned them in using my Burnmaster Hawk.


  • Height:3.5"

  • Width:5.5" dia

  • Opening:4" dia

  • Foot:2" dia

  • Wall Thk:1/8"

Finish: Watco's Danish Oil, followed by Beall Buffing, and Renaissance Wax

A couple things I learned about burning and wood burning pens.

Number 1: If you're using a Standard Detail Master pen, it will get HOT when in use. Wrap it with neoprene tubing (thanks to Andi Wolfe for that suggestion)

Number 2: Like all woodworking tasks, use the right tool for the right job. I used the writing tip to burn all these lines and had a devil of a time keeping them straight! I should have used something like a small or medium skew pen (ex: #11 from Optima). Since it's shaped somewhat like a knife, it won't follow the grain as a rounded tip would.

After that experience, I ended up ordering several pens from PJL Enterprises. I really like the design of these pens. And after talking to Pat (the owner), I was sold.

A short word on Optima pens. Rather than being made from aluminum (which conducts and radiates heat really really well!), Optima pens are based around a phenolic/composite tube that will reduce the amount of heat that gets transmitted to your hands. They also come with nice little foam sleeves that further reduce the heat transfer. Neat idea, eh? BTW, once I get the pens in I'll test them out and report back on my findings.

I'd like to hear what you all think about the pyrography on this bowl. Too little? Too Much? Just right? Positioned just right? Wrong place? Tell me what you think.

Thanks for viewing.

See ya around,

My ugly mug


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