Fractal wood burning has been one of the most popular crafting methods in recent years. This is done by passing high-voltage electricity into the wood. So, you should know how to fractal burn wood to avoid any mishaps.
Get a high-voltage transformer and jumper cables with metal spikes for fractal wood burning. Brush the wood surface with chemicals to allow the electricity to pass through. Connect the metal spikes in the wood edges to make the high-voltage draw figures on the wood.
The process is also known as Lichtenberg wood burning, as the drawing resembles Lichtenberg’s figure. You will get to know more about fractal wood burning by going through this article. So, let’s continue reading.
10 Steps On How To Safely Fractal Burn Wood: Easy Guide
As you are dealing with 2000 volts of electricity, there should not be any chance of a mistake. You should know how the process works and the risk it has for any wrong steps. Let’s have detailed instructions on safe fractal wood burning.
Step 1: 2000 Volts Transformer
First, you should ensure at least 2000 volts of electricity. Using transformers will let you get this voltage. Check the output voltage of the transformer. There are power supplies available that can produce more than 10K Volts of electricity with less amp.
Step 2: Connect Foot Switch
To let you stay safe, you should use a foot switch of at least 3 feet long cable. Connect this cable to the transformer. This will allow you to maintain a safe distance during the operation. If everything is ready, you just need to turn on the foot switch.
Step 3: Jumper Cables with Metal Spike
In this step, prepare jumper cables with a metal spike. Use quality jumper cable as it’s going to deal with 2000+ volts. You may use metal nails as spikes as they are sharp and will start drawing figures instantly.
Step 4: Get Perfect Wood
Once you have everything ready, it’s time to get the perfect wood for this project. Not all wood is suitable for fractal wood burn. There are some factors you should consider while choosing wood for this process.
Softwoods with good density and lighter grain will be suitable for fractal burning. To help you decide, here is a list of wood types that are mostly used for this operation.
Choosing the perfect slice is also important for a fractal burn. This will make your art more beautiful. Get a circular cut of wood that has smooth edges.
Step 5: Use Chemical Solution
As dry wood doesn’t conduct electricity, you need to use a solution to let the wood get wet. For the solution, you may use a mixture of baking soda and water. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with a glass of water. You may also use salt water as an alternative.
Now, brush the chemical solution into the wood slice.
Step 6: Connect The Spikes
All the major steps of fractal wood burning are now complete. You just need to connect the spikes and power the transformer. This should be done with proper awareness.
Connect the two heads of jumper cables to the transformer and the two with metal spikes into the wood. For a better result, place the spikes into two opposite wood edges.
Step 7: Power The Transformer
Once you have placed everything as instructed, it’s time to power the transformer. Before that, maintain a safe distance from the operating area. You will power the device with a foot switch.
Check again if everything is properly connected or not. Now, turn on the foot switch. The spikes will start drawings shapes into the wood.
Step 8: Change Spike’s Position
Sometimes, the spikes make too much burn. You may change the spike’s position to save the wood from damage. This also ensures you have drawn figures all around the wood.
To change the position of the spike, turn off the transformer using the foot switch and the main switch as well. Safely detach the spikes and change the edges.
Turn the transformer on again.
Step 9: Detach The Cables
Once you have the desired drawing into the wood slice, you may now detach the cables and store them securely. Make sure they are not accessible to kids. Store the transformer in a secured place to make sure it’s safe for the next use.
Step 10: Use Epoxy(Optional)
Epoxy is a coating liquid used to enhance the durability of wood and also delivers a smooth finish to the surface. Once the fractal burn is complete, you may use epoxy resin to make the figure look more beautiful.
That’s all about fractal wood burning without any risk. Follow the procedures to save yourself from any accidents.
How To Fractal Wood Burn With Car Battery: Check If It Works
The voltage range of a car battery is normally 12 to 14 volts. It’s not sufficient to get fractal burn wood. You are required to get a minimum of 2000 volts for fractal burning. With an additional tool, it’s possible to use your car battery for fractal burn wood. Let’s check how.
Get A Voltage Booster
First of all, you need a voltage booster to get your desired voltage from the car battery. You should ensure at least 2000 volts as output from the car’s battery. There are voltage boosters available that can convert 12v to 2000v or more.
Use Chemical Solutions
To prepare the woods for fractal burn, you are required to use chemical solutions. This will make the wood prepare for burning as dry wood won’t get electricity. You may use a mix of baking soda with water. Prepare a solution by using 1 tablespoon of soda with a glass of water.
Now, brush the solution into the brush to prepare the wood for the next step.
Connect Jumper Cables
Once the battery is ready to produce 2000 volts, you can connect the jumper cables with metal spikes to the wood by maintaining a proper distance. The wood will start burning with a tree shape if there is enough voltage.
That’s how you can get a fractal burn on wood with a car battery. It won’t be possible to get this job done without enough voltage. First, ensure you have a minimum of 2000 volts in the battery to get a fractal burn on wood.
How To Fractal Burn Wood Without Any Risks: Check Now
Fractal wood burning may look amazing, but it’s quite risky. Dealing with that much voltage may cause serious injury. There are alternatives to get fractal wood burning without that much voltage. Let’s check the details about the alternatives.
Wood Burning Tool
There are wood-burning pens available in the market to let you have safer wood burning. You can safely draw objects on wood, leather, or even cardboard. The pens come with different designed tips so that you can draw any object with a better shape.
The pens use electricity, and with the tips of the head, it’s possible to draw figures on wood. This technique is quite popular as the figure doesn’t fade away easily. To use a wood-burning pen, it’s recommended to use high-density wood.
Drawing objects with a heated pen are also known as Pyrography. Let’s have more details about this technique.
A safe alternative to fractal wood burning is pyrography. This method uses a heated metal pen to draw marks on the wood, whereas fractal wood burn draws the figure itself. There was no need to draw any figures manually. This is why Pyrography is also known as writing with fire.
Pyrography requires you to draw the figure yourself. That means you can draw any figure or object you want. Not only wood but Pyrography can also be done on any object. Usually, pyrography is done by professionals as you’re required to draw objects from scratch.
Mistakes You Should Avoid While Fractal Burning: Keep Yourself Safe
To avoid the risks of fractal wood burning, you should take some precautions. One simple mistake may lead you to serious injury. So, how to save yourself from any unwanted injury? Let’s check below.
Don’t Use Direct Switch:
I recommend using a foot switch so that you don’t have to stay around the transformer during the operation. Also, using a foot switch makes you watch the process from a safe distance.
Maintain Proper Distance:
During the fractal burning process, you should maintain proper distance. Don’t stay close to the transformers or the cables. There can be sparks or any other accident. Observe what’s happening from a safe distance.
Don’t Touch Anything:
Well, as you are dealing with 2000 volts of electricity, you should be careful all the time. Don’t touch anything while the power is on. If you need to change anything, just turn off the foot switch.
What Voltage Is Needed For Fractal Burning?
The minimum voltage requirement is 2000 volts to get a fractal wood burning. Electronics producing more than 2000 volts can be used for fractal burning. You will need jumper cables and the electronics for fractal burning.
Transformers of microwave ovens are commonly used for fractal burning. Microwave Ovens transformers can produce voltages between 1000 volts and 15,000 volts.
What Solution Is Used For Fractal Burning?
The first and most important tool required for fractal burning is high-voltage electricity. The salt-water solution is also used during making to get a better lighting figure.
You may use baking soda and water mixtures as an alternative to the salt-water solution. Take a cup of water and mix a tablespoon of baking soda. Brush the mixture into the wood before starting the fractal burning process.
Can You Fractal Burn Wood With Welder?
To get a fractal burn on wood, you should get at least 2000 volts. It’s not possible to get this amount of voltage by using a welding machine.
Welding machines usually produce very less voltage with high amps, which is not sufficient for fractal burn. You must get very high voltage to get a fractal burn on wood. This high voltage draws lighting figures into the woods.
Is Fractal Wood Burning Safe?
Fractal wood burning isn’t completely safe because you need high-voltage electricity to get the figure in the wood. Any wrong connection or step may lead you serious injury during the making. This is why fractal wood burning is banned in public events.
You should be careful during the process. If you don’t know about electronics and connections, don’t conduct the process yourself. Take the help of an expert during the making.
What Wood Is Best For Fractal Burning?
There are a couple of things that should be checked while choosing wood for fractal burning. As voltage sometimes draws figures with a density of ¼-inch, you should ensure proper dense wood to prevent cracking or damage from excessive voltage.
Light-colored wood with a grain pattern will make the figure look more beautiful. Oak and maple wood are mostly used and recommended for fractal burning.
Can You Fractal Burn Painted Wood?
Fractal wood burning requires a smooth wood surface to get the figure done perfectly. You won’t have a good result in burn-painted wood. Also, the figure won’t be visible much in painted wood.
It’s better to get a raw wood slice that doesn’t have any cracks or marks. Get wood with at least 2 inches of width to prevent cracks for excessive burning.
I guess you’re no more confused about how to fractal burn wood. Fractal wood burning turns simple wood into amazing art. The process should be done with caution. If you don’t have any idea about electricity, you should do fractal wood burning under guidance.
Use transformers with enough voltage and quality jumper cables. Maintain proper distance while making. Fractal wood burning should not be done as in any testing project. You should only try this if you are passionate about fractal wood burning and have a solid idea about electronics.
Courier, M., O’Connor, R., & O’Connor, J. T. (n.d.). Safety: Fractal Burning / Lichtenburg Burning. American Association of Woodturners. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from https://www.woodturner.org/Woodturner/Woodturner/Resources/Safety-Materials/Safety-Fractal-Burning-Lichtenburg-Burning.aspx
Denison, N. (n.d.). Pyrography. Wikipedia. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrography#cite_ref-2