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Thread: Branding Iron

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Central, PA
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    354

    Branding Iron

    Looking for recommendations for a branding iron.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    check out Beamer's Brands on etsy (edit - and facebook marketplace). jason is really, really good, makes nice irons. he designed and built his own custom CNCs specifically for his irons. definitely check his work before buying elsewhere, his stuff is nice, he doesn't cut any corners.

    --- dz

  3. #3
    I second Beamer.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
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    Cambridge Vermont
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    I can't remember who it was but I did buy one from a guy on Etsy. Since it was a one time use thing I got the style that you heat up with a propane torch. In hindsight I should of gotten the electric style. Even then I found having an IR heat gun that can read high enough helpful to know if it's hot enough. You only get one shot with wood. At least for me trying to get it lined back up to make it darker always resulted in it being blurry. I found that if I got it to the same temp each time and practiced on some scraps while counting the seconds it worked well.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Millstone, NJ
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    326
    Gearhart is the one i went with. I have no complaints. though i should have went with electronic one.

  6. #6
    What do you want in a branding iron? And how big of a brand? Do you want some custom logo, or just letters? Rockler has some but they have limited customization options.

    Get an electric.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Lebanon, TN
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    I've got 3, now unused, branding irons. I have the electric one from Rockler, a propane one, and I can't remember what kind the third one is.

    I got these for putting a little logo and date on cutting boards, bowls etc..

    I had minimal success with all three of these, which is why I have three of them.

    I was using these on various woods, Maple, Walnut, Purpleheart, Bubingha, Cherry, mostly on end grain which didn't help.

    So I figured I'd try a cheap laser. I bought an Ortur LM2 20W and built a simple cabinet for general use.

    Here's some samples of the laser, nice thing is, you can change your logo/design at will, and also change the size.

    On the bottom of a bowl








  8. #8
    I'll echo ChrisA's comments about branding irons being hard to use. It's difficult to get them to brand evenly and yet not burn the surrounding wood.

    My experience is that sometimes one side gets branded more than the other, to the point of hardly showing up. And yet, if I leave the iron on the wood too long the brand can come out burned all around the letters. It's hard to get just the right amount of time. You can screw up a nice piece of work with a branding iron.

    Also, different woods brand differently. I always do one of more brands on scrap and time how long I've left the brand pressed against the wood. But even that is a problem because the brand cools as you use it so your second brand (in a short amount of time) will be different than your first.

    I mostly just sign my work with a felt tip pen now.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  9. #9
    I used gearheart as well and have been very happy. Nice company to deal with.

    I liked that they had a basic design maker online. I wasn't looking for anything special so it was easy to create a design and submit it along with the order.

    Alan

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    10,767
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    I'll echo ChrisA's comments about branding irons being hard to use. It's difficult to get them to brand evenly and yet not burn the surrounding wood.
    ...
    I also agree with this based on experience. The simpler the design of the artwork on the iron the better.

    I once made a branding iron for a friend to use his sheep farm logo to burn into wood. This worked pretty well since it was so simple. I made the head from a chunk of bronze.

    brand_composite_3.jpg brand_composite_4.jpg

    This one is made to be heated with a propane torch. It was important to test on a scrap of the same wood before each use.

    JKJ

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    North Jersey
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    89
    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisA Edwards View Post

    So I figured I'd try a cheap laser. I bought an Ortur LM2 20W and built a simple cabinet for general use.
    Itís a problem using a branding iron on a surface thatís not absolutely flat. Does the laser require a flat surface? For instance, if the bottom of a bowl that has a slight curve - will the middle be darker/thicker than the perimeter?

  12. #12
    Hmmm this thread has me thinking of an inlaid silver plate with makers marks stamped like used on jewelry vs branding.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Lebanon, TN
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    1,268
    Quote Originally Posted by David Bolson View Post
    It’s a problem using a branding iron on a surface that’s not absolutely flat. Does the laser require a flat surface? For instance, if the bottom of a bowl that has a slight curve - will the middle be darker/thicker than the perimeter?
    The laser has a focal length, about 35mm on mine, but that's a ballpark, a few mm's either side of that isn't going to make a huge difference.

    This is on the bottom of an 18" segmented bowl.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    170
    I saw an IG video where they branded and burned the surrounding wood and looked bad initially but then sanded and the letters/logo were left looking sharp. I have never used one but was looking into it.

  15. #15
    Iíll add my vote for Gearheart. They were recommended on other threads, and I have been happy with the results. I went with the electric model, pricier but more consistent results. I always wait 20 minutes to heat up, and then do a couple of tests on scrap wood before committing to the final piece. I rock the head slightly side to side and top to bottom to insure full coverage. If the burn is a bit heavy, just sand it back with your final grit to clean it up.

    If you are just looking for your signature like I was, you can find sites offering different fonts for free. You type your name in once, and scroll through hundreds of fonts showing how your signature looks in each font. I would recommend a font or design with thinner lines, because burning seems to make the lines thicker. After I saw my test burn image, which is a nice feature from Gearheart, I reduced the thickness of the font in Photoshop and the result was perfect.

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