Soldering Iron VS. Wood Burning Tool: Let’s Take a Look at Both
Cover Image: Soldering Iron VS. Wood Burning Tool: Let’s Take a Look at Both

When it comes to the delicate act of creating designs, images and recreations on wood – you want to ensure that the tools you choose will not only be easy to use but they won’t damage the wood itself. You want a device that is easy to weld, easy to hold, and easy to maneuver around to get those tiny details perfect.

Wood burning is a form of art and expression, it is the creative side of the artist coming out in force and you don’t want to disrupt that creative energy by using the wrong tool for the piece. That is why the common question amongst the artists that use wood as their main source of canvas is what’s better – Soldering Iron or a Wood Burning Tool. Both have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to making art; as with anything in this world. It fully depends on what is the best fit for the project you are working on.

Soldering Iron VS. Wood Burning Tool Comparisons

Soldering Iron ​​​Wood Burning Tool
Closeup view soldering iron laid on wooden table.
Pyrography workshop. A pyrography tool and a floral model.
  • Meant to connect different materials together through a “soldering” process.
  • Generally, have copper or iron tips that are not pointed for tiny detail work.
  • Can be used for burning wood in large sections.
  • Have pointed tips that can be maneuvered around tiny details of the artistic piece.
  • The tips are made from nichrome; which do not deteriorate from prolonged exposure to heat.
  • Generally, have different tip options to achieve a contrast in your design.

A Closer Look at Both Tools

It’s easy to give the minor reasons or differences between the choice of a soldering iron and a wood burning tool but to determine what would be the best for your art; you need to get a bit deeper and break things down.

Sometimes drawing a comparison between two different objects for the same purpose can be easily made when you have a particular project in mind! Think of your next project while reading the next section and determine what will be the best tool to bring your vision to life.

Soldering Iron

Closeup view soldering iron laid on wooden table.

The Basics

The soldering iron was the first foray into pyrogenics and the various ways to use them. The tool was designed to take two materials and burn them together in such a manner that you cannot break them apart. It’s the hot iron that gave way to a welder and how metal could be fused together for additional strength and security.

Using a soldering iron for pyrography takes time, patience and a lot of practice. Those who are just starting out using wood as their canvas should not pick up a soldering iron as their very first tool. But this particular creative tool is for more experienced wood burners as it features a rounded and blunt end so novices could end up with a piece of charred wood.

The Advantages

As with anything that can be used in all areas of your life, there are select advantages and disadvantages, depending on the reason for using the item; in this case, a soldering iron during your artistic wood burning carvings.

Wood burning art using soldering iron on wood block.

Image Source : instructables.com

  • A tool like this maintains a steady heat during the entire time, and they don’t require a high temperature to burn the wood.
    • This makes them slightly safer than a wood burning tool, especially when they are used indoors.
  • They are useful when you are covering a large area of wood with a singular line, color or design as the rounded and blunt tip will evenly spread the “burn” over the wood.
  • They don’t require as much heat.

The Disadvantages

  • Cannot change the tip of the soldering iron to make different strokes, lines or images. They are not pointed and instead have rounded, blunt ends that can easily cover a large area of wood but not with precise lines.
  • Can be hard to yield and handle as they are not specifically made for burning wood but instead made to fuse materials together in a strong manner.

Wood Burning Tool

poker work with a fire-mint - close-up pyrography, brand painting

The Basics

A wood burning tool is generally sold as part of a wood burning kit. You should receive in your kit a modified pointed (with tips) soldering iron, a source of power (electrical plugins) and different tips to create different images.

Each pyrography tool should be easy to heat up and easy to cool down with interchangeable tips that create different strokes, lines and designs. Always remember to practice caution when using a wood burning tool as it is extremely hot and can catch flammable materials on fire without warning.

The Advantages

As with any tool or item, there are both advantages and disadvantages to using them in any capacity. Here are some of the advantages of using a wood burning tool for your artistic burning projects.

A close up shot of hands holding a wood burning tools to make designs on wood frame.

  • Wood burning tools can be used on a variety of wood types from oak to pine to plywood. You always want to look for or at natural wood to be used with a wood burning tool for the best results.
    • It is important to remember that you shouldn’t use chemically enhanced, pressure treated or stained wood during your pyrography endeavors as these wood types can have a negative reaction to high heat.
  • Wood burning tools can be used indoors as long as caution is practiced. Remove any flammable materials from the immediate area (curtains, gas, etc.) and always wait for the burning tool to completely cool before changing out the tip.

The Disadvantages

Hands of master of burning ornaments carving wooden board with pyrographic equipment

  • You have to cool down the wood burning tool that comes in the kit completely before you are able to change the tip to a different one.
    • While you could use metal pliers to remove the tip from the soldering iron portion of the tool; it is not recommended as it is very easy to damage your wood burning tip and even the iron itself.

Conclusion

The one to determine what is the best when it comes to burning your artistic design into wood is – you, the artist. You want to look at how long your piece will take, what details are going into the wood to make the image pop, and how you want to achieve different shapes of burnt wood to make your image come to life.

That is why the majority of artists that use wood as their canvas and their medium will have both of these products on hand. The soldering tool to cover large areas of wood and speed up the artistic process, and the tool for burning wooden items for those tiny details that truly bring the design together.