KEZ Halliday

The Workshop

Fixing Pyrography or Woodburning Mistakes

Fixing Pyrography or woodburning mistakes

Hello! I’m Kez from Spirit & Bear, and we are going to be giving you some tips on fixing your Pyrography or woodburning mistakes.
Wood burning is so much fun, but if you new to Pyrography then it can be a little daunting.
So here is a list of helpful wood burning tips, that will help get you started!

A fine grit sand paper is a very popular way to remove unwanted burns but I find you have limited control on small areas and the sand paper can push the carbon into areas you don’t want dark. 

I tend to use a stick with a small piece of sticky sandpaper over the top. This can wear the sandpaper quite quickly though.

Fixing Pyrography or woodburning mistakes
Blade or knife & a sandpaper on a tapered stick.

Another way for Fixing Pyrography or Woodburning Mistakes is by using a craft knife or blade and gently scraping the burn away.
You have to be gentle and patient with this method, and don’t push into the surface of the wood. You simply scrape over the burn repeatedly to get your desired shape, or to completely remove the burn. This is by far the most effective way, but it takes time and practice.

So take your time and practice.. practice… practice!

I will be adding more short videos to this series of tips and tricks with woodburning.
You can find us on Instagram at Spirit & Bear for any updates on new blog post.

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The Workshop

Making Load spreaders for woodworking clamps

Load spreaders for woodworking clamps

Load spreaders for woodworking clamps:

Today I wanted to show you these, we call them Load spreaders and they are super simple to make.
The question i can hear you asking ” What do you use them for?”

Well…… They are a scrap piece of HDF flooring with a magnet inserted and glued in one side and what they do is magnetize to the metal clamps.

So when we are gluing up pieces of wood they attach to the insides of clamps and this prevents getting an indentation in the piece we are working on.

They are most useful when putting your clamps upside down because they just don’t fall off!

I used the table saw to take off the tongue-and-groove part of the wood and used the small cross cut sled to cut the smaller pieces. I cut these at 50mm wide and 80mm tall. I’ve found that this is the perfect size for the clamps we use.

Next I used the belt sander just to round the corners, there isn’t any particular reason for this other than i like them like that 🙂 but if you prefer to leave them with square corners than that’s absolutely fine.

After I finished sanding the corners, I used the pillar drill to drill the holes in the center of the wood. I haven’t drilled all the way through only enough for the magnet to sit flush. Although i did drill a couple too deep :-/

Then I used a 2 part Epoxy to glue in the magnets, the ones that I had drilled too deep, the magnets started to tip side ways so i used a piece of grease proof paper and a spring clamp to hold the magnet in the correct position.
The grease proof paper just stopped the clamp sticking to the Epoxy.

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The WorkshopWorkshop Resources

Wood burning for beginners.

Hello! I’m Kez from Spirit & Bear.
In this blog post I’m going to run thorough a few of the basics of wood burning for beginners. I get asked lot of questions about what tools to use, and what types of woods are the best for pyrography. I will also share with you how to prepare your wood, and safety gear.

Wood Burning Kits

“Which wood burner should i use?”
This has to be the question i get asked the most, and to be honest an inexpensive one like the Weller hobbyist kit from Amazon will do perfectly fine.
They are great for getting used to the heat and the different types of wood, and come with a range of tips too.

Starter kits.

There are many wood burners on the market, ranging from £10 for Aldi specials, up to the £500 mark for a professional burner. You don’t ever have to upgrade to a professional burner. There is some amazing pieces of work done with a basic burner. I have both basic and professional tools and use them both on a regular basis but it all comes down to personal preference.

Basic Weller wood burner.

The basic burners don’t get quite as hot as the professional burners. Some of them don’t come with a temperature control either. With practice you can still achieve the same results, its just not as fast and you have to take your time. Just take your time to experiment with your burner and tips to find out what works best for you.

Remember to be careful when screwing your tips in and out when the burner is hot. Its possible to cross thread the burner which means you wont be able to put another tip in. I’d advise that you wait until your burner is cold before changing the tips over.

Remember to try out your tips before you start any big projects. It always helps to have some scraps to test on before you burn your best piece. You can use the scrap wood to test the heat of the tips and practice your techniques before you burn onto your project.

Professional burners.

Optima 1 professional wood burner.

The more professional burners have more options. They also have interchangeable pens that can been brought separately. There is wide selection The professional burners heat up and cool down a lot quicker than the basic ones. The Optima takes around 5 seconds. Where as the basic Weller one can take several minutes to heat up or cool down.

Everyone has their own tip preferences, so make sure you try them out. Below are 2 of my favourite tips. The Small Spoon shader on the left and the Small ball point on the right.

Left- Razertip small spoon shader
Right – Optima small ball point stylus

There are many other professional burners on the market so pick one that suits you.
Peter child
Razor Tip
Optima 1

Types of wood.


Saftey Tip No 1:

Don’t burn on Medium Density Fibreboard or MDF as its commonly known as! It is extremely dangerous and releases toxins from the chemicals in it, when burnt.

Saftey Tip No 2:

Don’t burn on any wood that has been treated or has any kind of finish on it. This can also release chemicals that can be toxic when inhaled.

Popular woods to burn.

There are many different woods to choose from. So I’m just going to list a few common woods that are easily accessible from your local craft, or hardware shops. Just remember there is no ‘best’ wood to burn on, it all comes down to personal preference.


Pine is one of the least expensive, and easiest to find to start you off. Just bear in mind that with a wide grain pattern it can be a little tricky to navigate the burns. (especially straight lines)


Birch is a great to burn on, and often sold as birch slices. The colour is nearly white, which makes the burns stand out and the grain pattern is straight or slightly wavy. The end grain has nearly no colour distinction between the growth rings. There for has a uniform appearance. This makes it easier to navigate the burns.

Hard Maple

Hard maple has a very light colour, it ranges from a nearly white colour to an off white cream colour. The grain is generally straight but can be a bit wavy and has a fine even texture. This is makes it easy to work with when wood burning.

This list could go on and on, there are so many more woods that you can burn, but just remember! It all comes down to what you prefer. So try a few different woods and find the one you like best.

Preparing the wood surface.

Before you start burning your wood been sure to sand it first. Going down the sand paper grits to a 320 will ensure you have a nice smooth work surface. This just helps your burning tool to glide over the wood with ease. You can take it down the grits further if you wish. If you prefer to go down the grits further then by all means, go for it! You do wants best for you. Personally I find 320 is enough for any projects that I do. Then all you need to do is just wipe it over with a cloth and your ready to go.

Safety equipment

Before you start burning you may want to invest in some safety equipment. Gloves are a good thing to have handy. When you are burning your wood the pen on the wood burner gets hot.

A reliable respirator mask that is designed to seal out toxic smoke. The filters in the masks can be for different things, so be sure to check that the mask you buy is for smoke.

A fan is also something that is handy to have. You can put it next to your working area and the fan pulls the smoke away from you and blows it out. I use a 320mm computer fan mounted onto a wooden base. I generally use it near my workshop door so it pulls the smoke away from me and blows it towards the door.


Remember safety first and Use your safety equipment!
Have fun and experiment with different woods types. A selection pack from your local craft shop to practice on may be an idea if you don’t have a lot of different woods to hand.
You don’t need an expensive wood burner to start with, an inexpensive one will do just fine.
And last of all …..practice ….. practice ….. practice … while having fun, of cause, it doesn’t have to be perfect because there is no ‘right’ way to make art, only your own way! 🙂

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The Workshop

Custom wooden drink coasters

custom wooden drinks coasters
custom wooden drinks coasters

Custom Wooden drinks coasters can add a personal touch to any room, but you don’t want just any old coasters, you want the perfect ones for your home! If you looking for drink coasters you’ll want some that are personal to you and your home.
Personalise them with any message, names, dates, joke or whatever you want!

Custom drink coasters are both striking and elegant, and of course personal to you. Weather your a fan of hot or cold beverages, everyone will have somewhere to safely place their drink.

Beautiful personalised wooden drinks coasters really do make a special & thoughtful gift. So for those very special occasions such as, anniversaries, wedding gifts, housewarming, or any other special event, just remember personalised drinks coasters just might be the best gift choice.

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