11 Safety precautions to follow for wood burning & Pyrography

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Written by Jared Watson

Jarred Watson is a pyrographer with 10+ years experience and has worked with brands like BOSCH & FORD. He is always looking to learn and share his passion of wood burning with others.

People can create elaborate, detailed designs and works of art using the novel decorating technique of wood burning. This tradition, also known as pyrography, dates back to ancient times and is still widely used today. However, Wood burning also has many occupational hazards and that makes pyrography safety a very important topic since many people have even lost their lives while doing the lichtenberg burning technique . 

Why makes pyrography so dangereous?

Pyrography involves burning wood using heat, this heat can come in multiple forms like using electricity or using a heated material. Whatever involves fire is always dangerous since it can immediately convert into flames or cause occupational hazard. 

Before starting must be sure to complete their homework on pyrography safety tips and get aware of the dangers involved. It is important to follow the safety precautions in order to prevent serious accidents as this procedure involves the use of heat, electricity or even fire. We will be looking at the 11 most important safety precautions related to wood-burning.

11 Precautionary Measures to be aware of

1. Protection from smoke inhalation

One of the most important wood-burning fundamentals is constantly being aware of the air you’re breathing while working on a project. Depending on the substance you’re burning, there will undoubtedly be some dubious things in the air during pyrography, such as sawdust and poisonous compounds.

Always operate in a well-ventilated space[1] to provide yourself with the most effective defense possible right away. Include several fans in the space where you are working to keep the air moving. If at all possible, sand your wood outside; if not, use a mask. The last thing you want to do is risk your health by inhaling a cloud of sawdust.

2. Take proper preparation

When using a wood-burning pen, one ounce of preparation is equivalent to one pound of protection. Many people who start wood burning are inclined to go right in. However, it’s crucial that you take the appropriate safety measures before pulling out your equipment. Have all your supplies close at hand and carefully read any directions or material cautions that may be included!

Before starting any project, you should read the safety instructions and handbook that are included with every wood-burning pen and kit. Additionally, keep any potential obstacles and combustible items out of the area where you are working. Keep your fire extinguisher close by and be familiar with its usage in case of emergency for even more excellent defense!

3. Using finger gloves is a must

Always use finger gloves when burning wood. Your fingers will be shielded from any hot surfaces, burning feelings, and even some heat insulation if you wear finger gloves. Depending on your desire, either finger gloves or complete gloves can be used. Making sure you are insulated and shielded from the heat is the main objective. Consider using finger gloves and a holder to hold your wood-burning pen for increased safety.

4. Avoid touching the metal when the machine is on

Although it might seem obvious, you’d be amazed at how many individuals really do this. It might be challenging to determine whether a solid-point burner is on or hot enough to burn. So, it only makes sense to softly touch something to see if it’s hot. To check if the metal is getting hot, try holding your palm a few inches above it.

Even better, you should press the tip on a scrap of wood for a few seconds to check if it ignites. People also tend to touch it because their fingers have a tendency to linger close to the burning end. That is normal. We all want to hold it more like a pencil or pen.

However, do not move those delicate fingertips from the cork, plastic, rubber, or other surfaces. If you struggle to restrain your itching fingertips from straying too far, invest in a pair of gloves or finger guards.

5. Handle pyrography pens with caution

It is crucial that you exercise caution when using the pyrography pens. The nib of the pens can become extremely hot when they are linked to the electrical source. If you don’t handle it properly, this might burn your skin. Because of this, it is usually advised that you practice pyrography calmly and slowly. Additionally, be sure to properly plug out the pens and put them out of children’s reach in a secure location.

6. Woods that you must avoid using

Any wood that has been stained, polished, or dyed should always be avoided. While some could claim that sanding can eliminate the chemicals that stick out on the wood’s surface, it is quite probable that some may still be present deep beneath the surface. This emphasizes the need to avoid any wood that has been changed or manufactured entirely.

Artificial plywood and MDF (medium density fiberboards)[2] are two types of wood that you should stay away from. Formaldehyde[3], which causes major health risks, is present in some woods. Additionally, these contain glue between each board, which is incredibly dangerous to breathe in.

7. Watch For Hanging Jewelry and Hair

The tools required for a pyrography project are extremely hot, and using hot equipment is always risky because of the potential for fire. Just to further lower the chance of burning or starting a fire, pull long hair back and take off any dangling jewelry.

Before storing or laying down any hot tips or pieces, it’s crucial to make sure they are completely cooled. Work away from combustible things while using a heat gun, as is required with the Scorch Marker, and keep your hands away from the end of the tool to avoid burns.

8. Wear a dust protection mask

You should be cautious about the wood dust that is created while sanding in addition to the wood smoke[4]. The internal organs may be harmed by the very poisonous nature of wood dust. According to a survey, wood dust raises the risk of respiratory conditions and deadly malignancies. This highlights the need for extra caution and the usage of a woodworking mask in sanding wood. Any particles that attempt to enter your body through your mouth or nose will be prevented by the mask.

9. Keep the wood burners cord out of the way

If the heating appliance has a lengthy chord, make sure to attach it so that it won’t impede your doorways. You never know when you could be in such a rush that you might overlook the rope in front of you. Now, if you stumble over it, your weight may drag the hot pyrography pen off your work surface, where it would then land on your flesh and inflict severe burns. Therefore, be careful while handling the equipment. 

10. Use a table fan for smoke ventilation

There is smoke wherever there is fire. Make sure you have a mechanism in place to deflect smoke away from your desk while working with complex pyrography patterns. Make careful to have a window open so the smoke may be directed outdoors while using a fan to take it away from your desk. While burning, there are fans for tabletop and window use.

Additionally, you may utilize pipe or tubing to gather the smoke as it is produced and transport it out the window and securely away from your area! Whatever approach you decide on, just make sure you’ve planned what to do when the smoke starts to rise.

11. Turn the burner off when, not in use

Never leave the heating device on even if you are gone for a minute. It’s just as risky as leaving the stove on while you’re away. Don’t leave it to cook on its own while wasting electricity and maybe wait for the home to catch fire. Anytime it’s not in use, remember to turn it off. Additionally, disconnect it if you need to leave the area for whatever reason


What is the most important safety when creating wood-burning art?

Depending on the substance you burn, pyrography will produce harmful compounds and sawdust in the air. To provide oneself with the best defense against smoke inhalation, always operate in an area with good ventilation.

Can you perform pyrography indoors?

Many artists operate inside while adopting reasonable safety measures. After all, you are burning wood, and gases are possible. Some people choose to keep a fan blowing and use respirator masks and protective gloves to keep smoke at bay.

Can pyrography cause health problems?

Wood burning stove pollution both indoors and outdoors led to significant health concerns, including breathing difficulties and a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, and lung cancer. You must thus wear masks when practicing this skill.

Which type of wood is toxic for pyrography?

Beware of any wood that has vines growing out of it. The irritating oil urushiol is released into the smoke when burning poison ivy, poison sumac, poison oak, or pretty much anything else with the word “poison” in the name.


The art of pyrography is incredible to master. It has maintained its place in the classic artworks and has played a significant part in the cultures of earlier civilizations. It used to be challenging to practice pyrography since necessary instruments weren’t readily available. The development of pyrography pens and nibs has made mastering this art form simpler than ever. Ensure that you are taking all necessary safety measures when doing pyrography.


  1. Gibson, D. (2023b, August 14). Can You Do Pyrography Indoors? – 8 Essential Safety Tips – hobbydisiac. hobbydisiac. https://hobbydisiac.com/can-you-do-pyrography-indoors/

  2. Kubba, S. (2010). Choosing materials and products. In Elsevier eBooks (pp. 221–266). https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-1-85617-676-7.00006-3

  3. https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/formaldehyde/index.cfm

  4. Wood smoke and your health | US EPA. (2023b, August 18). US EPA. https://www.epa.gov/burnwise/wood-smoke-and-your-health

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