Right wood burning temperature and Factors influencing it

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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.

Wood burning is the art of etching patterns and images on the surface of wood or other materials. These designs and images are etched on the surface of the wood with the help of heated tools. Generally, people use wood-burning kits as such kits contain all the supplies one would need. Before one starts with wood-burning, it is essential to know the right temperatures to work with.

What Temperature Does Wood Burn?

Various types of wood are available in the market that you can use for your wood-burning project. The different types of wood can be categorized under two basic categories: hardwoods and softwoods. Since there are different kinds of wood, each wood needs a different degree of temperature to burn.

Normally, softwoods are easier to burn than hardwoods. The type of wood usually used for wood-burning burns within the temperature range of 400 to 600 degrees Celsius, equal to 750 to 1050 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is important to remember that the temperature range given is a generalized one. You would need to figure out the perfect temperature to work on your wood type, as using the wrong degree of temperature can either charge or leave no visible marks on the surface of the wood.

Also, it is worth mentioning that the same type of wood may need different degrees of temperature to burn depending on the amount of moisture it holds.

Factors that influence wood burning temperature

You need to keep certain factors in mind that determine how the wood will burn and at what temperature the wood will burn.  


One of the fundamental things you must consider is the moisture content of the wood. Certain types of wood happen to have a higher level of moisture content than other types. Therefore, if you are working with a wood type with a high moisture content, they require a higher degree of temperature to burn. 

On the other hand, if the wood type with which you are working has less moisture, it would require less heat to burn. One way the moisture content of the wood can be reduced is by warming it up before beginning the work.   

Wood type

The type of wood you use highly determines the way and the temperature at which it will burn smoothly. Wood can be broadly categorized into two types, that is, hardwood and softwood type.

Now, if you opt for a hardwood type like oak for your wood-burning project, you need to set the temperature of the wood-burning tool on the higher end of the suitable temperature range as hardwoods, as the name suggests, have a tough surface.

One way to have a smooth burning experience while using a hardwood type without setting the temperature too high would be by preparing the surface before burning it. Preparing the wood would smoothen the surface and make it easier to burn.

Further, if you choose a softwood type, like cedar or cherry, working with a temperature on the lower end of the optimal temperature range will be enough to draw fine lines without interruptions.

Enivironment Temperature

The temperature of the room you are working in also influences how the wood is burned. If you are working in a place with a low temperature and is humid, you would need to set the temperature to a higher degree than what is generally required for the particular wood type with which you are working. 

Also, if the area in which you are working is windy, you need to work at a higher temperature. Therefore, it is always recommended to work in a warm room that is dry and has less moisture. Sometimes working at high temperatures becomes difficult and increases the risk of burns.

Types of tips

Various types of tips come with a good quality wood-burning kit. Every tip is different and takes a different amount of time to heat up. Generally, tips used for writing or adding texture are thinner and lighter. 

As a result, they will take less time to heat up as they have less surface area to heat. Tips used for creating bold patterns and shading are usually thicker, due to which they would need more time and a higher degree of temperature to heat up. 

In addition to the type of tips, the tips you are using must be attached to the pen properly as, if the tips are not correctly attached are lest losing the heat will not reach it properly, and it will take more time to get hot. Also, the tips that you will be using must be cleaned, as using tips that have dirt accumulated will require you to set the temperature to a high degree.   

Choosing the Right Wood-burning Pen

Having the right type of wood-burning tool is very important. The wood-burning pen you would be using is one of the most important tools you will need when doing pyrography. There is a wide range of wood-burning tools available in the market from various brands, each having a different feature. 

Some will allow you to adjust the temperature to your needs, whereas some other tools will allow you to work at a faster pace. To choose the right type of wood-burning tool, one should be first aware of the different types of wood-burning pens and their features.

Accordingly, one can see if the wood-burning tool matches the working criteria that are required for their type of wood and work pattern. There are two types of wood-burning pens: point burners and wire nib burners.

Solid point Burner

A solid point burner wood-burning pen is the most basic and cheapest type of wood-burning pen. This type of wood-burning pen is straightforward to work on and is, therefore, mostly recommended for people who are new at wood-burning and have little or no expertise in the art. The tips of a solid point wood-burning pen come in different sizes and are usually screwed in. 

The main mechanism of heat generation, a solid point wood-burning, involves heat within the pen’s body and then letting it flow into the pen’s nib. Solid point burners usually do not have the feature to change temperature and work at a fixed temperature range.

While working with a solid point, you need to use it with a light hand, as putting too much pressure can break the tip of the pen and get it stuck in the wooden plank on which you are working. Also, while working, the grip on the pen should be firm but not too hard.

Solid point wood-burning pens are reasonably priced and quite ergonomic to use; therefore, pa the preferred type by beginners. Although solid point wood-burning pens have their advantages, they have disadvantages. 

One of the main drawbacks of using a solid point is that it can become very hot since it works at a fixed temperature. Such high temperatures can lead to breakage or loosening of the tips. In addition, the solid point burner also takes plenty of time to heat up and cool down. 

Wire Nib Burner

The second type of wood-burning pen is a wire nib burner wood-burning pen. This type of wood-burning pen is mostly used by such wood-burning artists who are professionals and have honed their skills in the art of pyrography. 

The wire nib wood burning pen is the most famous among professional wood burners as it can be easily customized and come with various tips for creating a different effect. Also, a wide nib wood-burning pen allows you to adjust the temperature based on your needs which is a big advantage compared to a solid point burner.

In addition to the flexible temperature change future, the wire nib burner is also ideal for projects with a lot of details and writing. Wire nib wood-burning pens are very lightweight as they have a thinner body than a solid point burner, which makes them ideal for intricate projects. 

In addition to the advantages mentioned above, Wire nib burners also have another advantage over solid point burners. As the tip of the wire nib burner has less surface area than a solid point burner, it takes less time to heat up and cool down, which makes the artists’ work more flexible and dynamic.


It is important to have proper knowledge about the right degree of temperature that should be applied in a wood-burning project. There are many different factors that influence the burning of wood. As different wood types require different temperatures, having the proper idea about the wood type, and the style of work you are planning to do is important. 

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