difference between Pyrography and Wood Burning

Difference between Pyrography and Wood Burning? (Explained!)

Pyrography is the art of burning designs onto any receptive surface, even wood. Wood burning is the art of writing/burning designs on wood. Pyrography can be done on gourds, Leather, Paper, Bark, Nuts, and Ivory. Wood burning is done on the woods of Ash, Oak, Birch, and some other trees.

Below is a table where the differences are clearly mentioned for your benefit. The key takeaway is the two words are used interchangeably.

Difference between Pyrography and Wood-burning

Below are the key differences between Pyrography and wood-burning.

PyrographyWood burning
The term 'Pyrography' in greek stands for writing with fire.Wood burning is an art of burning designs onto wood surface.
Pyrography can be done on any receptive surface, including wood.Wood burning is done on specific types of wood.
Pyrography is done even on gourds.Wood burning is done on the woods of Ash, Birch, Oak trees, etc.
Wood burning can be called Pyrography.But, Pyrography(on objects other than wood) shouldn't be called wood burning.

Now that you’ve learned how they differ from each other, let’s discuss both of these crafts.

Does Pyrography mean writing with fire?

Yes, ‘Pyrography’ stands for ‘writing with fire’ in the Greek language. The art of Pyrography is so ancient that explorers have found artifacts of ancient times.

Pyrography has ancient origins. People used to engrave on all kinds of objects with Pyrography.

Pyrography was used to design chairs, cups, chests, and bowls. They used a specific type of needle to achieve the design they wanted.

Due to the nature of the work, blacksmiths were also involved in this craft. They had the resources and they could work on this craft without much setup.

What is Pyrography and how it is done?

Pyrography is the art of burning designs onto a variety of surfaces. The wood of Ash, Oak, or Birch is the most commonly used surface.

Pyrography is also called Pokerwork. People started using the term ‘Pyrography’ from the early 1900s.

Whatever the art has been called in the past, it has been practiced for centuries now. The art kept evolving till its present form.

Pyrography is done by heating Pyrography pens and ‘writing’ on a suitable surface.

This Pyrography pen looks similar to a soldering rod. It functions similarly too. The tip of the pen becomes hot after a while, with which you can write on wood.

In ancient times, knives and needles were used in the art of Pyrography.

Pyrography using Benzene fumes

In the 20th century, Alfred Smart, a Melbourne-based architect devised a new way to design Pyrographic art pieces.

He made a pen out of Platinum which would exude Benzene fumes continuously. This tool makes it quite easy to do Pyrography.

This modern Pyrography pen transformed the art completely. Heating the rod/needle often wasn’t needed anymore.

What materials can you do Pyrography on?

Pyrography is done on wood, gourds, Leather, Paper, Bark, Nuts, and Ivory. All of these are considered receptive surfaces.

Light-colored wood is used in Pyrography for obvious reasons. It makes the design stand out.

Can you do Pyrography on plywood?

Yes, Pyrography can be done on Plywood. The design on plywood fades quickly when compared to that on solid wood boards.

You’ll also need to take into consideration the fumes that release when burning plywood. They can be toxic.

I’ve worked with Birch plywood before and I must say, it works well for our purpose. It doesn’t have a lot of grain and burns easily.

The white color of the wood is perfect for this art. Sand the plywood properly and you can now use it for wood burning.

This type of wood is readily available. I usually buy half piece of Birch plywood and get it cut into as many pieces as I want.

Happy Crafting 🙂