Razertip Pyrography Systems and Pens - Razertip Woodburning Systems and Pyrography Pens

Learn how to care for your Razertip pyrography tools, tip styles & uses, frequently asked questions and more.

Everything you always wanted to know about Razertip pyrography tools, pen uses, care, answers to all your questions & more. If I haven't answered your questions, please contact me.

Most of the information contained in this tutorial can be applied to most brands of detail pens but if you do not have a Razertip (or similar brands with polished tips), please be sure to follow the manufacturers instructions for cleaning the pens.   

I have used & sold Razertip since 2002 & they have made many tip styles for me over the years including: the HD5MP Bent spear shader, F99 Ball Stylus, F14D Round-heeled knife, F9Pl Gourd poker & others.

When the economy took a down turn I started carrying other brands to give my customers choices if they could not afford Razertip. Ultimately I ended up discontinuing each one for a variety of reasons such as: too many customer complaints, poor quality control, poor service or combination. This is something I have never had to deal with when it comes to Razertip so I have opted to go back to just selling Razertip exclusively & not even try to find a cheaper alternative. I would rather sell quality products than try to offer my customers products that I don't feel comfortable recommending. I want my customers to be happy & satisfied with what they buy from me.

This page was last updated 1/30/18

Care & feeding of your Razertip brand pyrography tools

If you own a Razertip woodburner you have come to the right place for help. 

I use & sell the Razertip pyrography tools & pens so that's what I am going to discuss here but the same information also applies to many other brands of pyrography tools.  First, let me start off by saying that the Razertip, Nibsburner & Optima  brand of pens have polished tips & do not need annealing before use. It is unnecessary & not recommended. Just open them up & burn away.

The Razertip tips are made from a highly polished nickel/chromium alloy that is designed to flow smoothly over the wood & require less cleaning. These tips need very special care to preserve the finish & ensure its life. Although most brands of tips are made from a nichrome alloy, not all are the exact same proportions of nickel & chromium or processed in the same way. Some pens that are not polished will require cleaning more often than those that are polished. If you are using Razertip or similar pens, you should probably only need to clean the pens once a day if burning at a moderate temperature on wood without resin or pitch. If you are burning at a high temperature on wood such as pine (not safe really) or on gourds & leather, you might need to clean your pens more frequently.  When your burning starts looking muddy or the pen is starting to drag, its time to clean!

The photo shows the Razertip fixed-tip pens which is primarily what I carry. The photo on top is the standard (F) handpiece & the bottom is the heavy-duty (HD) handpiece. Although it doesn't show up well in the photo, both styles are vented.  Notice that the connection at the end of the pen is different than most burners manufactured in the USA. It can be used on most major brands of burners with a different cord or adaptor although a cord is the recommended option.

Razertip fixed-tip pens

Having a clean tip is essential for good burning. A build-up of carbon & other materials will hinder heat transfer & cause the pen to skip on the wood while burning. The ideal method of cleaning the polished tip wood burning pens is to use the cleaning tool made by Razertip or use aluminum oxide & strop it on leather or the hone strop described below.

If you care for the tips properly, they will last for years!

Happy Burning ©!

Nedra Denison signature.

Frequently Asked Questions:

All the FAQ's have been moved to their own page Razertip FAQ's.

Proper Care & Use of Razertip Pyrography Tools & Tips:

Razertip polished tips do not need annealing before use. It is unnecessary & NOT recommended to use any annealing process. Just open them up & burn away.

If you can turn the burner down & still do the job do it!  Your tips will last longer, you'll have more control, you'll get a cleaner burn, your tip wont build up carbon up as quickly, & its cooler on the fingers. The other advantage to burning at a lower temperature is that you will have more control over your burning!

NEVER use abrasive sand papers, etc. to clean fine detail pens, especially if they are polished wire tips!!!! 

Choosing the right tip style

I hope that the guide below helps you choose the right Razertip  pens for your needs. This guide will show you some of the things you can do with these pens. It's not always easy for people to visualize in their minds what can be done with each pen just by looking at the photo & description of possible uses. The description of uses is also just a guide & not necessarily all that you can do with each one. The bottom line here is EXPERIMENT & have fun!!!!

The pens shown with an asterisk are the most popular & the most versatile. Many of Razertip's pens are available in a variety of sizes & heavy-duty or standard versions. The heavy-duty version is built for maximum durability. It requires a higher heat setting than most standard pens & they can get warmer than the standard pens. They are ideal for applications where the flat side of the tip is used (quill-making, shading, etc.). Some tip styles, like the ball stylus, are only available in a standard version.

Keep in mind that everyone burns differently & that's fine because if I were all the same it would be a very boring world. They have different styles of burning, prefer different pens & this is just a guide, not the final word on what's good for you. I was taught in art school not to outline my work because there are no lines in nature & I don't outline but many people do. I prefer using the bent spear shader but others prefer the spoon or round shader. It all boils down to what you prefer & what works for you, not me or the next guy! Don't take my word for it or someone else, try it yourself, experiment & make your own decisions.

I might also add here that I recommend fixed-tip pens rather than interchangeable tips. There are several reasons which are listed above. Since I cater to woodburners who use burners on a more regular basis I primarily sell the fixed-tip pens. 

You can see all the pens on my website. Click here to go directly to my Razertip pen store.

Disclaimer: Some of the information contained on this page is based on public domain information that is believed to be reliable & information used in my classes. The information in these tutorials is furnished free of charge. The information is to be used at an individual's own risk. Nedra Denison and Sawdust Connection makes no warranty as to the completeness or accuracy thereof.

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No portion of the printed book "Pyrography 101©" or the web pages containing "Pyrography 101©" or any of the "Gourd Crafting 101©" Tutorials may be copied, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior permission of the publisher and copyright owner, Nedra Denison. 

Material from this site may not, in part or in whole be distributed, redistributed, published, republished, copied, reproduced, altered or modified and sold; posted on websites, blogs or other internet sites or otherwise made available to others in any form for any purposes whatsoever without prior permission.

Tip Styles & Their Uses

The tips shown with an * are the most popular & most versatile tips. These are the basic ones I typically recommend for general pyrography.

side view of the Razertip bent spear shaderFig 1

*HD5MP Bent Spear Shader

This is my all-time favorite pen & it is the pen I use for just about everything I do. Razertip started making this for me back in 2002 when I first started using their burner & it has been their best selling shader ever since. It is pretty versatile & because of its unique shape you can get into tight corners & every nook & cranny & do all kinds of things with this pen.

Other than working with miniatures, this pen can be used for all your shading needs & so much more. I prefer this to the round, square & other shape shaders because of its shape. Also, because I use a smooth shading technique, this does a beautiful job of accomplishing the gradient tones. As with most pens, the trick is going to be in the technique & the landing. Be sure that when you land on the wood your pen is in motion, much like an airplane coming in for a landing.  If the pen lands on the wood then moves you will get what I call, "the dreaded blob". This is one of the most important techniques to learn.

You can also see from the photo on the top right that I have created an "edge" with my shading. This gives the shading a natural look & I do not have to (& should not) outline my work. Another important technique to remember is to blend the shading so it doesn't look like a bunch of brown lines. Notice how smooth the shading looks in the photo.

The middle photo shows how you can draw lines using the edge of the pen & vary the thickness depending on the angle you hold the pen.

The bottom right photo was done using the tip of the pen. Just be sure you do not dig into the wood when you do calligraphy with the tip. The block letter on the right of the sample was outlined using the tip & then shaded inside using it as a shader.

This is NOT just a shader. Here is just some ideas what you can do with it: Curved & straight lines (with the edge); pointillism/stippling (with the inverted tip); calligraphy (with the tip); undercutting & of course shading. Experiment & see all the things you can do with it.

Razertip bent spear shader.
Drawing lines with the side of the Razertip 5MP Bent Spear shader.
Front view of the Razertip bent spear shaderFig 2 Razertip HD5MP Bent Spear Shader Uses.
     
Razertip F9 Writing tip.

# 9 Writing Tip

This pen actually comes in a variety of sizes (small, medium, large, small/medium) & is available in Heavy-Duty & Standard pens. The photo on the left is the #F9S. I have found the 9S to  be the most versatile & this is the one I use the most. You can see the difference in the lines from the largest, F9 to the smallest F9XS tip. The smallest size has a sharp tip so it tends to catch on the wood making it difficult to print.  

You can see in the photos on the right that I have done lines on top & then experimented with shading. The 2nd row is pointillism done with each size of the writing tip. The third row is shading done with lines & the last line shows printing done with the writing tip. 

Sampler using the F9, F9S and the F9XS writing tips.

F9 ~ F9S ~F9XS

     
Razertip F1S Small Skew.

# 1 Skew Flat

This is available in both standard & heavy-duty pens. These are used for pyrography, cutting & detail work depending on the size. The edge is flat & sharp.

The top & middle photos show two styles of shading done with the skew, hatching & cross-hatching. Varying the lines will give you deeper or lighter shading. The closer together the lines are the darker the shading will be.

You can see the lines on the bottom are clean & crisp but it's not as easy to do curved lines with this skew as it is with the #7 or the #14

Razertip #1 Skew examples of what you can do with it.
     
Razertip F1M Med. SkewFig 1 #1 Skew

# 1 vs. # 7 Skews

The #1 (Fig 1) is similar to the #7 (Fig 2). The #1 Skew has a sharper tip & edge. The #7 Skew is heavier duty & more popular. They are great for doing curved or straight lines, hatching & cross hatching, hair & feathers & undercutting burnings to create more depth. Using one of these tip styles you will get crisper lines than using the side of the bent spear shader. Short lines can be achieved by using the nose & longer lines use the flat edge. The #7 is more popular than the #1 but the #14's are the most popular because it's more versatile than the flat skews.

Samples of burning done with the Razertip #7 Skew.
Razertip F7M Medium Skew.Fig 2 #7 Skew
     
Razertip HD2LC Lg. Round Shader.Fig 1
Razertip HD2MC Med Round Shader.Fig 2

# HD2 Round Shader

The #2MC (Fig 1) & #2LC (Fig 2)shaders are only available in heavy-duty. These are used for shading. The shading on the right was done with the large round. It shades a larger area than the Medium.  It is not as versatile as the 5MP, but it does cover a larger area a bit faster than the Bent Spear Shader.

These are good for burning larger areas but does not get into tight spots like the #HD5MP Bent Spear Shader & is not as versatile.

Shading done with the Razertip #2 Round Shader.
     
Razertip 17M Detailer/hair pen.

# 17  Hair/Fur Detailer

This pen is available in standard & heavy-duty pens & sizes from small to large. A popular pen for hair, coarse feather texture, grass but if you are like me you might prefer a multipurpose tip such as side of the bent spear shader which will do the same thing & more.

I have found that using the side of the #HD5MP bent spear shader can accomplish a similar effect. Using one of the round-heeled knives will also do a good job although you will not achieve the thickness that you can get from the # 17.

I usually use the side of my bent spear shader for this type of work & it does a fine job. 

I also experimented & tried doing calligraphy using the tip & it did a really nice job. So my feeling is you can do most of the same things using a round-heeled knife, the spears &/or bent spear shader which are more versatile.

Razertip #17 Detailer sampler.
     
Razertip Medium Spoon Shader.

*# HD30M Spoon Shader

The spoon shaders are only available in heavy-duty-style pens & are available in small & medium. The medium is the most popular of the two spoon shaders. They are very versatile & fun to use. These are most popular with gourd artists.

The spoon shaders are shaped somewhat like a bowl & will work on a variety of surfaces including flat, concave & convex which makes it ideal for shading on gourds. They can be used in forward, backward & side to side strokes.

The photos on the right were done with the medium. The burning is done on Italian poplar which produces softer burns rather than crisp burns that you can achieve on harder woods.

Razertip #30 Spoon Shader.
     
Razertip F99.015 & Pen.Fig 1

*# 99 Ball Stylus

The ball stylus can be used for so many things such as cursive writing, drawing lines, stippling, shading, etc. As the size of the ball increases in it is more difficult to print or write with it. But the nice thing about the ball stylus is that it glides over the wood so smoothly. Fig 1 shows the 1.5mm. For photos of more sizes go to the Razertip specialty pen page.

Another important thing to remember when using these is that as the size increases the longer it takes to heat & cool. The larger sizes also requires a higher temperature. 

The photo on top right shows all the sizes of ball stylus pens that are available & compares how they perform doing cursive writing. 

The bottom photo shows how four different sizes perform cursive writing, printing & block letters. The ball stylus does not loose heat like most shaders do so you get more consistent shading.

Comparison of all the ball stylus sizes.
Samples of all 9 ball stylus pens done on Italian poplar. Done on a harder wood will give you clearer, crisper detail.
Sampler of burning done with various size ball stylus.
     
Rasertip HD14SM Sm/Med Knife.

*# 14 Round-Heeled Knife

This pen actually comes in a variety of sizes (small, medium, large, small/medium) & is available in Heavy-Duty & Standard pens. I prefer the HD14SM (show on the left) because it is the most versatile so I don't need to have more than one round-heeled knife. My philosophy has always been more is not necessarily better, just more money! This pen is great for a lot of things. It does beautiful curved lines, calligraphy & can even be used on the side for shading. Experiment & have fun!

The photo on the top right shows me doing curved lines rolling the pen in my fingers to achieve the curve; The middle photo shows a sampling of calligraphy & shading (using the side of the knife); the bottom photo shows cross hatching, a feather & pointillism (don't with the tip of the knife)

Razertip round-heeled knife.
Razertip #14 Round-Heeled Knife Pen Uses.
Razertip #14 round-heeled knife pen uses.
     
Razertip HD5MH - Medium Hosaluk Spear.

#RTHD5MH - Medium Blunt Tip Spear

People have been asking me for something to create a heavier line & now, here it is. This is good for general pyrography, feathers & hair detailing, undercutting, embellishing or decorating.

Designed by renowned wood turner Michael Hosaluk. Mike uses this tip to burn defining lines on his wood turnings. It's unique design gives a heavier line & gives the tip more strength than thinner tips.

For an even broader line check out the Wide-Groove Detail tip (aka "V" tip) on the a href="Razertip-Specialty-Pens.htm" title="Wide-Groove Detail pen"> specialty pen page. Sample burnings using this tip is shown above.

HD5MH & HD14SM Sample Burns.
     
Razertip 5S Small Spear.Fig 1
Razertip HD5L Large Spear/Gourd Saw.Fig 2

# 5S & 5L Spear

The spear is a very versatile tip. It is good for General pyrography, feathers & hair detailing, embellishing or decorating.

 In the photos I had the heat set a bit too hot so the yellowing was visible on each side of the burned lines on the samples on the left. That is a good indicator to turn the heat down a bit & not to linger too much while drawing the line.

Razertip F5S Samples.

The Small Spear (Fig 1) The 5S is a favorite for gourders for detail work but is a real winner for doing fine detail work on most surfaces.

Like the extra small version, It is great for getting into tight spots.

 

The Large Spear (Fig 2) is great for general pyrography, feathers & hair detailing, embellishing or decorating.

 

It is also good for miniatures & very fine detail.

This is great for cutting through gourds. Unlike the #1SL this has a rounded heel to make sawing through a gourd shell's easier. Use this with a gentle sawing action.