Published by Fox Chapel Publishing Co. Inc., East Petersburg PA USA
As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 122
Australian pyrographer, Sue Walters, is internationally renowned for her incredibly life-like and detailed artwork which is done completely with a wood-burner. In her first book, Pyrography Workbook, Sue reveals many of the techniques behind her award-winning pictures.
The book opens with a gallery of ten full-page illustrations of Sue's work. Perhaps the most striking is the Elephant Eye which was published in AWW #110 p.23, but the other images are of a similar high standard. While it is unusual to have the gallery at the front of a woodworking book, for those unfamiliar with Sue's work, it is a useful introduction to the text and illustrations that follow.
The chapters on work equipment, work area, safety and materials cover familiar ground but there are many useful tips for improving your pyrography. Both Australian and overseas timbers are mentioned. The section on choosing a woodburner is one of the most detailed we've seen on the differences and comparative benefits and disadvantages of nib versus solid-point burners.
Most designs, says the author, can be burnt with a selection of just three points - skew, writer and shader. These are available in both solid point and wire nib, and the book illustrates the various effects possible with each type. Sue also uses the spoon shader — this is mentioned only as a wire nib, though a solid point version may be available. At the end of this section there is a chart of 70 textures and an explanation of how each was created.
Putting the information into practice, the book guides the reader through three projects - Ducks and Bulrushes, Golden Eagle and the Wolf. In terms of difficulty and effort, these are ranked as beginner, intermediate and advanced respectively. Each project is extensively illustrated showing every step and explaining the techniques used.
The closing chapters cover techniques for various animal coats, colouring, sealing the workpiece and troubleshooting. There are also ten patterns provided in both line drawing and textured versions.
Pyrography Workbook is a comprehensive guide to woodburning with plenty of useful information for the beginner. However, its greatest appeal will be to advanced pyrographers who will find its extensive and well documented coverage of a broad range of texturing techniques invaluable for improving their skills.
This book uses both solid and wire nib pyrography machines.
Photos - Colour
Chapter 1: Equipment, Work Area and Safety
Chapter 2: Preparation and Transfer
Chapter 3: Materials for Pyrography
Chapter 4: Varieties of Pyrography
Chapter 5: Nib Use and Care
Chapter 6: The Three Basic Nibs
Chapter 7: Texturing
Chapter 8: Ducks and Bulrushes: A Beginner's Project
Chapter 9: Golden Eagle: An Intermediate Project
Chapter 10: Wolf: An Advanced Project
Chapter 11: Animal Coat Techniques
Chapter 12: Color
Chapter 13: Troubleshooting
Chapter 14: Patterns